18 Best Bodyweight Tricep Exercises – Garage Gym Pro

Did you know that the triceps muscle makes up two-thirds of your upper arm?

Although most exercisers emphasize the biceps when they want to grow their upper arms, you must also work on your triceps.

Once I started paying the same or more attention to triceps workouts, I noticed a significant increase in upper arm circumference, and the shirts became tighter.

Triceps brachii is one of the muscles in the body that you can develop successfully just by doing the best bodyweight triceps exercises for mass, so let's start!

You don't need expensive (or any) equipment to do the following 18 triceps exercises. The same applies to gym membership fees.

Most of these best bodyweight exercises for triceps can be performed practically anywhere, including at home, hotel, and office, so you have no excuse to procrastinate.

1. Push-ups

Target: Pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, deltoids, triceps brachii, serratus anterior, latissimus dorsi, core, trapezius

A regular push-up is an essential part of every bodyweight workout, especially when the focus is on pecs and triceps.

In addition to those two primary muscles, you will also feel the back, shoulders, core, and lower body parts when you do regular push-ups.

I usually recommend that my clients start bodyweight training with push-ups. You can do push-ups as part of a warm-up routine or as the first exercise after a warm-up.

One study that lasted ten years proved what we already suspected - people who regularly do this exercise have a significantly lower chance of suffering from cardiovascular diseases.[1]

See Related - Push Ups Vs Bench Press For Strength Gains

How to do it:

  1. 1
    Get down into a pushup position.
  2. 2
    Place your hands shoulder-width apart or slightly wider.
  3. 3
    Hands should be below your elbows.
  4. 4
    Tighten your core and contract your abs.
  5. 5
    Make your body form a straight line.
  6. 6
    Inhale.
  7. 7
    Begin to slowly lower your body by bending your elbows.
  8. 8
    Keep elbows close to the rib cage.
  9. 9
    When your chest almost touches the floor, explosively return to the starting position as you exhale.
Garage Gym Pro Tip: Never lock your elbows at the top of the movement. 
Take a break if you feel too tired to keep your elbows slightly bent at the top—otherwise, the chance of injury increases.
Push Ups

2. Chaturanga Push-Up

Target: Triceps brachii, biceps brachii, pectoralis major, core, deltoids

The Chaturanga push-up is often called the yoga push-up since Chaturanga Dandasana is a body posture in different types of modern yoga.

Among people who are not that familiar with yoga, it is also known as the four-limbed staff pose or low plank, which certainly explains more closely what this exercise looks like.

Some yoga experts would disagree that this is a push-up at all, but that doesn't matter. What is important is the Chaturanga push-up should be part of your bodyweight triceps workout routine.

Like a plank, it works the whole body and improves stability and mobility, not just strength.

Yoga push-ups will prepare your body for exercises that require inversion and arm balance too.

I'll explain how to do it, but it's complicated without a demonstration. So, if you are unsure about one of the steps, ask someone experienced to help you.

How to do it:

  1. 1
    Start in a forearm plank position.
  2. 2
    Place your hands shoulder-width apart and spread your fingers for stability.
  3. 3
    Engage your core muscles.
  4. 4
    Shift the weight to the tip of the toes.
  5. 5
    Lower chest close to the floor and keep elbows pointing straight back.
  6. 6
    Move your hips to look like you are floating above the floor.
  7. 7
    Straighten your arms to return to the plank position.
Garage Gym Pro Tip: Lower your knees to the ground, whether you lack strength or have a wrist, elbow joint, or shoulder injury, because that way, you will reduce strain.
Chaturanga Push Up

3. Diamond Push-up

Target: Pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, triceps brachii, anterior deltoids, forearms

Let's make one thing perfectly clear - a diamond push-up is an advanced push-up variation.

If you cannot do at least 30 regular push-ups in a set and over 100 in several sets, do narrow push-ups and close-hand push-ups first.

This is how you will progress and gain the necessary strength for the diamond variation. Any recent arm injury is contraindicated with this exercise.

