Triceps Exercises Ranked (BEST TO WORST!)


There are so many triceps exercises, but which ones should you be focusing your efforts on if you want to build bigger triceps and increase your strength? In this video, I’m going to give you the most popular tricep exercises ranked from worst to best and help you to determine which you should be doing and which you can probably ditch.

With that said, we have to lay out the criteria for the triceps exercise selections. The first thing is that it has to be a multi-dimensional exercise if possible. This means, if it is only good at hypertrophy but provides no opportunity for overload and for building progressive strength, then it is not going to rank up there with the exercises for triceps that do a good job at both.

Furthermore, if the movement doesn’t do a good job of stimulating the triceps muscle fully it is likely going to rank lower on the list than others. Remember, there are three heads to the triceps. Two of these only cross the elbow and are therefore only concerned with the bending and straightening of the joint. The other, the long head, crosses the shoulder which makes it uniquely engaged and capable of a better contraction with certain triceps exercises rather than others.

With that being said, we start laying out the list and work our way up the rankings from the worst chest exercise to the best triceps exercise.

WORST
1. Standing DB Powerbombs
2. Lying Crossface Extensions
3. Bench Dips

The Standing DB powerbomb or overhead dumbbell extension is not one of the best is and always will be at the bottom of the list for me. Not only does it place your shoulder joint at increased risk of injury due to the weighted internal rotation that you must assume to get in position to do the move, but it also doesn’t give the triceps the best stretch possible. A later variation of this does much better.

The lying crossface extension is a single arm variation of the Tate Press. While I have immense respect for the man himself, I am not a fan of this triceps exercise. The reasons are similar to those stated for the powerbomb. The position of the arm during the movement is the starting position for the Hawkins Kennedy impingement test. Too much internal rotation. Even though it’s not weighting the internal rotation there are simply better ways to load elbow extension.

The bench dip is one I’ve covered extensively here on this channel.

BETTER
5. Rope Pushaways
6. Basic Triceps Pushdowns
7. Diamond Cutter Pushups

The rope pushaway fails to be as effective as a triceps exercise as possible due to an issue with the physics of the movement. In order to maximize the force applied to the muscle you are working you want to maintain a perpendicular line of force to the forearm.

The basic pushdown has some of the same limitations. While the tension is high at the start of every rep, it declines as you approach the fully contracted triceps position at the bottom.

Diamond Cutter pushups are often times too remedial to provide a growth stimulus (unless they are being done as a high rep metabolic exercise at the end of a hard chest or push workout).

BETTER STILL
8. Cobra Pushups
9. Reverse Grip Triceps Pushdowns
10. Overhead Rope Extensions
11. JM Press

Cobra pushups are a harder version of the basic diamond cutter pushup and give you that long head engagement that makes their ability to stimulate triceps growth even better.

The reverse grip pushdown sets up the long head for better stimulation making it a preferred option.

The overhead rope extension fixes the physics limitations of the triceps pushaway.

The JM Press utilizes some momentum and a moving arm during the exercise to make it one you are able to load up on better. If you feel any discomfort in the elbow or wrist during this move simply switch to a dumbbell for a neutral hand position.

ALMOST BEST
12. Triceps Kickbacks
13. DB Incline Power Bombs
14. Weighted Upright Dips
15. Rocking Pushdowns
16. Close Grip Bench Press

These five triceps exercises are at the top of the heap when it comes to the best exercises for building big triceps. Watch the video to see the specific reasons why they stand alone.

BEST
15. Lying Triceps Extensions

There simply is no better triceps exercise for building a big back of your arms. Watch to see why.

For a complete step by step workout program that was created with the same level of science behind the selection of every exercise in the plans, be sure to head to athleanx.com via the link below and check out the program selector tool. Answer just a few questions and find the plan that is best suited to your current goals.

For more videos on exercises for bigger triceps and the triceps workouts / triceps exercises be sure to remember to subscribe to our channel here on youtube via the link below and remember to turn on your notifications so you never miss a new video when it’s published.

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