The 10 Best Upper Arm Exercises - Part 3

In Part 1 of the 10 Best Upper Arm Exercises, we reviewed anatomy, nutrition, and some great 5% supplements. Then, in Part 2, we broke down the 5 best biceps exercises. Now, in Part 3, we’ll look at the triceps. We’ll also include a few intensity tips to help you get more out of your workout. Let’s bust out those sleeves!

Triceps Exercises

Triceps Exercise # 1 - Close-Grip Bench Presses

This is a great exercise for the triceps. Many people might do these in a rack with a 7 ft straight bar, but some will prefer an EZ bar. That approach will come into play a little later on this list. 

Muscles Worked

This exercise targets all 3 heads of the triceps. It also targets chest and shoulders. Since it’s a bench press variation, you can use more weight than you could with isolation exercises. 

Here’s How To Do It

This is a regular bench press done with a narrow grip. Choose a grip that works well for your structure. Adjust your grip width if you experience any elbow pain. Do not flare your elbows out. Your grip should naturally force them to stay close to your sides.

Triceps Exercise # 2 - Triceps Extensions

Sometimes called the French Press, you can do these standing, sitting, or lying down. You can use an EZ bar, a single dumbbell, or your choice of specialty bars. A full range of motion on every rep is key, no half or quarter reps are allowed!

Don’t confuse this with Skull Crushers. Typically, Skull Crushers are done lying down. You lower the bar to your forehead, not behind your head. 

Muscles Worked

This exercise specifically works all 3 heads of the triceps. The front deltoids and chest also come into play. 

Here’s How To Do It

Begin by lifting the bar overhead. You can also use a pair of dumbbells, or a single dumbbell using both hands and an overlapping grip. Keep your back straight. Slowly lower the bar behind your head by bending the elbows. Use a full range of motion. Like all triceps exercises, if you experience elbow pain, adjust the position of your elbows. They should naturally stay close to your head. 

Triceps Exercise # 3 - EZ Pullover/Extension/Press

This is a 3-part exercise you probably don’t see very often. The most common variation of this exercise is a pullover/press. In this case, we’re adding close-grip bench presses at the end. 

Muscles Worked

Pullovers work triceps, shoulders, chest, and lats. Extensions work all 3 heads of the triceps. Close grip presses also work all 3 heads of the triceps, plus chest and shoulders. 

Here’s How To Do It

Lie back on a flat bench. Begin by doing pullovers to failure, then go right into extensions. You can do these by going behind your head with the bar, or skull crusher style. Finally, finish with close-grip bench presses. 

Triceps # 4 - Pressdowns

Here’s an old standby! You can get much more out of this exercise by standing several steps back from the pressdown unit, then moving in 1 step at a time as you begin to struggle. Here’s another intensity tip: you can use a static hold at the fully extended position for as long as possible, dramatically upping the intensity. 

Muscles Worked

This exercise works all 3 heads of the triceps. The front deltoids, lats, and chest are supporting muscles.

Here’s How To Do It

You can use a straight bar, a close grip V-handle, a rope, or an EZ attachment for this exercise. Begin by grasping the bar or attachment with an overhand grip. If you use a rope, grab the attachment with palms facing each other. You should start the exercise with the bar level with your face. Push down using only triceps strength. Intensity tip: Besides holding the bar at full extension as noted, you can also implement static holds at any point along the range of motion. 

Triceps Exercise # 5 - Triceps Dips

There are multiple ways to do this exercise. You can use a dipping station or the edge of a flat bench with your feet out and elevated. This version targets the triceps directly and is a good choice if you have any issues performing regular dips. 

Muscles Worked

This exercise works all 3 heads of the triceps. It also works chest and shoulders. 

Here’s How To Do It

If you’re using a dip station, keep your body as vertical as possible to fully work the triceps. Make sure you don’t lean forward, as this works the chest more. If you plan to use a flat bench, begin by suspending yourself between the bench and another elevated surface. For example, another bench, the seat pad of a lat machine, or the long safety pins of a power rack. Your hands should be on the edge of the bench as close together as possible. Dip your elbows and lower your upper body using only the triceps. 


This 3-Part Series tackled the 10 Best Upper Arm Exercises, plus the sometimes-ignored biceps brachialis which lies under the biceps and gives the arm thickness. We also looked at nutrition and 5% Nutrition supplements. Incorporate the exercises suggested in this Series along with the Intensity Tips and watch those arms grow!


  1. Delavier, Frâedâeric. Strength Training Anatomy. Human Kinetics, 2010. 
  2. Exercise Directory
Leaderboard (AD)