Greatest Outdated-College Triceps Exercises

Whereas the biceps are arguably the most well-liked and well-known muscle in bodybuilding, there’s a good argument for saying that the triceps are literally extra essential. Why? As a result of they make up roughly two-thirds of your whole higher arm mass. In case you are critical about constructing huge arms, you might want to prioritize your triceps.

You employ your triceps in all urgent workouts, corresponding to shoulder presses and bench presses. Nonetheless, you want extra than simply primary compound workouts to construct triceps you might be pleased with.

Outdated-school bodybuilders put a variety of effort and time into constructing greater triceps, utilizing confirmed workouts and coaching strategies which have stood the check of time. In case your triceps improvement is lagging, use these greatest old-school triceps exercises to deliver them as much as par.

Triceps anatomy fundamentals

The total title of the triceps is triceps brachii. This implies three-headed arm muscle. Situated on the again of your higher arm, your triceps has two principal capabilities:

  • Elbow extension – straightening your arm
  • Shoulder extension – drawing your higher arm backward

As talked about, the triceps have three heads. It is because the triceps have three separate origin websites, all of which come collectively at a standard insertion level on the ulna. That is the smaller of the 2 forearm bones.

The three triceps heads are:

  • The lengthy head
  • The medial head
  • The lateral head
Triceps Anatomy Basic
Triceps Anatomy Fundamental

All three triceps heads work collectively, however the quantity of power each generates depends upon the place of your higher arm. When your arms are by your aspect, the lengthy head produces extra power than the opposite two heads. Together with your arms at 90-degrees to your physique, the medial head is extra energetic. When your arms are vertical, the lateral head generates probably the most power (1). Due to this, it’s attainable to focus on particular areas of your triceps, and any exercise ought to embrace quite a lot of workouts to make sure every head is labored equally.

The Greatest Three Outdated-College Triceps Exercises

Whereas most well-known old-school bodybuilders had nice arms, some had been particularly well-known for his or her triceps improvement. Opponents and champions like Kevin LevroneLee PriestSamir Bannout, and Sergio Oliva had large, rock-hard, triceps that resembled horseshoes. The horseshoe form is the results of coaching all three heads.

Listed below are three tried-and-tested triceps exercises that had been both created by old-school champions or function their favourite workouts. If you wish to add mass to the again of your arms, these exercises will do it for you.

Earlier than you begin coaching, be sure to heat up your triceps and elbows to stop damage and enhance exercise efficiency. All you want is a couple of minutes of simple cardio adopted by some dynamic stretching and a few gentle units of every train.  Higher nonetheless, prepare your triceps after chest or shoulders. That means, they’ll already be heat and able to go.

#1. Outdated-College Triceps Exercise

Kevin Levrone is arguably the best bodybuilder by no means to carry the Mr. Olympia title. Winner of 20 professional titles, Levrone got here second within the Mr. O on 4 separate events. Like several skilled bodybuilder, Kevin Levrone was the entire package deal however was particularly well-known for his incredible triceps. This was one among his favourite mass-building exercises.

Shawn Ray and Kevin Levrone
Shawn Ray and Kevin Levrone

Easy however efficient, do that triceps exercise a few times per week.

  1. Shut-grip bench press: Four units, 6-Eight reps
  2. Supine triceps extensions: Four units, 6-Eight reps
  3. Triceps cable pushdowns: Four units 20-25 reps

Train descriptions

1.1 Shut-grip bench press

Shut grip bench presses are among the best triceps mass builders round. They permit you to use numerous weight, placing your triceps below excessive stress. If you wish to add dimension to your triceps, be sure to embrace this train in your exercises.

Methods to do it:

  1. Lie in your again on the bench press station. Attain up and seize the bar with an overhand, barely narrower-than shoulder-width grip. Plant your toes firmly on the ground, raise your chest, and pull your shoulders down and again.
  2. Unrack the bar, bend your elbows and decrease the bar to the touch your sternum. Maintain your arms tucked in near your sides.
  3. Drive the bar again up and repeat.


