Triceps are a critical part of the bench press exercise. As in many things in life, you are only as strong as your weakest link. So to ensure that the triceps aren’t that failing link to your pressing power, let’s look at some of the best triceps exercises to increase your bench press.
The basic idea behind triceps strength and size are using exercises that really work the belly of the muscle that you can attack with a lot of heavy weight. As nice as cable exercises are such as pushdowns or extensions with a low cable, you should be trying to use free weights to really push your muscles into the type of growth that will help up that bench press total.
Best Triceps Exercises
These are the big four of exercises to build overall muscle size and strength. Along with working the muscle belly these exercises also emphasize a full range of motion, particularly the stretch which is a key to muscle growth.
- Close Grip Bench Press – This is a great mass builder for the triceps that is also similar to the actual bench press movement. The key is to keep the grip close and the elbows tight to your body. You can do these with a barbell or dumbbells. Also you can use a Smith Machine for safety with a higher amount of weight if you don’t have a spotter.
- Dips – This is another classic size builder bodybuilders have been using for years. Along with really working the meat of the muscle, you can get a great stretch from this movement. Make sure to keep the upper body in an upright position to minimize chest usage and keep a close grip with the elbows tight to the body. Also you can hold the lockout for a pause much like you would in a bench press motion. If you are using parallel bars instead of a machine make sure to add weight when you can easily do 12+ dips with your bodyweight.
- Incline Bench EZ Curl Bar Triceps Extensions – This is a great yet underused exercise. Many people will use a flat bench but the incline bench is superior because it changes the position the muscle is in related to the shoulder which creates a greater stretch to the long head of the muscle. Using an EZ Curl Bar allows for two options in hand grips. Use an incline bench at a 30 or 45 degree angle. Keep the elbows pointed toward the ceiling and lower the bar down to your forehead before extending the weight straight back up overhead.
- Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extensions – This is another great exercise that isn’t used nearly enough. It really works the long head of the muscle and the belly. You can also supinate the wrist during the motion for a more varied hit on the muscle. Take a single dumbbell and sit on a bench. Raise your arm with the dumbbell straight overhead then keeping the elbow pointed up slowly bend the elbow and lower the dumbbell behind your head, pause at the bottom then slowly straighten your arm out. Due to the position and gravity this one is a real killer!
This list comprises the four best triceps exercises I have found. Making the back of your arms stronger will help prevent them from being the weak link in your bench press totals.