On the other hand, a few bodyweight exercises will help you build defined triceps like a diamond push-up, and that's why I don't agree with all those who say that the risk of injury outweighs the benefits.

Since it's challenging, you'll probably be able to do about 70% of the reps of a regular push-up.

Related Article - Benefits of Diamond Push Ups

How to do it:

  1. 1
    Put your hands under your chest (hands position is crucial for triceps activation)
  2. 2
    Index fingers and thumbs should touch in a diamond shape.
  3. 3
    Brace your core and straighten your arms to elevate your body.
  4. 4
    Lower your chest until they are 1 inch above your hands.
  5. 5
    Keep your spine straight.
  6. 6
    Pause for a moment.
  7. 7
    Push back up to the starting position.
Garage Gym Pro Tip: Again, you can start on your knees and slowly progress or take advantage of a stability ball/medicine ball for close grip push up.
Diamond Push Up

4. Triceps Extension

Target: Triceps brachii, biceps brachii, pectoralis major, core, deltoids

The cable, dumbbell, and barbell triceps extension are among the most popular gym tricep exercises.

Today we are interested in the bodyweight triceps extension, which, although it may look more accessible, is actually more demanding.

You will be most stable if you use the bar on the Smith machine, and you can take advantage of the kitchen table, park benches, the back of your sofa, or the even floor.

The last time I did a tricep extension push-up, I set my triceps on fire, so you can expect delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), especially the first few times.[2]

Related Article - 13 Best Lateral Head Tricep Exercises

How to do it:

  1. 1
    Stand an arm's length away (or further) from the object.
  2. 2
    Grab it with an overhand grip.
  3. 3
    Brace your core.
  4. 4
    Keep your toes on the ground.
  5. 5
    Hands should be slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  6. 6
    Lean forward and bend your elbows while keeping your legs straight.
  7. 7
    Prevent your elbows from spreading on the outside.
  8. 8
    Straighten your arms to return to the start.
Garage Gym Pro Tip: The technique is very similar when you do the exercise on the floor, only the range of motion is slightly shorter.
Bodyweight Triceps Extension

5. Iguana Push-Up

Target: Pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, deltoids, triceps brachii, serratus anterior, latissimus dorsi, core

I've always had the impression there is no consensus on precisely what the Iguana push-up is.

Many call the Iguana push-up an exercise that is quite similar to the Spider-man push-up and resembles the grasshopper push-up too.

At the same time, there is a different approach that involves exercises using dip bars or just a single bar from a pair.

In any case, this is a strenuous exercise that requires great triceps and core strength. Strengthening the wrists and grip is another benefit of the Iguana push-up.

I will explain how to perform the version of the Iguana push-up that is the most difficult since it requires above-average stability.

How to do it:

  1. 1
    Climb on a straight bar.
  2. 2
    Brace your core and squeeze your glutes.
  3. 3
    Put one of your hands in front of the other.
  4. 4
    Keep one leg on the bar (toes) and raise the other in the air.
  5. 5
    Perform push-ups.
  6. 6
     Swap legs and arms, then repeat.
Iguana Push-Up

6. Handstand Push-up

Target: Triceps brachii, deltoids, obliques, core, trapezius, latissimus dorsi, serratus anterior

It will be a bad idea to try the handstand push-up if you are a beginner. Getting into a handstand position is challenging, not to mention doing push-ups.

Comparing the handstand push-up (also called the vertical push-up) and the regular push-up, we find that the load on the triceps is almost 30% higher.

That speaks both in favor of how effective this great exercise is and how difficult it is.

If you have a background in gymnastics or sports like CrossFit, you may be familiar with the handstand position, and then this exercise will be easier for you.

