Tricep Exercises for Women
What Are Triceps?
The triceps brachii, commonly referred to as the triceps, is a large muscle spanning the back of your upper arm. It has three heads, the medial head, lateral head, and long head, and attaches to both the shoulder blade and elbow joint.
The triceps have two main jobs. The first is to work with the biceps to extend and bend your elbow to allow your forearms to move, and the second is to help stabilize the shoulders. The shoulder joint has a huge range of motion, which makes it very unstable; the triceps help stabilize this joint and keep it healthy.
5 Reasons To Train Your Triceps
Improved big lifts
A lot of ‘bigger lifts’, or compound exercises, work smaller muscles like the triceps, so when these muscles are weak, it’s difficult to perform these exercises effectively, or to progress to heavier weights. Some of the compound exercises triceps play a role in include bench press, overhead press, and dips. Having weak triceps will compromise these lifts, making it hard to increase the weight, or leading to muscle imbalances or even injury.
Increased shoulder stability
Triceps play a part in stabilizing the shoulder joint, which can reduce your risk of injury and help with both your everyday movements and your exercises in the gym.
Toned, defined arms
Biceps tend to get more recognition when it comes to our arm muscles, but the triceps make up two-thirds of your arm and neglecting this muscle will have a big impact on both your upper body strength, and how defined your arms look. If you want to build toned, lean arms, you need to train your triceps.
Better day to day movements
Almost every upper body movement uses your triceps, from more obvious movements like carrying and loading shopping, to writing in a notebook. If it involves your shoulder, elbow, or forearm, it involves your triceps! Having strong triceps will help to improve your performance and endurance for daily tasks, from simple to complex.
Improved sports performance
Training your triceps will help to improve your athletic performance in multiple sports, including tennis, netball, and hockey, by increasing your endurance and power. Having strong triceps means you’re also less likely to get injured while playing sports due to the increased shoulder stability.
Tricep Exercises For Women
Want to grow your triceps? The key to building any muscle is to train the muscle 2-3x a week, making sure to progressively overload by increasing either the reps or weights. If your goal is to increase tricep size, you’ll also want to make sure you’re eating enough protein and calories to help recovery and muscle growth.
The best tricep workout for women is one that combines compound and isolation exercises, as this helps to build both strength and size of the triceps. You can build your own tricep women's workout by picking 2 of the following compound exercises, and 2-3 isolation exercises.
- Bench press
The bench press is a key lift and is great to include, in some form, in any chest and tricep workout women do. The narrow grip bench press works the triceps to a greater degree, but all bench press variations target the triceps in some way.
- Chest or tricep dips
The chest dip and the tricep dip are both bodyweight compound exercises that are performed on a dip bar. Both work the triceps, but the chest dip places more focus on the chest so if triceps is your main goal, try this variation. If you find it too hard, seated tricep dips are a good place to start.
- Push ups
Push ups are another bodyweight exercise which works the chest, shoulders, triceps, and core. If a standard push up is too hard, try a wall push up, incline push up, or starting on your knees.
- Overhead press
The overhead press, or shoulder press, predominantly targets the shoulders and upper back but the triceps do get worked. Overhead strength is great for so many daily activities, making this an exercise that’s great to do for improving functional strength.
Isolation exercises are single joint exercises which typically focus on one muscle. Adding them into the start or end of the workout helps to fatigue a specific muscle, which helps to build size and strength.
There’s plenty of tricep isolation exercises to try, here are some of our favorites.
- Skull crusher
Skull crushers may sound intimidating, but as long as you use proper form, this exercise is completely safe and is a great way to build toned triceps.
- Overhead Extension
The overhead extension has so many benefits: it works the triceps at a lengthened position, it requires a high level of stability in the shoulders and core, and the movement works against gravity which adds extra resistance.
- Cable Pull Down
Cable machines provide constant tension throughout the movement pattern, which makes them an excellent bit of kit for hypertrophy (muscle gains). The tricep cable pulldown (also known as the cable pushdown) is brilliant for building the triceps.
- Overhead Cable Pull
The overhead cable pull is the cable version of a tricep extension. The cable resistance makes this variation a little harder and works the stabilising muscles a little more.
Tricep kickbacks are one of the most well know tricep exercises, and it’s a good for beginners and expert lifters alike. You can do this exercise with dumbbells or on the cable machine.