So, you want to work out your triceps, but don't have heavy dumbbells or a barbell? Don't fret - all you really need are some resistance bands to get your triceps into shape. In this article, we'll take a look at the best tricep workout with bands!
Where are your triceps?
This is an obvious question for any personal trainers or serious fitness enthusiasts, but where triceps actually are can be commonly mistaken. They are a large muscle at the back of your arm and are mainly responsible for movement around your elbow. Your biceps, on the other hand, are on the front of your arm.
Why work out triceps?
Most people who work out their arms want to get muscular biceps. This is generally for a straightforward reason: bicep definition shows more. However, triceps are equally - and maybe even more so - crucial when it comes to working out. We said that triceps are a vast muscle - in fact, they take up 60% of anyone's upper arm mass. Therefore, working out triceps is essential for general arm strength.
How to work out triceps
To work out any muscle, you need resistance, which can be found in weights, body weight, or resistance bands. When muscles are continuously worked with resistance, small muscle tears are formed which make way for new muscle tissue. Growing muscle tissue gives more definition to any muscle group that is being worked out.
Tricep exercises, therefore, must specifically target this area. No amount of curls will work your triceps - you'll need to do some specific tricep exercises to build this muscle.
It's a common misperception that to work out your triceps or any upper body muscle, you need weights. In reality, all that you need is something that will give you resistance. Press-ups, for example, are a great upper body exercise - and the resistance comes from body weight and gravity.
So what about resistance bands? Really, it's in the name: they obviously provide resistance and tension, which is all that is needed for muscles to grow. Different strengths of bands reflect different weights that are often used for tricep exercises.
The best tricep exercises with bands
When starting a new workout routine, it's great to have a bank of exercises stored away. This will help your arm day flow better, as you'll have a mental workout saved and it will help with motivation.
This is our favorite tricep resistance band workout.
1. Band Pushdown
You'll need a stable cable machine, a pull-up bar, or another very sturdy piece of furniture for this, as well as a long band like a pull up assist band. Here's how to do a band pushdown exercise:
- Attach the pull-up band to your cable machine or another piece of furniture. Ensure that one end is securely fastened, and the other end is hanging down.
- Hold one side with each arm at a position where the band is taut. Your arms should be at a 90 degree angle.
- Pull down fairly quickly on each side until your arms are straight.
- For extra resistance, you can pause at the bottom, before moving your arms back to a 90 degree angle.
- Do your target number of reps - we recommend 20-30, and then repeat for your desired amount of sets.
Band pushdown exercises are a lot harder than you may think! This is because the band never loses its tension - unlike weights, where you have a bit of relief at the bottom of the movement. Doing 20-30 reps is ideal, but if you find them challenging, you can always do less and work up to that number.
2. Tricep Extensions
Again, you'll need a very long band for this exercise, but no other equipment is required.
- Stand on your band. Depending on the band's length, you can either stand in the center of it or at one end. You need to ensure that you can hold the end or ends high enough to have a little resistance at shoulder height, and a lot of resistance above the head at arm's length.
- Hold the end of the band at shoulder height. Your arm should be bent with your elbow pointing to the floor.
- Push the end of the band up towards the ceiling in a quick, fluid motion.
- Return back to shoulder position.
- Repeat the desired number of reps.
3. Overhead Tricep Extension
You'll need some sort of rack to attach your band to for this exercise. A long band like a pull-up band works best. This is a fantastic move to isolate and add as much tension as possible to the tricep area.
- Attach your band securely to your cable machine or other stable rack or piece of furniture. One end should be attached and one end hanging down.
- Hold the band on the loose end with both hands. You should be holding the band above your head and have your elbows bent at slightly less than 90 degrees.
- Lean slightly forward, don't put all your weight onto the band but lean enough to feel the tension.
- Pull the band away from you so your arms are nearly straight, and then pull it straight back in.
- Like other band exercises, pausing slightly when the band is most tense (when your arms are nearly straight) will increase the exercise results.
- Repeat for 10-20 reps and your desired amount of sets.
4. Tricep Pull
This exercise doesn't need anything more than a long resistance band. It's a simple yet effective movement; as long as you have enough space to stand up straight, you're good to go!
- Stand tall, holding your resistance band parallel to the floor at shoulder height.
- Position each hand close to the end, where the band is taut but not yet stretched out. The ideal positioning is slightly wider than your shoulders. Your arms should also be parallel to the floor and bent at the elbow.
- Keeping your hands steady at shoulder height, pull the ends of the band away from each other as you straighten your arms.
- Once your arms are straight, resume your original position.
- Repeat in sets of 10-20, for as many sets as you desire.
5. Tricep Kick Back
This is one of the classic tricep exercises with a resistance band and mimics the popular dumbbell alternative. You will need a long resistance band.
- Position your left foot at the center of the band and step your right foot back, as if you are about to lunge.
- Bend slightly forward and keep your back flat.
- Standing in this position, bend and straighten your elbows, keeping your triceps engaged the entire time.
- Repeat for the desired amount of reps. We recommend 20 per set.
6. Tricep press up with a band
The press-up is perhaps the most popular upper body workout move, and it is easy to incorporate a resistance band into it. You can also do this with tricep press-ups, which are a similar movement to chest press-ups, but with one key difference. When performing a tricep press up, you will need to keep your arms close to your body.
- Put a long resistance band around your back, holding each end with either hand.
- Assume tricep press-up position. You'll need to keep your upper arm tucked into your torso and press against the ground with your hands' palms. You can do tricep press-ups on your feet or on your knees.
- In a controlled way, push your body towards the ground and back up into the original position.
- Repeat for the desired amount of reps - 10 should be enough to feel the burn.
7. Overhead Stretch
This move is similar to the tricep pull, and it's equally easy to perform if you lack space. You just need a resistance band - preferably long, but short bands will work for this as well - and enough standing room.
- Stand tall, with your core engaged.
- Hold your band in each end, with your arms extended at arm's length over your head.
- Pull your arms apart and as they move, make sure that the band goes behind your head.
- Once your arms are fully stretched out, return them to their original position.
- Repeat for around 20 times, for your desired amount of sets.
8. Bow and arrow movement
Another super easy standing exercise, this works out not only your triceps but also your chest and shoulders. This is one of the best tricep exercises with short resistance bands.
- Stand tall and engage your core.
- Straighten one arm, and hold the resistance band at the end.
- Hold the band with your other arm, which should be bent. Make sure that you are holding it in a position where the band is taut but does not have tension. The band should be across your body, parallel to the floor.
- Pull the resistance band with your bent arm until it is straight. Then move back to the original position.
- Repeat for 10-20 reps and your target number of sets.
9. Twisted Rowing
This move is a take on the rowing machines that you'll see at the gym, but all you'll need is - you guessed it - a band. A long band will work better for this exercise.
- Sit upright and stretch your legs out in front of you. If you have tight hamstrings, you can bend your knees slightly.
- Hold the band at both ends and put it around the soles of your feet.
- Bend your right arm towards your torso and, as you do it, twist your body around so you are facing the right.
- Repeat that movement on your left side.
- Do your desired amount of reps - we recommend 20 on each side - for your target number of sets.
The final say on resistance band tricep exercises!
Triceps are a vital muscle to work out. You'll find that once you start incorporating this tricep workout with resistance bands into your arm day routine, your arms will be stronger than ever! Using a band is a simple way to build your tricep strength, and for many exercises, they can be even more efficient than weights, as they offer tension throughout the whole movement.
Try these exercises on your next arm day and feel the difference!