See Related - 25 Best Bodyweight CrossFit Workouts

How to do it:

  1. 1
    Place your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. 2
    Palms should face forward or slightly outward.
  3. 3
    Get into a handstand position.
  4. 4
    Engage your core and glutes to prevent arching of the back.
  5. 5
    Bend your elbows to lower yourself until the top of your head touches the floor.
  6. 6
    Press back up to straighten your arms.
Garage Gym Pro Tip: If you think you have enough strength for a handstand push-up but lack balance, have someone assist you and hold your legs against the wall.
Handstand Push Ups

7. Side-Lying Push-Up

Target: Triceps brachii, deltoids, obliques, pectoralis major, biceps brachii

When doing the side-lying push-up, your body position won't be comfortable, but that's no reason to skip it. It hits all three distinct heads of the triceps.

Since excluding the shoulders and chest from this movement is impossible, they will also benefit, especially the anterior deltoids and the upper portion of the pectoralis major (clavicular head).

Don't be surprised if you experience sore obliques tomorrow - they are the stabilizers in this movement and therefore work hard during each rep.

How to do it:

  1. 1
    Lie on your side.
  2. 2
    Bend your knees.
  3. 3
    Wrap your arm on which you are lying around your waist.
  4. 4
    Place your other hand on the ground close to your body (fingers spread)
  5. 5
    Push your hand into the ground to raise your upper body while pressing your heels.
  6. 6
    When you straighten your arm totally, return to the floor.
Side-Lying Push-Up

8. Pike Push-up

Target: Deltoids, triceps brachii, pectoralis major, core

The starting position of the pike pushup is very similar to the Downward Dog position.

The pike push-up is one of the push-up variations where the pecs are not primary muscles, but the shoulders and triceps are.

The more you move in the upright position, the more you target the shoulders and the less the chest.

Pay attention to your shoulders, elbows, and wrists because if they are not strong enough, this can be too strenuous for them.

Over time, you will significantly improve your vertical pushing power.

Also Check Out - Best Push Up Bar Exercises

How to do it:

  1. 1
    Get in a standard pushup position.
  2. 2
    Walk your feet toward your hands until your body becomes an inverted V.
  3. 3
    Hands should be slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  4. 4
    Slowly lower the top of your head towards the ground by bending your elbows.
  5. 5
    Before your head touches the ground, push back up to return to an inverted V shape.
Garage Gym Pro Tip: If you have low blood pressure, avoid the pike push-up, or you will experience dizziness.
Pike Push-Ups

9. L-Sit

Target: Pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, deltoids, triceps brachii, biceps brachii, core, obliques, hip flexors, latissimus dorsi

L-sit is an advanced core and triceps exercise.

We've known for a long time that crunches and sit-ups are not supreme core exercises. On the flip side, the plank, L-sit, and other compound movements are best for a strong core.

Along with the core, the L-sit strengthens the triceps and the rest of the body, which translates to improved performance in many exercises.

If you can't immediately perform the L-sit properly, dips and hanging knee raises are some of the supplemental exercises you should start doing.

For the L-sit, you can use a dip station or EQualizers, but the floor is also sufficient.

How to do it:

  1. 1
    Place your palms flat on the floor next to your hips or set dip bars shoulder-width apart.
  2. 2
    Straighten your arms to lift your body and lock your elbows.
  3. 3
    Keep your legs straight out in front of you.
  4. 4
    Engage your core and squeeze your quads.
  5. 5
    Retract your shoulder blades for shoulder stability.
  6. 6
    Hold for as long as you can without compromising proper form.
L-Sit

10. Weighted Push-up

Target: Pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, deltoids, triceps brachii, serratus anterior, latissimus dorsi, core, trapezius

You may wonder why I include weighted push-ups among bodyweight triceps exercises when technically, it is not.[3]

However, I advise you to include it in your training because it is the best way to improve overall strength and, thus, the number of push-ups you can do.

Even if you are a seasoned calisthenics athlete, when you first add a weight plate to your back, you will feel DOMS in the following days as the muscle activation and load are different.

You will need a partner for this exercise.

