6 best barbell exercises for triceps: Unlock Arm Strength

When it comes to targeting the triceps, barbell exercises are a must-have in your arsenal. They allow for a greater range of motion and provide resistance throughout the movement, effectively engaging the triceps muscles. In this article, we will explore six of the best barbell exercises for triceps that will help unlock your arm strength and give you the strong, sculpted arms you desire.

The triceps are one of the most commonly exercised muscles in the world. But what is the best way to target this muscle group? Surprisingly, many people don’t know that barbell exercises are one of the best ways to do so. In this article, we will discuss some of the benefits of barbell exercises for triceps and show you how to do them properly.

Anatomy OF triceps

  • Long Head:
    • Origin: The long head originates from the infraglenoid tubercle of the scapula, which is a bony prominence on the shoulder blade.
    • Insertion: It inserts into the upper part of the olecranon process of the ulna, the bony prominence at the tip of the elbow.
  • Lateral Head:
    • Origin: The lateral head originates from the posterior surface of the humerus, above the radial groove.
    • Insertion: It inserts into the upper part of the olecranon process of the ulna, joining the common tendon with the long head.
  • Medial Head:
    • Origin: The medial head originates from the posterior surface of the humerus, below the radial groove.
    • Insertion: It also inserts into the upper part of the olecranon process of the ulna, merging with the common tendon.

best barbell exercises for triceps

1. Close Grip Bench Press

close Grip Bench Press

You lift in the close grip bench press with your hands roughly shoulder-width apart. This is easier on the shoulders and transfers the weight more to your triceps and less to your chest. This form of the bench press works on your triceps to increase muscular growth and strengthen your lockout.

How to do:

  • As you would for a flat bench press, position yourself.
  • Place your hands shoulder-width apart and tuck your elbows in close to your body.
  • With your arms locked out and the bar over your chest, remove the barbell from the rack.
  • Draw your elbows inside and lower slowly toward your chest.
  • Press up until lockout occurs once you have reached the required depth, then reset and try again.

2. Skullcrushers


The word “skull crusher” refers to an activity where you isolate and extend your triceps by lowering a barbell on your forehead while lying down. To further strengthen your triceps, you can lift more weight with the skull crusher posture than you could with a triceps pushdown. The great thing about this workout is that if the barbell hurts your elbows, you can substitute it with dumbbells, kettlebells, or an EZ bar.

How to do:

  • With your hands supporting your preferred tool (a barbell, an EZ bar, or dumbbells) at the peak of the pressing position, lie face up on a bench.
  • Position yourself exactly like you would for a bench press, with your hands shoulder-width apart.
  • To make your elbows point behind you, slightly retract them and tuck them in.
  • Next, lower the weight toward your forehead by bending your elbows.
  • When done correctly, you will feel a stretch in your lats and triceps.
  • Once your elbows are locked out, push the weight again, reset, and repeat.

3. JM Press

JM Press

The pioneer of this hybrid lift, JM Blakely, is honored by the moniker of the JM Press. It’s a combination of total triceps builder, skull crusher, and close grip bench press. Compared to most of the exercises on this list, you can place more stress on the triceps because the chest is engaged, the range of motion is decreased, and the elbows are close together.

How to do:

  • JM Press should be started in the same manner as a close grip bench press. The barbell is situated over the upper pecs, which is the only distinction.
  • Position yourself with a normal or narrow false grip 16 inches apart.
  • As you raise the barbell toward your head, position your elbows 45 degrees away from your torso.
  • To keep the bar in place, cock the wrist.
  • When your forearm touches your bicep, lower the barbell.
  • Maintaining the elbows pointing up and forward requires letting the barbell roll back about an inch.
  • Once lockout is reached, press, reset, and repeat.

4. Standing Landmine Press

Standing Landmine Press

It can be painful for the elbow joint to train the triceps; not everyone can do so. Some people can exercise without experiencing pain thanks to the standing landmine press’s unilateral design and grasping the fat end of the barbell to promote stability. It’s a great exercise for beginners because there’s less risk involved, and you can train around discomfort while working your triceps by using a neutral grip and elbow near the body.

How to do:

  • Place your feet hip-width apart, your chest up, and your shoulders down.
  • With your elbows bent and held just in front of your anterior shoulder, grasp the end of the barbell.
  • Tighten your grip on the barbell while using your lats, glutes, and core.
  • After the movement, reach forward and execute an elbow extension to lockout.
  • Reset, descend slowly once more, and repeat.

5. Floor Press

floor press

Powerlifters who need to improve their upper body often use this form of the bench press. You are restricting the range of motion in your arms when you press a barbell from the floor.

