You know how some people’s arms look sleek and toned? Do you want to know their secret so you can have that same look too? Their secret is working their triceps muscles – the muscles that run along the back of your upper arms.  While your biceps also are important, it’s your triceps that enable you to have smooth functioning of your elbows and shoulders. 

While the advantages of having well-toned triceps means no more flabby “chicken wing arms,” it also means better support for strong shoulders resulting in less injuries.

What’s the difference between biceps and triceps?

This is a good question and one many of us are unsure of. Both the biceps and triceps make up most of our upper arm muscles, between the elbows and our shoulders. These muscles allow us to do many activities such as climb, move things, and lift heavy objects.


What sets these two muscle groups apart are various functions they perform. The biceps, located on the front of the upper arms, are responsible for forearm rotation and moving the elbow and shoulder. It’s also responsible for the pulling action and decreasing the angle between the forearm and upper arm. 

Triceps, located along the back of the upper arms, help extend the elbow and moves the elbow and shoulder but in the opposite directions as the biceps. Triceps function as an extensor, responsible for the pushing action and increasing the angle between the forearm and the upper arm.

How to develop strong, sleek and toned triceps

It’s not unusual to see at a gym, individuals paying close and more attention to working their biceps than their triceps. They’ll perform curl after curl, while not doing quite the same number of repetitions for the triceps. Maybe it’s because we see our biceps all the time since they are located on the front side of our body. The back of our arms where the triceps are located, are not nearly as visible to us and therefore, is more apt to be neglected. While you may rarely view your triceps, let’s not forget that everyone else can and does see them. Why not make them as attractive and strong as possible.

To develop triceps, you need to focus on exercises that push weight away from the body. In order to enhance your triceps, there are specific exercises and moves that focus on this muscle group. Here are top exercises for training your triceps:

Triceps dips

Sit on the edge of a sturdy low bench, chair or platform. Place your hands on either side of your hips, palms down, and fingers curled around the edge of the bench, arms straight. With feet together, heels on the floor, extend your legs out in front of you.  Slide your rear off the bench with legs still fully extended out in front of your body – if this position is too difficult, you can bend your knees to shift some of your weight to your legs. Keeping hands firmly in place, use control to lower your rear toward the floor, without actually touching it, as elbows bend and your upper arms become parallel with the floor. Then press through your hands to straighten your arms and return to start.  Repeat at least 10 times.

Triceps kickback

To work the your right arm, stand alongside the right side of a workout bench and place your left knee and left hand on it for support. Your back should be nearly parallel with the floor. Hold a dumbbell (start off with a light weight if you’re a beginner) in your right hand and bend your elbow to bring your upper arm flat against the right side of your torso, also parallel to the floor. Without moving the upper arm, exhale and straighten your lower arm behind you.  Inhale as you slowly return to start. Complete reps on the right arm and then switch sides and repeat with the left arm.

Triangle push-ups

This variation of the classic push-up is different in that you will place your hands next to each other, directly under your upper chest, with thumbs and index fingers making a triangle shape. Flex your feet and contract your core and leg muscles. Keep your head in line with your spine as you slowly lower your body until your chest touches the floor. Focus on moving only your arms.  With control, press back up until your arms are fully extended. Repeat.  If this is too hard to do, you can do the exercise with knees bent on the floor.

Shoulder press

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand.  Bend elbows, bringing hands to shoulders, palms facing forward. Press weights straight overhead, keeping shoulders down; lower weights back to shoulders. Do 20 reps.

Triceps pushback

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, holding a dumbbell in each hand, arms straight down at sides, palms facing back. Lift arms straight back about 2 feet behind you; return to sides. Do 20 reps.

High V for triceps

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand, arms extended overhead in a V, palms facing out to sides. Slowly bend elbows to hips, palms facing body. Press back up into V. Do 20 reps.