Most of us have dreams of tight and toned triceps to avoid the dreaded “bat wings,” but how often do we make the excuse of why we cannot go to the gym? Our busy schedules sometimes make it impossible to commit to a gym membership. Fortunately, plenty of triceps exercises with no equipment take nearly no time to complete. These exercises can be done anywhere, whether in the comfort of your own home or while on a trip. The results are also excellent, relying on your body weight to take the place of the gym equipment and weights. These exercises will produce the muscle tone, definition, and strength like you have spent hours at the gym. Throughout this read, we will explore what it means to do triceps contracting exercises with no equipment, what exactly triceps are, how to target the muscles specifically, and how to do these exercises at home. We’ll look at some excellent examples of exercises you can complete anywhere, so read on for everything you need to know about triceps exercises.
Are There Triceps Exercises With No Equipment Required?
The great news is that there are plenty of exercises for the triceps with no equipment required. According to ACE Fitness, the best triceps exercise available does not use equipment at all and is called the triangle push-up. Because this method does not require equipment, you can do it anywhere without needing a gym membership. During the study, this exercise produced the most muscle activity in all participants (1).
The best part is that you will not be limited to this one maneuver, as there are several terrific triceps with no equipment exercises. For example, while traditionally performed with a bench in a gym, dips can be performed at home using a sturdy chair (1).
If you are ready to incorporate triceps exercises into your exercise routine but have been concerned about needing a commitment to the gym, your worries are over. Not only do these exercises without equipment exist, but you can vary your workouts to prevent boredom and achieve maximum results.
Can You Work Triceps Without Weights?
Performing bodyweight triceps exercises is an excellent way to work your triceps without using weights. We often have a busy schedule that does not allow us to hit the gym, no matter how well we plan. These exercises work the triceps very effectively, and you can do them in the comfort of your own home while getting ready in the morning or when you get home in the evening (3).
Evidence even suggests that these exercises are sufficient to boost strength in your triceps. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research demonstrated that following four weeks of progressive push-up challenges in men, the subjects displayed a remarkable increase in strength (4).
So, despite not having any weights, you can create a thorough workout plan to encompass your triceps, increasing strength and trimming down the fat. Your own body weight will work as the needed weights, producing significant results.
How Do You Hit All Three Heads Of Triceps?
The triceps is a muscle with three heads and the only muscle on the upper arm’s posterior side. These are the long, lateral, and medial heads. They all have different originating locations but meet in one spot at the same tendon that inserts into the olecranon process at the ulna (10).
It is the primary muscle to extend the elbow but also functions as a weak extensor for the shoulder. Some exercises target all three heads or individual heads (10).
One great exercise is doing a bench dip with a rotation added to it. This will target the triceps and build definition, effectively toning the muscle. Another option is push-ups with an increase in the count for holding each position, called a 2-4 push-up. Keeping your arms closer to your body will result in even better triceps results (10).
How Can I Work My Triceps At Home?
Working your triceps at home is generally very easy. While you can add small dumbbells to the exercises, plenty of options do not require weights of any kind, making it significantly easier to commit to the activities.
Bodyweight dips are an excellent option for this kind of workout and will target your triceps ideally. This exercise also falls into the chest and tricep workout category as it targets your chest and shoulders (2).
Other options include exercises like the inchworm that targets everything from your triceps to your shoulders to your core for a nearly full-body workout. You can also do kickboxing punches for a unique exercise (2).
The options are nearly endless. You can create a routine that works for you and keeps you entertained so that your workouts do not become boring and a chore. Triceps workouts do not take long to complete, and doing them in the convenience of your own home makes it even easier.
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How Many Triceps Workouts Should I Do?
Deciding how many triceps workouts you should do depends on what you are trying to achieve. Do you want to work these muscles daily, or do you want to have a routine where you work them a couple of days a week? Additionally, you need to consider how many sets and reps you want to do.
Start with considering how often you will target your triceps each week. Next, think about your weekly training volume. If you complete more reps, you’ll need to do fewer sets. This generally equates to lower weight. On the other hand, doing fewer reps means a greater number of sets and a higher weight (8).
Factors to consider when deciding on your reps and sets are the following:
- For strength gains, consider reps of five and under
- For a combination of strength and hypertrophy, consider reps between six and twelve
- For muscular endurance, reps should be between 13 and 20 (8)
According to a study published in Sports Medicine, medium and high levels of sets performed weekly induced a more significant response in strength increase in individuals than lower set levels. A study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise showed that shorter sessions of just 13 minutes were as effective at producing strength and endurance gains in subjects as longer time commitments. However, hypertrophy does require greater workout volume (6, 7).