This implies that you can usually press greater weight, which results in a stronger triceps and bench press. If an injury prevents you from benching with a full range of motion, or if all the benches are taken in a busy gym, the floor press is another good substitute.

How to do:

  • Arms extended, lie down in front of a power rack. When adjusting the hooks to get the barbell to rest where your hands can reach, pay attention to where they finish.
  • Place your feet firmly on the ground and return under the barbell that is now loaded.
  • Use the usual bench press grip to grab the bar. After removing the bar from the rack, bring the barbell down to your sternum. Maintain a 45-degree tucked-in elbow position. Return the pressure.

6. Overhead Triceps Extension

Overhead Triceps Extension

Dumbbells are typically used for the overhead triceps extension, but barbells let you utilize a bigger weight. The French press is another term for the standing version. All three tricep heads are worked throughout this exercise, but the long head, which adds bulk to the upper arm, is particularly worked. Your muscles will be tested with more tension over a greater range of motion.

How to do:

  • With an overhand hold on a barbell, place your hands less than shoulder-width apart. Raise the bar directly above your head, keeping your back straight and your knees slightly bent.
  • Bend at the elbow and lower the bar behind your head while maintaining perfect stillness with your upper arms. Once your hands are almost level with your neck, keep going down.
  • Reverse the motion and go back to the beginning position by contracting your triceps.

Benefits of barbell exercises for triceps

Training the triceps with barbells offers a range of benefits, contributing to overall arm strength, aesthetics, and functional fitness. Here are some key advantages:

  1. Muscle Size and Definition:
    • Barbells allow for progressive overload, facilitating muscle hypertrophy.
    • By incorporating various barbell tricep exercises, individuals can achieve enhanced size and definition in the triceps, contributing to a more sculpted arm appearance.
  2. Efficient Workouts:
    • Barbell exercises often engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously, making them time-efficient.
    • Compound movements like barbell tricep extensions and close-grip bench presses target the triceps along with other supporting muscles, providing a comprehensive workout in a shorter time.
  3. Strength Development:
  4. Functional Movement Improvement:
    • Strong triceps are essential for various daily activities, such as pushing, lifting, and carrying.
    • Barbell exercises mimic these functional movements, enhancing the triceps’ ability to perform essential actions required in everyday life.
  5. Versatility in Exercises:
    • Barbells offer versatility, enabling a wide range of tricep exercises.
    • Exercises like skull crushers, close-grip bench presses, and overhead tricep extensions can be easily performed with barbells, providing a diverse training stimulus for the triceps.
  6. Stability and Joint Health:
    • Barbell tricep exercises often require stability and control, promoting joint health.
    • Strengthening the triceps helps stabilize the elbow joint, reducing the risk of injuries and enhancing overall joint function.
  7. Progress Tracking:
    • Barbells provide a clear means of tracking progress by allowing precise weight increments.
    • Regularly increasing the weight lifted during barbell tricep exercises helps individuals monitor and enhance their strength gains over time.
  8. Adaptability to Different Fitness Levels:
    • Whether you are a beginner or an advanced lifter, barbell tricep exercises can be adapted to different fitness levels.
    • Adjusting the weight and intensity allows individuals to tailor their workouts to match their current strength and endurance levels.
  9. Compound Exercise Benefits:
    • Many barbell tricep exercises, such as close-grip bench presses, involve multiple joints and muscle groups.
    • This not only targets the triceps but also engages the chest, shoulders, and even the core, promoting overall upper-body strength and stability.

Barbell workouts can provide well-rounded strength development, enhanced appearance, and functional fitness gains when incorporated into a triceps-focused training program. As with any fitness regimen, the secret to optimizing results and lowering the chance of injury is to use perfect form, progress, and individualization.

Triceps with barbell workout

ExerciseSets x RepsNotes
Close-Grip Bench Press4×8-12Keep hands closer than shoulder-width.
Skull Crushers (Lying Triceps Extension)3×10-15Use a controlled motion to avoid injury.
Overhead Barbell Tricep Extension3×12-15Maintain stability during the movement.
Close-Grip Standing Barbell Triceps Press4×8-12Adjust grip to target triceps effectively.
Barbell Tricep Kickbacks3×12-15 each armKeep a slight bend in the elbow for control.
Close-Grip Floor Press4×10-12Similar to close-grip bench with limited ROM.


Can you do triceps with dumbbells?

If you are unable to visit the gym, this really basic triceps workout may be performed at home with or without a bench. How to carry it out: Sustain a dumbbell in each hand while bending your arms 90 degrees. Hinging at the hips, bend forward until your body is nearly parallel to the ground.

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