  • Don’t put your palms too shut collectively. Doing so places a variety of stress in your wrists and will result in damage.
  • Use a thumbless or false grip for consolation.
  • Solely do that train when you have a spotter. A missed rep may end in critical damage.
Close-Grip Barbell Bench Press
Shut-Grip Barbell Bench Press

1.2 Supine triceps extensions

Also referred to as cranium crushers, this fashionable old-school triceps train is nice for constructing arm dimension and form. It may be arduous in your elbows, so take it simple for those who endure from elbow ache. Additionally, as a result of a failed rep may end in critical facial damage, be sure to do that train with a spotter.

Methods to do it:

  1. Seize a straight or EZ bar with an overhand, shoulder-width grip. Lie again on a flat bench and press the bar as much as arms’ size.
  2. Preserving your higher arms vertical, bend your elbows, and decrease the bar to your brow.
  3. Lengthen your arms and repeat.


  • You can too do that train with dumbbells.
  • End your final set with a couple of reps of shut grip bench press to completely fatigue your triceps.

1.Three Triceps cable pushdowns

After the heavyweights and low reps of the final two workouts, Levrone switched issues up with some gentle, high-rep pushdowns to set off a strong pump. The pump, the place blood is preferentially pushed into your muscular tissues, is regarded as important for muscle progress (2).

Methods to do it:

  1. Utilizing a excessive cable machine, seize a straight, V-shaped, or rope deal with. Pull your elbows down and into your sides.
  2. Preserving your higher arms tucked in, lengthen your arms, after which bend them once more.
  3. Keep a continuing tempo, and don’t pause between reps. Maintain pumping!


  • You can too do that train with an underhand, reverse grip.
  • No excessive cable machine? Use a resistance band as an alternative.
Triceps Cable Pushdowns
Triceps Cable Pushdowns

#2. Outdated-College Triceps Exercise

Lee Priest had a number of the greatest arms in bodybuilding, and his triceps had been mind-blowing! A agency believer in working his tris from all of the angles, Australian Priest typically did 20-25 units of triceps coaching per exercise. You may not want as a lot quantity as Lee Priest, however there isn’t any denying the effectiveness of his hardcore strategy to triceps coaching.

Lee Priest Triceps
Lee Priest Triceps

Do that exercise as soon as per week, or twice on non-consecutive days in case you are attempting to prioritise your triceps coaching.

  1. Seated overhead dumbbell extension: 5 units of 6-Eight reps
  2. EZ-bar close-grip bench press: 5 units of 6-Eight reps
  3. Supine triceps extensions: 5 units of 6-Eight reps
  4. Single-arm cable pushdowns: 5 units of 6-Eight reps

Train descriptions:

2.1 Seated overhead dumbbell extension

This was one among Lee Priest’s go-to workouts for greater triceps. Emphasizing the lateral triceps head, which is what provides your arm thickness, this train requires wonderful shoulder mobility, however, in return, it delivers a really highly effective triceps exercise.

Methods to do it:

  1. Sit on a bench with a low again help. Alternatively, sit the wrong-way-round on a preacher curl bench. Elevate and maintain a single dumbbell by the within plates and press it over your head.
  2. Preserving your biceps subsequent to your ears, bend your elbows, and decrease the burden down behind your neck. Get a superb stretch in your triceps.
  3. Lengthen your arms and repeat for the prescribed variety of reps.


  • Lean again in opposition to the bench for help and luxury
  • You can too do that train with an EZ bar.
Overhead Dumbbell Extension
Overhead Dumbbell Extension

2.2 EZ bar close-grip bench press

As defined in exercise #1.

2.Three Supine triceps extensions

As defined in exercise #1.

2.Four Single-arm cable pushdowns

Working one arm at a time permits you to actually focus and focus on the muscle you are attempting to work. Use an underhand/reverse grip and squeeze your triceps arduous on the backside of every rep.

