The Only 5 Calisthenics Triceps Exercises You Need to Build Muscle

If you want to isolate your three-headed muscles with minimal to no equipment, try these five most effective calisthenics triceps exercises: sphinx push-ups, triangle push-ups, bodyweight tricep extensions, bench dips, and verticle bar dips.

These exercises target your long, lateral, and medial heads from all angles and help build strong, sculpted, toned triceps.

Strong triceps help you do better during various push exercises, including push-ups, bench presses, and dips, and make your arms look sturdy and defined.

Let’s explore each exercise in detail and how you can include them in your workout regime.

5 Best Calisthenics Triceps Exercises to Sculpt Your Arms

1. Triceps Push-up

It is also known as the sphinx push-up. It primarily isolates the triceps brachii and helps develop muscular and toned upper arms.

About Exercise

  • Target Muscles: Triceps and Abdominals
  • Equipment Needed: None
  • Mechanics: Isolation
  • Difficulty: Intermediate

Exercise Benefits

  • Hammers the three-headed upper arm muscles.
  • Engages midsection and builds up endurance.
  • Increase wrist mobility and bolster forearms.

Steps to do it

  1. Get into a high plank with your core tight, arms straight, and hands beneath your shoulders.
  2. Maintain a straight spine with your back, hips, and glutes in a straight line. That’s the start.
  3. Lower your forearms until they are grounded and elbow below your shoulders.
  4. Engaging your triceps muscles, extend your elbows until your arms are straight.
  5. Feel the contraction for a few seconds, then go for the next reps.

Tips and Mistakes

  • Ensure your elbows are close to the body and pointing backward so your triceps can be fully activated.
  • Keep your head down, abs tight, and hips engaged throughout the movement.
  • Perform three to four sets of 10-15 reps. Use a vest to increase tension on your triceps.

2. Triangle Push-up

Triangle Push-up

The triangle push-up, also known as the diamond push-up, requires placing your hands in a way that forms a triangle shape. This hand placement puts greater emphasis on your rear upper arm and helps forge triceps muscles.1 Kim, Y. S., Kim, D. Y., & Ha, M. S. (2016). Effect of the push-up exercise at different palmar widths on muscle activities. Journal of Physical Therapy Science, 28(2), 446–449. https://doi.org/10.1589/jpts.28.446

About Exercise

  • Target Muscles: Triceps and Pectorals
  • Equipment Needed: None
  • Mechanics: Compound
  • Difficulty: Intermediate

Exercise Benefits

  1. Activates the long, medial, and lateral all three heads effectively.2 ACE Finds The Best Triceps Exercises – By Brittany Boehler, B.S., John P. Porcari, Ph.D., Dennis Kline, M.S., C. Russell Hendrix, Ph.D., and Carl Foster, Ph.D., with Mark Anders (American Council of Exercises)
  2. Squeezes the pectoral muscle and improves chest muscularity.
  3. It maximizes pushing strength and enhances your bench and dips.

Steps to do it

  1. Position your hands under your chest with your thumbs and index fingers forming a triangle shape.
  2. Lift your knees off the ground, keep your feet together, and straighten your elbows.
  3. Brace your abdominal muscles and maintain a neutral spine. That’s the start.
  4. Lower your chest as close to the ground as possible, then extend your elbows using your triceps strength until your arms are straight. That’s one rep.

Tips and Mistakes

  • Keep your elbows as close to the body as possible for maximum contraction.
  • Perform each rep deliberately, feeling the works in your three-headed muscles.
  • Aim for three sets of at least 10 reps each. I also recommend using weight if you want to stimulate more muscle growth.

3. Bodyweight Triceps Extension

The bodyweight elbow extension helps sculpt triceps muscle and build burly arms. It requires minimal equipment, such as a bench, chair, or sturdy elevated platform where you can hold your hands and perform the extension.

About Exercise

  • Target Muscles: Triceps
  • Equipment Needed: Bench/Dip Stand/Elevated Object
  • Mechanics: Isolation
  • Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate

Exercise Benefits

  • It highly engages the long and lateral heads of the tricep brachii.
  • The exercise position also works the abs and anterior deltoids, making it an effective upper-body exercise.
  • It also helps beginners increase strength for compound push exercises like dips and push-ups.