Read Also - Calisthenics Body Vs Gym Body

How to do it:

  1. 1
    Start in a standard push-up position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. 2
    Your gym partner should load a weight plate onto your back.
  3. 3
    Lower your body straight to the ground in a controlled manner.
  4. 4
    Explosively push back up.
  5. 5
    The partner can remove the weight plate at the end, or you can throw it off yourself, but make sure it doesn't fall on your hand.
Weighted Push-Up

11. Plank-to-Pushup

Target: Triceps brachi, pectoralis major, biceps brachii, deltoids, core, obliques, glutes

The plank-to-pushup, plank-up, up-and-down plank, or whatever you call it... is a full-body exercise that can help you take both a push-up and plank to the next level.

Triceps, deltoids, chest, and core are the primary muscles in plank and push-ups, and so in this exercise, which is a combination of the two.

Still, apart from strengthening the primary muscles, plank-to-push-up has another major benefit.

You will activate the deep muscles that fuse with the vertebral column, which are the key to a healthy spine and proper posture.

In general, activating those muscles is not easy, so the significance of movements that can is huge.

How to do it:

  1. 1
    Begin in a standard plank position on your elbows.
  2. 2
     Engage your core to avoid arching your back.
  3. 3
     Rest your weight on your forearms and let your entire body form a straight line.
  4. 4
    Put one hand on the floor, followed by the other to reach the top position.
  5. 5
    Pause and return to plank.
Plank to Push-up

12. Tricep Dip

Target: Triceps brachii, pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, forearms, anterior deltoids, latissimus dorsi

Few tricep bodyweight exercises are as effective as dips for gaining muscle mass and strength. This pressing exercise improves shoulder mobility as well.

You will notice how quickly you develop upper body strength and size if you regularly do dips.

If you are wondering why I wrote "triceps dips," there is a difference between triceps and chest dips.

When you want to emphasize your triceps muscles, you should position more upright, while for targeting pecs, you need to lean forward.

If you don't have dip bars, you can use two chairs, but they must be sturdy and stable (and of the same height!). Otherwise, they can collapse under you.

How to do it:

  1. 1
    Stand between the bars and hold them firmly with both hands.
  2. 2
    Press into bars to lift your entire body.
  3. 3
    When your arms are straight, brace your core and keep your torso upright.
  4. 4
    Slowly lower your elbows ensuring they don't flare out.
  5. 5
    Push yourself back up until your arms are almost straight, but don't lock your elbows.
Garage Gym Pro Tip: Same as for push-ups, you can use weight plates to make dips harder. 
Hang a chain with plates around your waist and do dips but be careful not to injure your elbow, shoulder, or sternocostal joints.
Tricep-Dips

13. Triceps Bow

Target: Triceps brachii, anterior deltoids, pectoralis major

The triceps bow may remind you of the plank-up because the starting position is the same, but the triceps bow is much more challenging and focused on the triceps muscles.

The exercise is not for beginners. It is for intermediate and advanced exercisers.

Those who have suffered from golfer's elbow, tennis elbow, or had Tommy John surgery (ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction), must be especially careful because the triceps bow is taxing for ligaments and tendons.

A variation of this exercise is called the forearm-to-triceps extension push-up and involves lowering your chest to the floor instead of staying in a plank position.

How to do it:

  1. 1
    Start in a standard plank position on your elbows.
  2. 2
    Keep your feet together and your butt slightly raised for stability.
  3. 3
    Press through your palms to straighten your elbows.
  4. 4
    Slowly return to the ground and repeat.
Triceps Bow Exercise

14. Reverse Tricep Dip

Target: Triceps brachii, anterior deltoids, pectoralis major

When you get to the part of the workout where you want to do a few isolation exercises for the triceps, the reverse triceps dip should be one of them.

The range of movement in this exercise is such that all the focus is on the triceps, and the front delts and pecs act only as secondary muscles that help you perform it.

Doing a reverse triceps dip in a high-rep range would be best. Perform sets of at least 15 repetitions, and even better, 20+ to overload the muscle. 

