Isometric Tricep exercises: How-to, Benefits & Plan

Whether you want to regain, maximize or maintain triceps strength, you can try isometric tricep exercises.

Isometric exercises are a type of movement that involves contracting the muscles without changing their length (no eccentric and concentric movement).

They keep your muscles under constant tension for a set period of time without moving your muscle or joints.

Dip hold is a good example of an isometric triceps exercise where you keep your arms in an extended position for a set amount of time.

Isometric training is suitable for all fitness levels, especially for those who want to integrate a different kind of workout into their workout regime.

7 Best Isometric Tricep Exercises for Strength and Mobility

The tricep is the largest upper arm muscle that has three heads, the long, medial, and lateral heads. To bolster and sculpt these muscles, you need to perform various exercises, including the isometric workout.

You can do isometric triceps exercises using your own body weight or holding weights, depending on your goal.

In this article, I’ve shared various isometric exercises for triceps to help you build strength and grow muscles.

1. Triangle Push-up Hold

Exercise LevelEasy to Medium
GoalBuild Strength
EquipmentNone
How to do Isometric Tricep Exercises

The triangle pushup is an excellent exercise for strengthening and toning tricep muscles. It activates all three heads of the triceps, the long, lateral, and medial head – a study published by the American Council of Exercise (ACE) demonstrated.

The best thing about this exercise is that it requires no equipment; you can do it anywhere and anytime.

You can also do this exercise if you want to strengthen your abdominal muscle because it requires you to hold yourself into the high plank position.

How to do it:

  1. Get on all fours, place your hands in a triangle shape, extend your legs behind, and get into the up position of a pushup.
  2. Bending your elbows, lower your torso until your chest is close to the floor.
  3. Push back until your arms are entirely extended.
  4. Contracting your triceps, hold in this position for 5 to 10 seconds and then repeat.

Suggested reps and sets: 5 reps of 10 seconds hold x 3

2. Triceps Towel Stretch

Exercise LevelEasy
GoalRegain Strength
Equipment NeededTowel

If you want to do less stressful static hold exercises for the triceps, you can use a towel. The towel stretch helps increase triceps strength and mobility. It is most helpful for those who are recovering their arm’s strength.

It can also help treat triceps tendonitis (a painful condition caused by inflammation of the triceps tendon). However, whether you should do the tricep towel stretch or not depends on the situation of your triceps tendonitis. So it’s best to see a doctor before you do this exercise.

How to do it:

  1. Grab one end of the towel with your right hand and extend your arm directly over the shoulder.
  2. Bend your elbow, so your hand reaches behind your head, and the towel hangs downward.
  3. Reach behind the back with the left hand and grasp the opposite end of the towel.
  4. Keeping your right arm still, pull the towel down with your left hand so you can feel the contraction in your triceps.
  5. Hold in this position for up to 10 seconds.
  6. Once you have done it, switch your arm and repeat.

Suggested reps and sets: 5 reps of 10 seconds hold x 3 on each side.

Tips:

3. Tricep Dip Hold on Chair

Exercise LevelEasy
GoalStrengthen and Tone Muscle
EquipmentChair, Desk, Bench, or Table
Tricep Dip Hold

Bench dip static hold is another bodyweight that helps bolster and tone tricep muscles. It is simple and effective and suitable for people of all ages. You can do this exercise using a desk, chair, bench, or dining room table.

How to:

  1. Sit up tall on a chair, keep your arms straight at your sides and place your palms on the chair.
  2. Lift your butt off the floor, extend your legs in front of you with your heels on the ground and your toes pointing up.
  3. Lower your torso as close to the ground as possible and then extend your elbows until your arms are entirely straight.
  4. Squeezing your triceps, hold in this position for 8-10 seconds.

Suggested reps and sets: 5 reps of 10 seconds hold x 3

You may also like: 8 Best Ways To Do Dips At Home For Solid Triceps

4. Tricep Kickback Static Hold

Exercise LevelIntermediate
GoalStrengthen and Tone Muscle
EquipmentDumbbell
Standing dumbbell triceps exercises

If you want to challenge or boost your triceps strength, you can try tricep kickback static hold with the dumbbell.

Doing kickback hold after or during normal triceps exercises can help you build strength and muscles.

For example, if you do 10 reps of one set of dumbbell kickbacks, then perform the static hold after every 5 reps for 5 to 10 seconds. You can also do it between sets or after the workout.

How to:

  • Hold a baby dumbbell in your right hand with a neutral grip.
  • Slightly bend your torso, lean forward, and hold your right arm at your side.
  • Raise your elbow and keep it close to your body.
  • Extend your arm back until your tricep muscle is entirely engaged.
  • Contracting your triceps, pause for ten seconds.

