My 6 Favorite Tricep Exercises

The other day while I was at work, one of the women I was training asked me if we could spend some time working on, what she called, her “after wave.”

Ahh yes, that lovely area of the arm that seems to be one of the hardest to tone. Don’t we all just love it?

Well, on that same particular day, I happened to get an email from a reader wondering if I could share some of my favorite tricep exercises with her, since she’s trying to get ready to look great in her strapless wedding dress.

So I took that as a sign. The weather is getting warmer and the tank tops are coming out, so I put together a little list of some of my favorite tricep exercises that I’ve been using lately. Time to get those arms in tip-top shape!

tricep exercises

Skull Crushers

How To: Hold one dumbbell between right thumb and pointer finger. Slide left hand under right hand for support. Keep knees hip width apart and hips lifted. Straighten out arms by lifting the weight up. Pause for one second, begin lowering the free weight back to your starting position, and repeat.

*If you don’t have a stability ball, you can do overhead tricep extensions instead (see below).

How Many: Three sets of 10 to 12 reps, resting for up to 30 seconds between sets.



Dumbbell Overhead Tricep Extension

How To: Sit straight (on bench or stability ball) or stand. Hold a dumbbell overhead with both arms, slowly lower down behind your head, and return to start.

Optional: Use one arm at a time but be sure to lighten the load a bit.

How Many: Three sets of 10 to 12 reps, resting for up to 30 seconds between sets.

Diamond Pushups

How To: Get into a push up position and place hands directly under shoulders in a diamond shape. Lower down to ground, keeping core tight, then press back up through triceps.

How Many: Three sets of 10 to 12 reps, resting for up to 30 seconds between sets.

Stability Ball Pushups

How To: Get in pushup position with hands on center of a stability ball. Bend elbows, lowering yourself toward the ball. When your chest comes within an inch or two of the ball, press back up.

How Many: Three sets of 10 to 12 reps, resting for up to 30 seconds between sets.


Bench Dips

How To: From a seated position, place hands on the edge of a bench as close to your butt as you can. Move your butt off of the bench, lower as far to the ground as possible, keeping butt and lower back close to the bench. Use triceps to push back up to starting position, fully extending arms and squeezing triceps.

Increase the difficulty: elevate feet on another bench or stability ball, or hold a dumbbell/weight plate in your lap.

How Many: Three sets of 10 to 12 reps, resting for up to 30 seconds between sets.

Medicine Ball Triceps Pushups (advanced)

How To: Place both hands on a medium or large-sized medicine ball. Keep palms facing one another towards the side of the ball. Keep elbows close to your sides and lower your chest all the way to the medicine ball. As you lower, be sure to keep core tight and don’t let hips sag towards the floor.

Make it Easier: Perform the pushups from your knees.

How Many: Three sets of 10 to 12 reps, resting for up to 30 seconds between sets.


Most, if not all, of the exercises shown above can be done at home, as long as you have a set of challenging dumbbells, a medicine ball, and a stability ball.

Incorporate a couple of them into your next upper body workout, or, give yourself a killer tricep workout by doing all six of them in a circuit.

Your triceps will be burnin’! Winking smile


  1. says

    I just did an arm workout yesterday, my triceps are burning today! It’s definitely an area I need to tone. I do bench dips often, then overhead and kickbacks using weights. The diamond push ups are something I should tackle-I avoid them because they’re a little difficult for me. I’ll have to try this routine next time!

  2. Sylvia @ Frolic Through Life says

    Lol at after wave. That is the worst part of arms in general! Definitely trying out some of these moves.

  3. Kalyn says

    I can’t wait to try these moves! I love your shoulder workout that you recently posted, and I am excited to incorporate these, as well. My arms will be ready for summer in no time!

  4. says

    Diamond pushups or medicine ball pushups look like they’d destroy me! Pushups are the one exercise that is the hardest for me for some reason. I can work the same muscles using different exercises and I feel strong but pushups just kick my butt. Maybe that means I should do them more!
    Lindsay @ Fuel My Family recently posted..WIAW and A First For Cassidy

  5. Andrea says

    I used to be a competitive gymnast for 9 years and had great arms, but now that I’m not a gymnast I’ve been extremely busy and haven’t had any time to work out. How long will it take to see results?

    • Courtney says

      There’s really no way to tell, as everyone is different. It’s also very dependent on how much time you’re willing to commit.

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