How to do it:

  1. 1
    Lie on your stomach and extend your legs.
  2. 2
    Position your hands wider than shoulder-width apart, and let the tops of your feet lie on the ground.
  3. 3
    Bend your elbows.
  4. 4
    Slowly push your upper body up - when in the top position, your chest will be upright, your spine extended, and your elbows tucked in, while your legs should not change the position.
  5. 5
    Return to the starting position where your upper arms are parallel to the floor.
Reverse Triceps Dip

15. One-armed Triceps Dip

Target: Triceps brachii, anterior deltoids, pectoralis major, latissimus dorsi, core, levator scapulae, quadriceps

One-armed triceps dip is an advanced progression of the triceps dip exercise. You must have above-average upper body strength to be able to perform this exercise correctly.

Not only is triceps strength necessary, but also the chest, shoulders, lats, and even glutes and quads because the lower body is involved in the movement.

Try the one-armed triceps dip when you can do at least ten regular dips effortlessly.

When you reach the level where regular triceps dips are just a warm-up for weighted dips, it's the right time to try this exercise to increase your strength and muscle mass further.

How to do it:

  1. 1
    Use a bench or chair.
  2. 2
    Place your palms shoulder-width apart.
  3. 3
    Bend your knees at a 90-degree angle, feet on the ground.
  4. 4
    Straighten your left arm and right leg in front of you.
  5. 5
    Slowly lower your body, and the upper arm should remain parallel to the floor.
  6. 6
    Pause for a moment.
  7. 7
    Straighten your arm to get back to the starting position.
  8. 8
    After you finish the set, switch arms.
One-Armed Triceps Dip

16. Bench Dip

Target: Triceps brachii, pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, forearms, anterior deltoids, latissimus dorsi

A bench dip is a great alternative for doing dips at home. You don't have to buy a dip station. You just need a bench for this bodyweight exercise.

It is simple to perform, and the intensity and efficiency are excellent.

Feet-elevated bench dip is a way to increase the load. Elevated legs will help expose your triceps, chest, and shoulders to substantial effort.

The range of motion is greater as well, and I constantly repeat how important it is to do different exercises through full ROM, in most cases, to keep joints healthy.

How to do it:

  1. 1
    Place your hands on the bench and your heels on the floor.
  2. 2
    Legs should be straight.
  3. 3
    Extend your arms straight and keep only your palms on the bench.
  4. 4
    Lower your body until your elbows reach 90 degrees.
  5. 5
    Push through your palms to raise your body back to the starting position and do as many reps as possible.
Garage Gym Pro Tip: Similar to weighted push-ups, have someone help you and place weight plates on the quads once regular bench dips become too easy.
Bench Dip

17. Tricep Floor Dips

Target: Triceps brachii, pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, anterior deltoids, latissimus dorsi

When you contract a muscle at the top of the movement, you stimulate muscle growth and improve the mind-muscle connection.[4]

Those are the main advantages of the triceps floor dip compared to other dips. Do this exercise at the end of the workout.

Overall, this exercise is very good for preventing injuries in the gym or in sports that include swinging movements, such as tennis or baseball.

How to do it:

  1. 1
    Put your hands directly under the shoulders (shoulder-width apart).
  2. 2
    Arms should be straight, but do not lock your elbows completely.
  3. 3
    Extend your legs and keep your knees bent.
  4. 4
    Slowly bend your elbows to lower your upper body.
  5. 5
    Pause and push back up.
Garage Gym Pro Tip: Raise your butt as high as possible off the ground to increase the range of motion.
Tricep Floor Dips

18. Dip Hold

Target: Triceps brachii, pectoralis major, anterior deltoids

I always implement isometric exercises in the workout routine of my clients because they effectively strengthen connective tissue, reduce the risk of injuries, and improve coordination, balance, flexibility, and bone density, among other things.

The dip hold is an isometric exercise that should definitely be part of bodyweight triceps training.

