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Tricep Workouts for Women: Upper Body Essentials

By: Holly Smith, M.D. - Osteopathic Medicine, B.S. - Dietetics, NASM-PES Certified Trainer,

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

tricep workouts for women

With the right tricep workouts for women, you can build a great-looking upper body, get stronger, and feel more confident!

There are tons of benefits to having strong, sculpted arms.

Not only do toned arms look great, but having a strong upper body allows you to lift, push, and pull during all of your everyday activities.

And we know how important that is as a busy mom!

Tricep workouts are an essential part of every upper body workout.

These muscles are located on the back of each arm and have three heads — hence the name TRIceps.

Tricep workouts for women work the lateral, medial, and long head of the triceps to build a toned underside to your arms.

Your tricep muscles' main function is to extend your elbow but also to extend your shoulder to some degree.

Add the following tricep workouts for women to your full body or upper body routine and you'll be on the way to sexy, sculpted arms in no time!

Skull crushers are a great tricep workout. Here's how to do them correctly.

Why Build Strong Triceps?

Building up your triceps muscles has a number of benefits.

The obvious is that it is a sign of strength and power.

Strong arms will give you a toned, fit physique.

Many women complain about excess fat hanging off the back of their arms.

While you can’t spot reduce fat, strengthening the muscles on the back of your arm will help reduce that “flabby” appearance.

This can help give you an extra boost of confidence about your body.

In addition, increased muscle mass increases your metabolic rate as well, making your body more efficient at burning calories and losing or maintaining a healthy weight.

Plus, having strong triceps means that you can do everyday activities more easily.

Anything that requires lifting, pulling, and pushing is made easier when you have powerful triceps.

And improved strength will make you less prone to upper body injuries.

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Improve Strength and Heart Health

Any strength training workout is also going to have the added benefit of increasing overall health and decreasing your risk of chronic disease.

This is sometimes forgotten as cardiovascular exercise is often pushed to the forefront to combat heart disease.

However, a recent cardiology review also discusses how cardiovascular disease can be, to an extent, reversed with strength training exercises.

Plus, other studies have shown that resistance training can increase HDL levels, a marker of improved cardiovascular health.

Finally, utilizing arm workouts to build tricep strength will also decrease your risk for injury.

Having strong upper body muscles will protect your joints, tendons, and ligaments, especially as you get older.

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Triceps Workouts For Women

Here are some great tricep workouts for women at any level of fitness.

Since these are smaller muscles, use low weight, especially when doing the exercise for the first time.

Skull Crushers

  • Lay on a bench and hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing each other.
  • Hold the weights over your chest, then bend your elbows to lower the weights toward your face until you feel a stretch in your triceps.
  • Then, extend your elbows as you bring the weights back up.
  • Keep your elbows in tight and try not to let them flare out. If this happens, try using a lower weight.

Skull crushers target all three heads of the triceps. Plus this is a great isolating movement for the triceps.

Since you are only bending at the elbow, only should be feeling the tension in your triceps muscles.

This is in contrast to other tricep exercises where you get assistance from the shoulders or chest muscles.

Learn the proper skull crusher form, one of the best triceps exercises for women.

Tricep Dips on Dip Bar

  • Stand over the dip bars and grip them, then hold yourself over the bars with your arms fully extended.
  • Lower your body until your upper arms are parallel to the floor but no lower.
  • Extend your elbows to push back up.
  • If you cannot do a dip unassisted you can use a dip machine or a spotter to hold your feet until you gain enough strength.

If you don’t have a dip bar available, you can also do tricep dips on the floor.

This won’t use your chest muscle to the same degree, but will also provide less resistance since you won't have to support all of your body weight.

  • Place your hands on the edge of a stable surface, like a chair.
  • Place your feet out in front of you.
  • Lower your body until your upper arms are parallel to the floor, then push back up.

This bodyweight exercise will target your triceps.

You can change the position of your feet in front of you to vary the intensity of this move.

The closer your feet are to your body, the easier the exercise will be.

To really challenge yourself, place your feet up on another chair to perform this exercise.

By keeping your arms close to your body, you will be really working your triceps as you press yourself back up.

You will also get some assistance from the chest and shoulders, although this will help add shape to your upper body and arms.

Tricep Rope Pull Downs

  • Attach a rope attachment to a high pulley and hold the rope with your palms facing each other.
  • Bring your torso forward at about a 30-degree angle.
  • Contract your triceps to pull the rope down until your arms are fully extended.
  • The upper arms should always remain stationary and only the forearms should move.
  • Hold for a pause and then bring the rope slowly back up.

By starting with your body slightly angled instead of standing straight up, you will force your triceps to work through their full range of motion.

This ensures that you will hit all three heads of the triceps.

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Tricep Kick Backs

  • Start with a dumbbell in each hand and your palms facing your torso.
  • Keep your back straight with a slight bend in the knees and bend forward at the waist.
  • There should be a 90-degree angle formed between your forearm and upper arm.
  • While keeping your upper arms stable, use your triceps to extend the weights back until the arm is fully extended.
  • After a brief pause at the top contraction slowly lower the dumbbells back down.

This is another arm exercise that, if done correctly, will hit all three heads of the triceps.

Make sure to keep your upper arms stationary throughout, and do not swing or use your body momentum to extend the dumbbells.

Military Push-Ups

  • Place your hands inside shoulder width and lower your body until your chest is about an inch above the floor.
  • Then extend the elbows to push yourself back up to the top.

These tend to be harder than standard push-ups since you are isolating your triceps more, rather than your chest muscles to perform this exercise.

Performing these on a regular basis will give your arms amazing definition and tone.

Holly Smith

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

Holly is an osteopathic physician, runner, triathlete, and fitness and nutrition enthusiast.

She is board certified in nephrology and internal medicine, has a bachelors degree in dietetics and is a certified personal trainer with NASM-PES certification.

Holly has completed four full ironmans, twelve marathons, countless half ironmans, olympic distance triathlons, half marathons and numerous other road races.

Holly joined the Fit Father Project in May 2019 as a regular writer, contributing articles on health, wellness, exercise, and nutrition.

She has also recently qualified for the 2020 World Championships for Ironman 70.3, in New Zealand!

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If you’re a busy mom who wants to finally lose weight, get healthy, and actually keep the pounds off for good, this is the simple program you’ll love sticking to…

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*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on tricep workouts for women.

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