What Are Good Triceps Workouts?
Let’s get to the heart of the matter with some good triceps workouts. The ones we will cover do not require any equipment, so that they can be completed anywhere at your convenience.
1. Bench Dip Modified Using A Sturdy Chair
The bench dip is one of the most commonly used triceps exercises and is known for getting results. It is straightforward and will require the use of a sturdy chair.
- Sit on the chair, your hands next to your hips, palms resting flat, and your fingers hanging over the edge.
- Keeping your feet together and knees bent, move your bottom off the chair. You should notice that you are primarily supporting your weight with your arms.
- Lower your hips toward the floor, bending your elbows in the process. Do this until your upper arms are parallel to the floor.
- Push yourself back upward using your arms.
- Repeat for the number of reps you have chosen.
You can also increase the challenge this exercise presents by extending your legs straight without bending your knees. Ensure you are not rounding your shoulders forward during the downward motion. This movement requires a good deal of shoulder stabilization and a wide range of motion for correct application. Any back extension could result in injury, and you should avoid doing it (9).
2. Bench Dips Modified With A Rotation
This exercise will kick up the traditional bench dip for an extreme workout. You will do the same up to step 3 in the previous section. Instead of directly progressing to step 4, you will cross your right arm over your midsection, allowing your left arm to stabilize your body. Repeat with the opposite arm and then finish with steps 4 and 5 of a traditional dip (10).
3. Standard Push-Ups
Most of us have had to do push-ups at one time or another, so this should be a good refresher. This workout has the most benefit out of exercises for triceps with no equipment, so it is essential to know how to perform it perfectly.
- Start by assuming a plank position with arms fully extended and supporting your body’s weight. Ensure your feet and ankles are together.
- Begin by slowly lowering your body toward the floor. While doing this, ensure your torso remains rigid, and your head stays aligned with your spine.
- Lower yourself until your chin or chest touch the floor.
- Using your arms, press yourself back toward the upward position. Again, maintain a rigid torso and perfect alignment between your head and spine.
Keeping your hands facing forward and your elbows close to your body will put more emphasis on your triceps. Throughout the entire exercise, the back or midsection should have no sagging (5).
Additionally, taking the downward motion for a two-count and the upward movement for a four-count can increase the effects of the exercise on your triceps. This modification is known as the 2-4 push-up (10). Bring your hands together for the most significant impact, and make a triangle shape with your forefingers and thumbs. This position is called the triangle push-up and is the most effective at working your triceps (9).
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4. Kickboxing Punches
If you up the tempo of this exercise, you can add cardio to your triceps workout. You will also work your core.
- Start with your feet set hip-width apart, keeping your arms to your sides.
- Bend your knees slightly, bringing your arms to the frog of your body. Bend your elbows and make a fist with both hands.
- You will need to tighten your core, fists, and biceps.
- Using a punching motion, extend your right arm across your body.
- While extending your arm, pause briefly, tightening your tricep muscle.
- Keeping your bicep muscle engaged, pull your arm back toward your body.
- Repeat with the other arm.
You can make this exercise more of a challenge by fully fatiguing one arm at a time. Punch with your right arm for the total number of reps before changing arms. Do this for each set (2).
The Bottom Line
If you cannot find the time to commit to a gym membership but still want tight and toned triceps, have no fear; there are plenty of triceps exercises with no equipment required. You can do these exercises from anywhere you feel comfortable. Using your body weight makes them as efficient and results-producing as many other strength training alternatives.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- ACE Study Identifies Best Triceps Exercises (n.d., acefitness.org)
- At-Home Arm Workouts Are Simple with These 20 Exercises (2021, healthline.com)
- Bodyweight exercises: How to build muscle without equipment (2022, livescience.com)
- Effect of Progressive Calisthenic Push-up Training on Muscle Strength and Thickness (2018, pubmed.ncbi.nln.nih.gov)
- How To Do Push-Ups (n.d., acefitness.org)
- Resistance Training Volume Enhances Muscle Hypertrophy but Not Strength in Trained Men (2019, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The Effect of Weekly Set Volume on Strength Gain: A Meta-Analysis (2017, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- This Is How Many Exercises You Should Do Per Muscle Group (2020, healthline.com)
- Tone Up Your Triceps with These Three Exercises (2014, acefitness.org)
- Triceps Brachii Exercises | 6 Exercises for Stronger Triceps (2016, acefitness.org)