Static holds, negative dips, and band-assisted dips are the ideal way for beginners to overcome a lack of strength and reach their first dip.

Obviously, adding weight will make the dip hold harder.

How to do it:

  1. 1
    Stand between the dip station and hold the bars firmly with both hands.
  2. 2
     Lift your body upwards until your arms are straight.
  3. 3
    Keep your elbows minimally bent to avoid locking them.
  4. 4
    Stay in that position until you start to swing.
Dip Hold

Triceps Muscles Anatomy

Triceps brachii in Latin means "three-headed muscle of the arm." The triceps is a large, thick muscle located on the back of the upper arm.

As the Latin name suggests, it has three heads - the medial, lateral, and long head. That actually means it has three points of origin.

The lateral head and medial head points of origin are on different parts of the humerus (arm bone), and the long head originates on the scapula (shoulder blade).

If we look in relation to the median plane of the body, the long head is closer to the body, the lateral head is farther, and both overlap the medial head.


Importance Of Triceps Strength In The Arms

The primary functions of this muscle are an extension of the forearm at the elbow and stabilization of the two joints between which it extends - elbow and shoulder.

This means that without triceps in everyday life, you would be unable to stretch out your arm and do most basic things where the triceps play a crucial role.

You would also be incapable of reaching out to the side, writing, pushing, pulling, or holding anything.

If your triceps are weak, other muscles and joints will compensate, ultimately leading to damage and injuries.


Why Bodyweight Workouts Are a Great Choice

Bodyweight workouts, in general, and not just bodyweight workouts for triceps, are a fantastic choice for most people and should be part of training even for gym-goers.

One of the main benefits of using just your own body weight is less risk of elbow joint and shoulder injury compared to barbells, dumbbells, and kettlebells.

Since you will hit many other muscles (almost the entire body) during training and not just the triceps, bodyweight exercises help kill two birds with one stone.

You can develop the core, shoulders, pecs, and back simultaneously, which is impossible when doing EZ bar skull crushers, for example.

Another benefit I have to mention is accessibility. You can do a complete workout at home without spending time and money on going to the gym.

Most of these movements require no equipment except for maybe an exercise mat.


Common Questions About Bodyweight Tricep Workouts

How do you hit all the tricep muscles?

To hit the triceps' medial, lateral, and long head, you must change the position of your upper arms and hands, as well as mix bodyweight exercises. If you fail to do so, progress will still be noticeable, but you will certainly not reach your maximum.

What exercise hits the outer tricep the best?

It's easier to train the outer tricep with weights, but dips, diamond push-ups, and extensions are equally effective bodyweight alternatives.

How do you target your triceps long head muscles?

Triceps long head muscles will be targeted with virtually every exercise I mentioned. Since it is in the middle (if we look from the back), it is equally well targeted by exercises for the lateral and medial head of the muscle.

How long does it take to tone flabby triceps?

If your triceps are flabby, there's a good chance the rest of your upper body isn't in any better shape, either. But it will take less time to tone flabby triceps than the chest. It is impossible to say with certainty how much time you will need to build triceps because many factors affect it, such as diet, training intensity, age, and rest.


Conclusion

Bodyweight triceps exercises are a powerful tool for building a strong tricep muscles and other upper body muscle groups.

You can count on bigger and stronger triceps, and your back, shoulders, and chest muscles will follow.

Bodyweight exercises also affect cardiovascular fitness, core resilience, and deep muscles around the spine.

These are obvious reasons you can base your triceps workout on dips, push-ups, and the other exercises I mentioned, and they can be complementary to gym training too.

References: 

1. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2724778
2. https://www.acsm.org/docs/default-source/files-for-resource-library/delayed-onset-muscle-soreness-(doms).pdf?sfvrsn=8f430e18_2
3. https://blog.nasm.org/nasm-guide-to-push-ups/form-and-technique
4. https://www.menshealth.com/fitness/a19526514/mind-muscle-connection/

Filip Maric

Last Updated on December 21, 2022