Methods to do it:

  1. Connect a single D-shaped deal with to a excessive pulley machine. Seize the deal with with one hand. Pull your higher arm down and into your aspect. Maintain it there at some point of your set.
  2. Lengthen your arm and push the deal with down so far as you may. Slowly bend your arm and repeat.
  3. On completion of your set, change arms and instantly begin working in your different arm.


  • You can too do that train with a rope deal with.

#3. Outdated-College Triceps Exercise

A variety of old-school lifters used to mix body weight workouts with barbell and dumbbell workouts. They didn’t have the power coaching machines now we have entry to at present. Our third old-school triceps exercise pays homage to this model of coaching.

Do that exercise a few times per week.

  1. Dips: Three units of 6-Eight reps
  2. Seated single-arm overhead triceps extensions: Three units of 8-10 reps per arm
  3. Dumbbell kickbacks: Three units of 10-12 reps
  4. Diamond push-ups: Three units of max reps

Train descriptions:

3.1 Dips

Like shut grip bench presses,  dips  work all three heads of the triceps pretty evenly. It’s a terrific mass builder that additionally works the decrease fibers of your pecs. Dips might be arduous in your shoulders, so when you have a historical past of shoulder issues, take it simple with this train.

Methods to do it:

  1. Utilizing shoulder-width bars, step up and grip the handles together with your thumbs pointing ahead. Help your weight in your palms and cross your ankles.
  2. Preserving your torso upright, bend your elbows and descend till your arms are bent to about 90 levels.
  3. Press your self again up and repeat.


  • If you are able to do greater than eight reps, put on a weighted chin/dip belt to make this train more durable.
  • Can’t do six reps? Use an assisted chin/dip machine or do bench dips as an alternative.

3.2 Seated single-arm overhead triceps extensions

Working primarily the lengthy head of your triceps, this train supplies a deep stretch and pump. Nonetheless, it’s simpler in your shoulders than the two-handed model in exercise #2.

Methods to do it:

  1. Seated or standing, press and maintain a single dumbbell overhead.
  2. Preserving your higher arm near your head, bend your elbows, and decrease the burden down behind your head.
  3. Lengthen your arm and repeat. Swap sides and do the identical variety of reps together with your reverse arm.


  • Do that train seated when you have an inclination to lean again and over-extend your backbone.
  • Use your free hand to help your working arm and really feel your triceps contracting. Elevated biofeedback can strengthen the mind-muscle connection and make this train more practical.
  • This train can be carried out utilizing a low cable machine.
Single Arm Overhead Triceps Extensions
Single Arm Overhead Triceps Extensions

3.Three Dumbbell kickbacks

This train creates a variety of pressure in your triceps. It’s a terrific train for sculpting your horseshoes! Use a light-weight and concentrate on squeezing and never swinging your dumbbell up. For those who go too heavy, you’ll find yourself utilizing momentum and taking work away from the goal muscle.

Methods to do it:

  1. Maintain a dumbbell in a single hand. Lean ahead and place your different hand on a knee-high bench or dumbbell rack. Your higher physique ought to be parallel to the ground. Bend your elbow and tuck your higher arm into your aspect.
  2. Preserving your higher arm stationary, lengthen your elbow and press the dumbbell again to your hip. Pause on this contracted place, bend your elbow, and repeat.
  3. Do the identical variety of reps on every arm.


  • You can too do that train with a low cable machine.

Dumbbell Tricep Kickback

3.Four Diamond push-ups

The ultimate train in our third old-school arm exercise is a variation of push-ups that will increase the quantity of labor completed by your triceps. Simply pump out as many reps as you may.

Methods to do it:

  1. Kneel down and place your palms on the ground, so your thumbs and first fingers kind a diamond. Stroll your toes again and into the basic push-up place.
  2. Together with your legs straight and abs braced, bend your arms and decrease your chest to the again of your palms.
  3. Push again up and repeat.