Suggested reps and sets: 5 reps of 10 seconds hold x 3

Related: 9 Best Dumbbell Triceps Exercises For Toned Arms

5. Parallel Bar Dip Hold

Exercise LevelBeginner to Intermediate
GoalBolster Triceps Muscle
EquipmentBar Dip

The bar dip is an incredible upper body exercise that hits many muscles simultaneously, particularly the chest and triceps. It requires you to hold your entire body weight on a dip station.

Performing regular dips or the parallel bar can be challenging. However, a static dip can be done by anyone.

The static bar dip holds not only props your triceps but also improves your grip and increases your strength to perform the standard dips.

How to do it:

  • Grab the handle of the bar and lift yourself off the ground.
  • Bending your elbow lower yourself and then extend your arms.
  • Hold for 5 to 10 seconds and repeat.

Suggested reps and sets: 5 reps of 10 seconds hold x 3

6. Isometric Tricep Pushdown Hold

Exercise LevelBeginner
GoalStrengthen and Tone Muscle
EquipmentCable Pulley Machine

The tricep pushdown helps target all three heads of the tricep muscles: lateral head, medial head, and long head. You can also incorporate this movement with other isometric triceps exercises to build up overall arms strength

How to do it:

  • Anchor the rope to the higher section of the machine.
  • Grab the rope with a neutral grip, slightly lean forward and keep your elbows tucked in at your sides.
  • Push the rope down until your arms are fully extended.
  • Contracting your triceps, hold for ten seconds.

Suggested reps and sets: 5 reps of 10 seconds hold x 3

7. Isometric Dumbbell Triceps Extension

Dumbbell iso tricep extension works more on the long head and helps build sturdy upper arms. I’ve included this exercise in this list because doing the variations of overhead extension, pushdown, and dips can help you build defined triceps.

How to:

  • Grab a dumbbell firmly with your hands.
  • Extend your arms fully overhead to feel the contraction in your tricep muscles. Hold for 15 to 20 seconds without bending your elbows and then safely lower the dumbbell.

Repeat as many times as you like for the desired amount of time. You can do this hold both in the sitting and standing position.

Benefits of Isometric Triceps Exercises

  • Build Muscular Strength and Endurance: Isometric exercises may not be as effective as weight training for growing muscle mass, but they are effective enough for increasing muscular strength and endurance.
  • Improve Mind-Muscle Connection: The isometric exercises allow you to hold your arms in a static position for a set period of time so you can feel the deep muscle contraction. It helps focus on your muscles throughout the movement and improves mind-muscle connection.
  • Add variety to your workout routine: If you follow a split training program for muscle building, incorporating isometric exercises can be interesting and helpful.

How to Integrate Isometric Tricep Holds in a workout program?

Isometric triceps exercises can be done during or after regular strength training exercises. For example, if you decided to perform four tricep exercises, triangle pushups, bench dips, kickbacks, and pushdowns then you can perform one set of each isometric workout after each exercise.

To help you understand, I’ve created a workout routine below.

ExerciseRegular setsIsometric Hold
Triangle Pushup10 x 25 reps, 10-sec each
Bench dip12 x 25 reps, 10-sec each
Kickback8 x 2/side5 reps, 10-sec each/side
Pushdown12 x 25 reps, 10-sec each
Example of Including isometric exercises in a standard tricep routine

You can also perform isometric tricep exercises individually. Below is a sample of a workout routine.

  1. Triangle Push-up Isometric Hold
    • 3 sets of 5-15 seconds each.
  2. Chair Dips Hold
    • 3 sets of 5-15 seconds each.
  3. Dumbbell Kickback Tricep Hold
    • 3 sets of 5-15 seconds each.
  4. Isometric Dumbbell Triceps Extension Hold
    • 3 sets of 5-15 seconds each.
  5. Isometric Tricep Pushdown Hold
    • 3 sets of 15-20 seconds each

The Bottom Line

The tricep is the most significant muscle of the upper arm that has three heads, the long, medial, and lateral heads. To forge these muscles, you need to perform various exercises, including the isometric workout.

Doing the variation of overhead extension, pushdowns, dips, and pushups will help you strengthen each head of your muscles and build up sturdy arms.

You can incorporate the above isometric tricep exercises even in your normal muscle-building workout routine to build muscle strength and endurance.

You can do the static triceps exercises two to three times a week with 24 to 48 hours of between each training day.

Related Isometric Exercises:

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