The Workout Guide: How To Tone Triceps

While biceps are commonly the go-to muscle to target when working out your upper arms, triceps are crucial to tone and strengthen. Triceps act as a connector between your arms and upper body, and they play a role in your overall range of motion. Because of this, knowing how to tone triceps is important.

How to Tone Triceps

The tricep is the largest muscle in your arm and is responsible for giving your upper body definition. There are 5 targeted workout moves we’re sharing that you can do to improve the overall look of your triceps and get them toned

Triceps Push-up

In general, push-ups are great for toning and strengthening your arms. Plus, they are an excellent move if you’re limited on space when trying to figure out how to work out the triceps at home. To make push-ups more targeted to your triceps, do tricep push-ups.

  1. Start by going into the standard push-up position.
  2. Move your arms so your hands are directly below your shoulders. Adjust your feet to be hip-width apart.
  3. As you go down for a push-up, try to keep your elbows close to your sides and pointed back towards your feet. This will activate your triceps.

Woman on a yoga mat doing push ups

You can also do diamond push-ups to target your triceps. To do this, place your hands right next to one another and form a diamond shape with your thumbs and index fingers. 

Tricep Dips

Similar to tricep push-ups, tricep dips are perfect if you’re limited on space. You can either do this move on the ground with no equipment, or you can use a chair or workout bench if there is one available to you.

  1. Using a chair, place your hands at the edge of the seat, shoulder-width apart. Your fingertips should be facing towards you.
  2. Sit on the chair to prep yourself for the move. Extend your legs in front of you, and slide yourself off the chair. At this point, your hands should be the only body part touching the chair.
  3. Start with your arms extended, and slowly bend them until they’re at a 90 degree angle. Your buttocks and upper leg should be moving towards the floor as you do this.
  4. Using your arms, press yourself back up, until your arms are fully extended.
  5. Repeat these moves.

To make this exercise more challenging, you can do two things. First, you can have only your heels touch the floor, rather than your entire foot. Second, you can extend your legs out to be further from the chair. The further away your legs are, the more difficult this move becomes.

Overhead Triceps Extension

Doing overhead tricep extensions are a great way to isolate your triceps and quickly feel the burn through your muscles.

  1. Place a dumbbell in each hand. Stand with your legs hip-distance apart.
  2. Extend both arms so they are going straight up towards the ceiling.
  3. Slowly bend at the elbows, lowering the weights behind your head. Continue until your arms are bent as far as they can go.
  4. Bring them back up until they are fully extended.
  5. Repeat the move.

As you perform this move, keep your arms close to your head, and be sure your elbows stay pointing forward. 

Skull Crushers

Skull crushers target all three heads on your tricep muscle, especially your long head. 

  1. Lie down either on the floor or on a bench. 
  2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your arms raised straight up towards the ceiling.
  3. Lower the weights down toward your ears and to either side of your head. As you do this, keep your elbows right above your shoulders. This will ensure your triceps are activated.
  4.  Raise your arms back up to the top, and repeat the movement.

Triceps Kickbacks

This targets the triceps long head. As you perform this move, go slowly to avoid having the momentum carry you through the move. This can be done with one arm at a time or doing both arms at once. 

  1. Place a dumbbell in each hand. Stand with your legs slightly bent and hip-distance apart.
  2. Hinge at your hips and keep your back flat.
  3. Bend your elbows 90 degrees and have them near the sides of your chest.
  4. Using your tricep muscles, straighten your arms and keep your palms facing inward.
  5. Pause at the top before bringing your arms back to where they started.
  6. Repeat the move.

To target your medial triceps, simply change your grip on the dumbbells. Rather than holding them with an overhand grip, switch to an underhand grip. 

Why Focus on Triceps?

When it comes to toned arms, most people think about toning their biceps. Your triceps are just as important, though! Triceps give definition to your upper body and are the biggest muscle group in your arms. With toned triceps, you’ll gain more stability and strength in your upper body. Additionally, you’ll increase the range of motion in your arms. 

Woman doing arm exercises with two dumbbells

In order to understand why it’s crucial to work them out, let’s take a look at the different parts of this three-headed muscle.

Different Parts of the Triceps

It’s important to understand the different parts of the triceps and how to work them out. As mentioned, there are three heads that compose the triceps brachii on the back of your upper arm: the long head, lateral head, and medial head.

Long Head

The long head is the biggest part of the triceps. Because of this, it is the most important to target during your tricep workouts to ensure it’s getting properly toned. It’s located on the backside of your arm, closest to your body. 

Lateral Head

The lateral head is located on the outer side of your upper arm. It is commonly called the “horseshoe” because its shape resembles this. When working out, if you want to target this head, use a pronated grip when using weights. 

Medial Head

The medial head is the smallest of the three heads and can be found on the inside of your elbow. To target it during workouts, rotate your arms to have a supinated grip on the bar, bands, or weights.


As you can see, there are several exercises that specifically target your tricep muscles. Incorporate these into your workout routine to tone this muscle group!

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