  • Bend your legs and drop to your knees to make this train simpler.
  • Elevate your toes to place extra weight in your palms and make this train more durable.

Necessary Triceps Coaching Ideas

Use these helpful suggestions to make sure that you get the very best outcomes out of your old-school triceps constructing exercises.

1. Use a spread of repetitions and weights

Triceps reply greatest to a combination of low reps and heavy weights and better reps with lighter weights. Attempt to embrace each of these items in your triceps exercises.

2. Respect your elbows.

Heavy triceps isolation workouts like cranium crushers and overhead extensions might be arduous in your elbows. Defend your joints by warming up correctly, utilizing correct train approach, and sporting neoprene elbow sleeves for additional help, heat, and luxury.

3. Use biceps and triceps supersets to avoid wasting time and get a terrific pump

Whereas not one of the old-school triceps workouts on this article use supersets, there may be nothing to cease you from customizing them and including in some biceps workouts. For instance:

  • Shut grip bench presses
  • Barbell curls

  • Triceps pushdowns
  • Dumbbell curls

  • Overhead triceps extensions
  • Preacher curls

This strategy ensures that you just do the identical variety of units in your triceps as you do your biceps.

Triceps Tips
Triceps Ideas

4. Experiment with totally different hand positions and grips

Transferring your palms in or out can have an effect on how an train feels. Attempt totally different hand positions to seek out out what works greatest in your triceps. For instance, some folks discover underhand/reverse grip triceps pushdowns are more practical than common grip pushdowns. Attempt all of the accessible choices to find out which works greatest for you.

5. Combine up your exercises through the use of several types of coaching tools

A variety of triceps workouts might be completed utilizing dumbbells, barbells, or cables. Simply because a exercise requires dumbbell kickbacks doesn’t imply that you would be able to’t use cables as an alternative. Experiment together with your exercises to seek out the best method to prepare your triceps.

Continuously Requested Questions

Do you might have questions? We’ve received solutions! For those who can’t discover the reply you need, drop us a line within the feedback part, and we’ll get again to you as quickly as we will.

How typically ought to I prepare my triceps?

For most individuals, one triceps exercise per week ought to be sufficient. That’s as a result of your triceps are skilled not directly throughout most chest and shoulder workouts. Doing extra direct triceps exercises than this might end in overtraining.

Are you able to construct huge triceps with simply body weight workouts?

Certain, you may! Dipsdiamond push-ups, and body weight triceps extensions are all excellent triceps workouts that don’t require free weights or machines. Gymnasts have phenomenally well-developed triceps, and so they rarely raise weights. Body weight coaching might be simply as efficient as weights for constructing muscle mass and power.

Cranium crushers damage my elbows, is that this regular?

Elbow ache shouldn’t be unusual with cranium crushers and comparable workouts. The lengthy lever size and the comparatively quick muscle attachment implies that these workouts may cause elbow joint ache and tendonitis.

The easiest way to keep away from any issues is to all the time heat up correctly and use gentle weights and excessive reps on the workouts that trigger you any ache. You might also profit from changing probably the most painful free weight and machine workouts with resistance band workouts as they’re often a lot much less taxing in your joints.

Bodyweight Triceps Workout
Body weight Triceps Exercise


How do I make my triceps extra outlined?

Muscle definition is the mix of larger muscular tissues and fewer fats. Any of those old-school exercises will make your triceps greater and mixing cardio with a decrease calorie weight loss program will assist make you leaner and your muscular tissues simpler to see.

Opposite to what lots of people suppose, you can not spot cut back fats from one a part of your physique. In order for you outlined arms, the remainder of your physique must turn into extra outlined too.

Are bench presses a superb triceps train?

Sure, they’re, however the main goal muscle in bench presses are the pecs. On this train, the triceps are a synergist or helper muscle. Workouts like bench presses and shoulder presses may also help make your triceps greater and stronger. However, for greatest outcomes, you additionally want to incorporate some specialist triceps workouts in your exercises, particularly if you would like horseshoes!

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