5 Best Bodyweight Triceps Exercises

5 Best Bodyweight Triceps Exercises
Taking a break from the iron? You can still blast your triceps with these bodyweight moves that use minimal equipment. Perfect for travel and home gyms!

It’s no big surprise that bodyweight training has taken off. As a recent training trend, its popularity will continue to skyrocket. Bodyweight training is as convenient as it gets.

This practical style of training requires little-to-no equipment and is a mobile, real-world benchmark for developing strength and growing new muscle. Manipulating your bodyweight is one awesome skill.

Below are five highly effective, muscle-building triceps exercises requiring limited equipment. Try a few on for some new size and strength gains.

1. Modified Diamond Push Up

The ole fashioned diamond push up is one of those exercises that never seemed to go out of style. Traditionally performed with your hands placed close together and with your elbows by your sides, this move is half triceps builder and half dynamic plank. Requiring a strong and stable core, the diamond push up taxes more than just your arms. Done correctly, it will challenge stability and balance much more than any cable machine ever will.

5 Best Bodyweight Triceps Exercises - Diamond Push Ups

For those who suffer wrist strain from the traditional set-up, an alternative is available. Much like the hand placement for the close-grip bench press, start with your hands by your sides on the floor.

The key isn’t so much the width of your hands, but more emphasis should be focused on the angle of your elbows. Here’s the key: be sure your elbows are by your sides for the entire exercise. The more your elbows flare-out, the more you turn this exercise into one that focuses on your chest.

2. Bench Dip

With so many different machines available, you probably don't see many gym-goers performing any type of bodyweight dip exercise. The bench dip is a good start for those not accustomed to a full-fledged parallel bar dip. Grab the end of a bench with both hands behind you with a shoulder-width grip and your legs straight with your heels on the floor. As you gain strength, you can place your feet on a bench to increase the challenge.

Try an intensity regression on bench dips to really blast your triceps. Start with your feet placed higher than hip level and perform a set to muscular failure. Next, lower your feet on another bench height so your feet are now in line with your hips. Again, rep to failure. Finally, place your feet on the floor for one final set. Go through all levels for each set without rest. That will be one round.

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3. Parallel Bar Dip

Arguably the best triceps builder, the parallel bar dip is an effective muscle builder and strength move. Grasp the bars with a neutral grip. Keep your body in an upright position and with your arms by your sides, lower your body until you reach at least a 90 degree angle at your elbows. While you press back up, keep your arms by your sides and maintain that upright body posture.

The traditional straight set sequence is a solid go-to when performing dips. 4 or 5 sets of 10 to 15 reps is a good start. But let’s take on a challenge.

Try this if you are struggling with dips and want a quick and easy way to increase control and strength. Pick a number such as 50 and perform as many sets as it takes to reach 50. Once you are performing around 3 sets total, increase your goal number (try 75) and shoot to crank out around 3 or 4 sets before increasing again.

4. Rack Press

Lying triceps extensions are a great mass builder, but what if you suffer from elbow pain? This once perfect solution for upper arm growth is now a hindrance on progress. The rack press is a logical substitute enabling you to manipulate the angle and pressure on your joints – not to mention exposing your triceps to a brand new type of tension.

5 Best Bodyweight Triceps Exercises - Rack Press

Simply fix a bar in a squat rack or on a Smith machine to hip height and grasp it with an overhand grip. With your feet behind you and your body in a straight line, lower yourself by bending only at the elbows. It's like performing a lying triceps extension with the bar. Lower your head to the bar under complete control and then press back up while contracting your triceps hard.

5. TRX Extension

Okay, so not all of these options are without equipment, but a suspension trainer is far too effective not to include in this list. A versatile suspension trainer along with a few of these other bodyweight moves will round-out your triceps building program.

Standing away from the suspension straps with an overhand grip, lower your body into a plank posture with your arms slightly out in front of you. With your body forming a straight line, bend at your elbows and rotate your hands to a neutral position to the sides of your head. After an intense stretch in your triceps, reverse the motion and return to the starting position, forcefully contracting your triceps.

The Bodyweight Triceps Workout

Try this bodyweight triceps workout. Do 3 to 5 rounds total of as many reps as possible (AMRAP) with a 2 minute rest after each round.

Exercise Sets Reps
TRX Extension 3-5 AMRAP
Bench Dip or Parallel Bar Dip 3-5 AMRAP
Modified Push Up 3-5 AMRAP
Rack Press 3-5 AMRAP

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About The Author
Brad has a Master's degree in Kinesiology and is a strength and conditioning specialist, military veteran, and cancer survivor.

2 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Wed, 10/07/2015 - 03:36
Angelina

For an article about bodyweight only it mentions quite a lot equipment ;) Especially the parallel bars I would have to go to the gym to use. The other equipment/exercises I can easily imagine what else to use in the home. . But those bars are a bit tricky to swap with anything else in my humble home :D

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Posted Wed, 10/07/2015 - 14:46
BradBorland

Thanks, Angelina.