If you’re looking for an effective calisthenics exercise to build your triceps, look no further than the tricep extension! This move is a great way to target those muscles and help them grow. It’s simple to do and can be performed with just a simple equipment or not equipment at allt, making it perfect for any level of fitness. In this article, we’ll discuss how to do the tricep extension and show you some variations that will help you get the most out of this move. Let’s get started!
Why build bigger and stronger triceps?
The triceps, like any other muscle group, are important for everyday movement. From pushing the door, pushing the cart in the supermarket, or pushing down a lever, it all involved your tricep muscles.
Triceps function as one of the main stabilizers of the shoulder joint. They also help to extend and straighten the elbow, which is a movement we use often in daily life. When these muscles are strong, they can help to prevent injuries such as strains and tendonitis. In addition, strong triceps can improve your performance in your pushing movement patterns such as push-ups, dips, and triceps.
To summarize, here are the reasons why you want to build bigger and stronger triceps:
- Stronger shoulder and elbow joint stability
- Improves arm flexibility and mobility
- Better general arm strength and control
- Stronger pushing movements in calisthenics and in everyday life
- Visually bigger arms since triceps are a large muscle group compared to biceps
How to build your triceps
Building your triceps is similar to building any other muscle group. Whether you’re training with weights or just your body weight, you will need to satisfy these three factors to induce muscle development:
- Progressive training or the process of making your workout more challenging than the last one
- Sufficient protein and calories through whole foods
- And lastly (but equally as important), getting high-quality sleep and recovery
More on calisthenics muscle-building in this article: How to Build Muscle Mass Using Bodyweight Only
In terms of training, there are three primary details you need to keep in mind.
Focus on your compound exercises
Even if you want to focus on growing your triceps, it’s still best to maintain your focus on compound exercises. These are multi-joint movement patterns that involve not just the triceps, but all the other primary muscle groups that move in conjunction with your triceps.
So this means, focusing on these exercises for the beginning part of your workout:
- Handstands: Ultimate Handstand Guide
Take note that we’re not talking about just one variation of each exercise. It will still depend on your current skill level.
Yes, these exercises also train the triceps, but there are also other muscle groups involved such as the chest muscles, shoulders muscles, and the core.
Your body works best when moving together, and not in isolation. Strengthening multiple muscle-group simultaneously is the best and most efficient use of your time. Plus, research supports that compound movements are better in developing strength.
Add isolation exercise
After you have finished your compounds, adding an isolation exercise for your triceps helps you boost your training volume to stimulate muscle growth.
While you can build your tricep muscle through compound movements allow, fatigue from other muscle groups can limit your working set for your triceps. This is when isolation exercises come in.
To maximize training volume, isolation exercises are implemented to target a specific muscle group so that you are not restricted from the other muscle groups. Isolation works best to increase your working sets safely for your triceps.
Keep it progressive
Calisthenics isn’t as straightforward as weight lifting. When working with weights, you simply just to have added weights, reps, and sets.
With calisthenics, there are tons of other variables you can manipulate to keep your workout more challenging. This is progressive calisthenics. It keeps you challenged and keeps your training enjoyable and sustainable in the long run.
Why tricep extensions is the best?
So here’s the king of tricep exercises: The tricep extension.
Because it’s a great isolation exercise that targets the triceps with less loading on your chest and shoulders. Even if you’re already tired from your push-up progressions or ring dips, you will have enough in your tank to include tricep extensions to further overload your triceps.
How to perform tricep extensions?
Steps to perform:
- Position in a push-up position.
- Move your hands upward so that your elbows are forward and no long underneath your shoulders.
- Lower your elbows to the floor.
- Push back up into the push-up position by contracting your triceps.
- Repeat for reps.
- Move your hands further away from your body to make the exercise easier
- The closer your hands are to the center of your body, the harder the exercise
- Keep elbows tucked
- Focus on your triceps to move your body
- Full-body tension
- Core engaged
- Don’t rock on your heels
- Keep your weight on your arms
- Straight body line
- Focus on high rep ranges
- Controlled movements
- Pause at the top and bottom
Where to perform the exercise?
There are options you can choose from where you can do the exercise. Each offers its own advantages and disadvantages.
This is the most basic option but not necessarily the easiest. Since your body is in a horizontal position, the difficulty of the exercise is already set relatively high. But you can adjust the difficulty of the exercise by moving your hands. The closer it is to the center of the body, the harder the exercise. The further it is, the easier it gets.
The problem with this option is that you might be limited with the range of motion.
Gymnastics rings offer instability which adds difficulty to the exercise. You can also easily scale the difficulty by changing the body position. The more upright your body is, the easier it gets. The more horizontal your body is, the more challenging the exercise gets.
Free moving rings, however, offer an advantage for your shoulder and elbow joints. Since you can move freely, you can move your body to where it is most comfortable for you when moving along the movement pathway.
The elevation also allows you to get a wider range of motion which can turn to more gains.
Performing tricep extensions on a bar is quite similar to rings. It also offers a wider range of motion and scalability. The fixed nature can also make the exercise a bit easier. However, this can also be hurting your joints if the exercise is not done properly (keep your elbows tucked!).
If you don’t have any access to rings or bars, then any sturdy furniture will do. Just make sure it can hold your weight and it will move around as you do the exercise. This is the beauty of calisthenics, you can do it anywhere and with any equipment.
More tips on equipment here: The Ultimate Guide to Calisthenics Equipment and Cheap Ways to Replace Them
How to add tricep extensions to your workout?
Since the tricep extension is an isolation exercise, perform it after you have completed your compound movements. It’s used to “demolish” your triceps so you can let them recover and grow stronger and bigger.
Here’s an example of how to include it in your routine:
Ring Dips : 3 sets of 6-8 reps
Ring Push-ups: 3 sets of 8-10 reps
Tricep extension: 3 sets of 8-15 reps
Should beginners do this exercise?
As you’ve noticed in the example, more advanced calisthenics exercises are mentioned. This is because triceps extensions are not meant for beginners. This is an isolation exercise for more intermediate to advanced athletes who want to build bigger and stronger tricep muscles.
Beginners should focus on performing push-ups, dips, and handstands. These are calisthenic fundamental movement patterns. They should be sufficient enough to help build a strong base of strength and muscle.
As you grow stronger, these basic movements might be lacking. Only then you can now introduce the tricep extensions into your routine.
The tricep extension is the best calisthenics exercise for building triceps because it’s a great isolation exercise that targets the triceps with less loading on your chest and shoulders. You can perform this exercise on the floor, rings, bar, or furniture.
If you’re not quite there yet to use the tricep extensions, don’t fret! Build your strength foundations first with calisthenics fundamentals.
Use a personalised approach and avoid the cookie-cutter approach to fitness to progress faster and safer in your fitness journey. Start by testing what you can do with your body first by checking out the short assessment below.