Two Exercises Are Your Foundation
There are two key exercises that are the foundation of a triceps workout at home without equipment. And even better, they both fall under the category of anytime, anywhere exercises. So you need very little in the way of resources to perform these exercises, and no equipment is required.
The first great tricep exercise requiring no equipment is the tricep push-up. It's also known as the diamond push-up. Equipment or no equipment, it's one of the very best tricep exercises to work the lateral head (outside head) of the three-headed tricep muscle. And you’ll really want to make sure you develop the lateral head, as it’s the most visible of the three heads.
Performing a Tricep Push-up
Assume a classic pushup start position.
Then, move your hands together directly under your chest so that your hands form the shape of a diamond, with your index fingers and thumbs touching.
This is the start position.
Then slowly lower your upper body as you bend your arms to do the tricep pushup.
You do not need to go all the way down to achieve a good workout, but go as far as you comfortably can.
Then push up returning to the start position, and you'll feel the burn in your triceps. This is one rep.
One important note on this exercise...it is hard! Yes, it is not an easy movement to perfect. It requires a baseline of strength, and some practice to get the hang of it. So your first go round, you might have difficulty doing even one rep.
But do not lose heart. It just takes some practice. And in most cases, it's not a lack of strength but rather a lack of practice. Once you try it over the course of a few weeks, you'll get more and more proficient with each workout. It's a matter of getting comfortable with the exercise.
If you practice over several weeks and are still struggling, you can try these to variations which decrease the resistance (making the movement easier):
Perform the same motion from your knees anchored on the ground, as opposed to your feet/toes.
Instead of doing standard tricep push-ups, do incline tricep push-ups with your hands positioned higher than your feet (like on a bench or kitchen counter).
Tricep dips are another powerhouse exercise to work the triceps. They can be performed just about anywhere, and all you need is a bench, low table (12" to 24" high), couch, or even a sturdy chair. And you might try all of these at one point or another to create some variation in the exercise.
Unlike tricep push-ups, tricep dips are easy to perform.
Performing Tricep Dips
Find a low table, couch, bench, or some other object 12" - 24" high (the position where you anchor your hands).
Face away from the table or bench, with your palms down on the surface at shoulder width, and your legs extended in front of you. Your legs should be slightly bent.
Slowly bend your elbows as you lower your upper body to the down position.
Lower your upper body until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. This is the down position.
Then slowly push your upper body up, and return to the start position. This is one rep.
One note of caution: Make sure the table, bench, chair, or couch you are using can easily support your body weight.
To increase the resistance, you can position your feet on a low table in front of you so that your legs are parallel to the floor.
A really great triceps workout is to perform both of these exercises in your workout, and perform the back-to-back. This is called a bi-set, and you do one exercise and then the next, with no rest in between.
Always do the hardest exercise first, which will be the tricep push-up.
|(rest 1 minute)|
|* perform back-to-back|
|(rest 1 minute)|
|Triceps Push-ups from Knees||1-10|
|Triceps Dips|| |
|* perform back-to-back|
Make sure you do some quick cardio for 1-2 minutes to warm up your muscles. Jogging in place, jumping rope, jumping jacks are all great for this.
Make sure you have a very solid hand position on tricep dips. You want to make sure your hands do not slip.
Perform each set with enough intensity to really feel the burn. If you’re just going through the motions, then your muscles will not respond.
If you're new to workouts, just do one set (Set 1) getting started. And rest 30 seconds between exercises. Always progress slowly with workouts and err on the side of caution.
This is a great triceps workout at home without equipment, and it’s very effective. You will feel an awesome burn in your triceps, and will probably be plenty sore the next day.
And this is one of the best tricep workouts you can do, with or without equipment. Our friends at A Lean Life have some great tricep workouts, and really drill down on tricep dips at home in particular.
Additional Exercises for the Triceps
Tricep Kick Backs
One of the exercises that you can include in your tricep workout at home, if you choose, are tricep kick backs. They do require holding some type of object to perform the exercise. Dumbbells are optimal, but you can also make do with a gallon jug of water or like object.
Classic push-ups work your pecs (chest) as the primary muscle group, but also work your triceps as a secondary muscle. So even though they are not nearly as targeted for the triceps as tricep pushups, they still work your triceps.
Going Next Level With Your Home Tricep Workout
And if you want to go “next level,” there is no better way than also including the Pullup and Dip Bar, as well as Parallettes.
The Pullup and Dip bar offers more than 35 exercises for your home workout, and of course triceps are one of these. So it provides a ton of variety that can take the place of the very expensive home workout machines and systems.
And the Parallettes provide powerful grip strength when doing tricep dips, and this can be the risky part of tricep workouts at home. So Parallettes provide some nice insurance to make sure your workouts at home are not only effective, but also safe!
Summing Up a Tricep Workout at Home
You can still get a really great workout with just tricep push-ups and tricep dips. The additional exercises are if you want to add some variety and additional variations. But for most people looking for a very effective triceps workout at home without equipment, the tricep push-ups and tricep dips will more than suffice!
About the Author:
A diet and fitness enthusiast, David Williams is the founder of www.aleanlife.com. He is an ex-Army Airborne Ranger and Infantry soldier with decades of fitness and wellness experience. A West Point graduate with a degree in engineering, he focuses on technical research related to fitness, nutrition, and wellness. He tempers this research with years of experience doing gym workouts, home workouts, bodyweight workouts, and more.
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