From Beginner to Buff: The Ultimate Tricep Workout Plan

man doing one arm tricep pushdown

The pursuit of a well-sculpted body often leads men to the gym, where the focus tends to be on building impressive biceps. However, achieving a balanced and powerful upper arm requires attention to another crucial muscle: the tricep. Making up a significant portion of the arm's mass, the tricep muscle is vital for both aesthetics and functional strength.

Understanding the Tricep Muscle

diagram showing the tricep

Definition and Anatomy of the Tricep Muscle

The tricep, or triceps brachii, is located on the back of the upper arm. Its unique structure consists of three separate heads: the long head, the lateral head, and the medial head. These heads cooperate to extend the elbow, enabling arm straightening.

Long Head: Originates from the shoulder blade, running down the back of the arm and shaping the tricep.

Lateral Head: Situated on the outer side of the arm, contributing to the tricep's width.

Medial Head: Found beneath the other two heads, playing a crucial role in elbow extension.

Importance of Tricep Training in Overall Arm Development

While biceps often steal the spotlight, triceps actually make up about two-thirds of the upper arm's muscle mass. Therefore, neglecting tricep training may result in arm development imbalance and may even hinder performance in other exercises. Building strong triceps not only enhances the appearance of the arms but also improves functional abilities like pushing and pulling.

Overview of the Article's Content

In the sections that follow, we will go into the anatomy of the tricep, explore the best tricep exercises for mass and strength, and provide a comprehensive workout plan. By understanding what exercises work your triceps and how to perform them correctly, you'll be well on your way to achieving stronger and more defined arms.

Function and Importance in Daily Activities

The primary function of the tricep is to extend the elbow, allowing the arm to straighten. This action is vital in everyday activities such as pushing doors open, lifting objects, and throwing. Strong triceps also provide stability to the shoulder joint and assist in maintaining proper arm alignment.

How Do You Hit All 3 Muscles in Your Tricep?

To fully develop the tricep, it's essential to perform exercises that target all three heads. Various exercises and angles target different parts of the muscle. By incorporating a variety of movements into your workout routine, you can ensure that each head receives adequate stimulation.

Best Tricep Exercises for Mass and Strength

tricep pushdown

Introduction to the Exercises

Tricep exercises can be categorised into two main types: isolation exercises, which focus solely on the triceps, and compound exercises, which engage multiple muscle groups. Both types are valuable in a well-rounded tricep workout plan.

What Exercises Work Your Triceps?

Tricep Dips: A classic bodyweight exercise that targets all three heads of the tricep. To perform this, place your hands on parallel bars or a bench, lower your body by bending your elbows, and push back up to the starting position.

Close-Grip Bench Press: This compound exercise emphasises the triceps while also engaging the chest and shoulders. By narrowing your grip on the barbell, you shift the focus to the tricep muscles.

Skull Crushers: An isolation exercise performed with a barbell or dumbbells. Lying on a bench, hold the weights above your head, then lower them towards your forehead by bending your elbows. Extend your arms to return to the starting position.

Overhead Tricep Extension: This exercise targets the long head of the tricep. Hold a dumbbell with both hands and extend your arms overhead. Keeping your elbows close to your head, lower the weight behind your head and then extend your arms to return to the starting position.

Tricep Pushdown: Utilising a cable machine, this exercise can be performed with various attachments like a rope or bar. Stand facing the machine, grasp the attachment, and push it down by extending your elbows. Control the weight as you return to the starting position.

Diamond Push-Ups: A bodyweight exercise that emphasises the triceps. Perform a standard push-up but with your hands close together, forming a diamond shape with your fingers. Lower your body to the floor and push back up, keeping your elbows close to your sides.

Tricep Kickbacks: Ideal for isolating the tricep, this exercise is performed with a dumbbell. Bend at the waist and hold a weight in one hand with your elbow at a 90-degree angle. Extend your arm to straighten the elbow, then return to the starting position.

What is the Best Exercise to Strengthen Triceps?

While all the exercises listed contribute to tricep strength, the Close-Grip Bench Press is often considered one of the best exercises for overall tricep development. Engaging multiple muscle groups and accommodating heavier weights, this exercise is a powerful tool for building both mass and strength.

Example Tricep Workout Plan

Warm-Up: 5-10 minutes of light cardio and stretching

Tricep Dips: 3 sets of 8-12 reps, 60 seconds rest

Close-Grip Bench Press: 3 sets of 8-10 reps, 90 seconds rest

Skull Crushers: 3 sets of 10-12 reps, 60 seconds rest

Tricep Pushdown: 3 sets of 12-15 reps, 60 seconds rest

Cool Down: Stretching and hydration


Building strong and defined triceps is an essential part of a balanced upper body workout. By understanding the anatomy of the tricep and incorporating a variety of exercises that target all three heads, you can achieve impressive results. The provided workout plan offers a structured approach to tricep training, catering to both beginners and intermediate fitness enthusiasts. It's time to hit the gym and embark on your journey from beginner to buff with this ultimate tricep workout plan.