Steps to do it

  1. Place your hands (shoulder-width apart) on a bench or chair and walk your feet behind until your body is in an elevated position (assume a starting point of an incline push-up).
  2. Lower your body by bending your elbows until your arms form a 90-degree angle.
  3. Engaging your triceps muscles, extend your elbows until your arms are straight.
  4. Return to the start and do as many times as needed.

Tips and Mistakes

  • I recommend using a sturdy platform that can support your body weight to perform this movement.
  • Do not let your elbows point out, as it can minimize triceps engagement during the extension.
  • Keep your core, hips, and glute tight, and maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement.
  • I also suggest lowering your head to a limited height; dipping it much lower can cause shoulder pain.

4. Bench Dips

Calisthenics Triceps Workout

The bench dip is one of the popular exercises that not only calisthenics athletes but also bodybuilders, powerlifters, and typical fitness enthusiasts constantly perform to bolster their triceps muscles.

About Exercise

  • Target Muscles: Triceps
  • Equipment Needed: Bench/Chair/Sofa/Box
  • Mechanics: Isolation
  • Difficulty: Beginner

Exercise Benefits

Steps to do it

  1. Sit on the chair with your arms straight at your sides and hands properly placed on the bench.
  2. Lift your butt off the chair and walk your feet out while keeping your arms straight on the chair.
  3. Bending your elbows, dip your glutes until your elbows and shoulders are in a straight line.
  4. Press through your hands and extend your elbows until your triceps are fully engaged.

Tips and Mistakes

  • Keep your hands beside your hips with palms down.
  • Hold your abdominal muscles tight and your spine neutral.
  • Aim for three to four sets of 15 to 20 reps.

5. Vertical Bar Dips

Calisthenic Tricep Exercises

The bar dip is a compound movement that involves lifting your body by pressing through your arms. It works several muscles, particularly the triceps, chest, shoulder, and abs, and helps build an athletic torso.

About Exercise

  • Target Muscles: Triceps, Front Delt, and Chest
  • Equipment Needed: Dip Stand
  • Mechanics: Multi-joint Exercise
  • Difficulty: Intermediate

Exercise Benefits

  • Besides the triceps, it also hit the chest, abs, and anterior delts.
  • It improves wrist mobility and grip strength.
  • It also helps you scale up for advanced calisthenics exercises, such as handstand push-ups and muscle-ups

Steps to do it

  1. Grasp the bar and hoist yourself up with your arms and torso straight.
  2. Brace your core and curl your legs slightly. That’s the start.
  3. Inhale and lower your body until your mobility allows.
  4. Using your hands, extend your elbows until your arms are entirely straight, and exhale. That’s one rep.

Tips and Mistakes

  • Try to keep your torso upright to feel more contraction in the back of your arms.
  • Hold your core tight during the ascent and descent for better muscle activation.
  • I also recommend adding some negative reps to utilize the benefits of time-under tension. A negative rep involves lowering your torso slowly and deliberately until your upper arms are parallel to the ground.

Wrapping It Up

Triceps heads are engaged in various calisthenics push movements, such as push-ups, dips, handstand walks, pseudo planche, and bear crawl. However, if you want to isolate your three-headed upper arm muscles effectively, I recommend performing the exercises (bodyweight triceps extension, triangle push-up, sphinx push-up, bench dip, and vertical dip) I’ve outlined above.

These exercises hammer your long, lateral, and medial heads from all angles and help build sturdy, sculpted, and toned triceps

I’ve also designed a 30-minute calisthenics triceps workout for those who want an organized routine.

  • Sphinx Push-up: 3 sets x 10 reps
  • Triangle Push-up: 2 sets x 15 reps
  • BW Triceps Extension: 3 sets x 15 reps
  • Bench Dips: 2 sets x 20 reps
  • Vertical Dips: 3 sets x 10 reps
  • Keep the rest time between sets as short as possible.

I hope you find this article useful. If you have any questions regarding this article, let me know in the comment section.

References

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Author
Murshid Akram
I'm an online personal trainer, fitness blogger, and fitness enthusiast. I love researching and writing about exercise and nutrition. I share science-based, practical, and logical information that can help you achieve your desired fitness goal.
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