Without muscular and powerful triceps the round look of the arm is not complete. Even if you have well-built biceps but have flat triceps, your arms would look rather odd. Furthermore, strong triceps are needed for one to be able to perform exercises focused at building the pectorals and the deltoids. Therefore, if you want to have a good chest and powerful shoulders, you would need to pay due attention to the triceps along with the biceps. Here are some of the basic exercises for triceps. These are not muscle isolation exercises but are targeted at triceps for well-rounded growth of the arm.
Seated Overhead Triceps Extensions:
The exercise can be performed with a pair of dumbbells or a barbell. The movement of the arm remains the same; just that with dumbbells one does it one arm at a time whereas with a barbell both arms are used.
To begin, sit upright on the edge of a flat weight training bench. Get hold of a dumbbell and lift it over your head slowly by stretching your arm right up over your head. Lower the dumbbell down to your shoulder behind your head without moving your upper arms, which must remain straight up. Raise the dumbbell back up till your arm is fully extended over your head. Avoid locking your elbow joint when you stretch the arm straight so that the load is continuously on the muscles and at no point of time the strength of your bone or the elbow joint is summoned to support the weight.
If you are using a barbell, hold it at close grip behind your head and raise it over your head without moving your upper arms. Lower the barbell to its original position and take it back up by opening your arms straight up. Perform 8 to 12 repetitions for each hand.
Make sure that you do not swing the weight or sway your body to lift the weight up, as that may cause serious injury to your shoulder muscles or your back. Keep your back and your upper arms as stiff and as still as possible.
Flat Bench Triceps Dips
The exercise is excellent not only for the triceps but also for your outer pectorals. Take a flat weight training bench and pull up another training bench or a chair or a solid block of the same height or of slightly low height. Sit on the side edge of the bench and hold the edges at hips width with your feet placed on the other bench or block, move a little further so as to be able to lower your hips down towards the ground holding the bench with your palm. Go as far down as comfortably possible and then push yourself back up, and lower your hips again without sitting on the bench. Keep the weight constantly on your arms and shoulders and when you rise, hold yourself in that position for a second before lowering again. Make sure that your triceps, which form the back of your upper arm, are constantly tensed under the weight. If you do not feel the load in that region, you are most probably not doing it right.
Lying Dumbbell Triceps Extensions
The exercise is performed on a flat weight training bench. Lie straight on the bench and fold your legs at the knees with your heel resting on the end of the bench by the edge. You'll need to hold dumbbells in your hands before you lie on the bench if you have no training partner to hand them over to you. Do not try picking the dumbbells from the floor lying on the bench, for that can cause serious muscle injury.
Hold the dumbbells in each hand at shoulder width with the rod vertical to the ground and your shoulder and one end of the dumbbells' edges facing the front of your shoulders and the other facing right up.
Now, lift your upper arms up keeping them at shoulder width and at right angles to your torso and then straighten your lower arms lifting the weights right up with the upper arm held still. When your arm is completely stretched forth, hold it for a moment and feel the load on your triceps before bringing the dumbbells to their original position. Use both hands simultaneously and avoid swaying. In case your hand sways sideways, reduce the weight and try again. Perform 8 to 12 repetitions.
Triceps Dumbbell Kick Backs
The exercise requires a greater control of the body but is excellent for all three head of the triceps and works well to bring about intense peak contraction.
You would need a dumbbell and a flat bench. Stand by side of the bench near the edge, take hold of the dumbbell in one and place the palm of the other hand on the bench and tilt forward. You would be bent over on the bench with your torso almost parallel to the ground. Tuck your upper arm close to the sides of your torso and draw your elbow further back with the dumbbell held firmly. Now, straighten your arm without moving your upper arm lifting the dumbbell straight behind your back. When your hand is fully stretched, hold it in the same position for a second or two before bringing it back to its original position and then straighten it again. Perform the exercise slowly and keep the movement of the dumbbell controlled. Also make sure that you use only as much weight as you can comfortably handle because if you use excess weight you might end up injuring your triceps.
Close Grip Triceps Bench Press
This is simply a variation of bench press on flat bench. Everything remains exactly the same as in a normal bench press, just that you hold the bar with your hands very close to each other. This puts a good deal of load on your triceps. The grip can be as close as you can comfortably handle the weight with. Do not hold it so close as to bend your hands at the wrists because then you would be transferring some of the load on wrist muscles and they are not as strong as your triceps. So, you might end up injuring your wrists. Also, do not try the exercise with as much weight as you use during your normal bench press because you are primarily using your triceps and are taking as little help as possible from the deltoids and the pectorals. 8 to 12 repetitions in two sets are more than enough.
Note: This is not a piece of authoritative medical or professional opinion or advice. Exercise of individual discretion is strongly recommended.