How to Build Bigger Triceps?

Want big arms that fill in your shirt sleeve?

Build your triceps!

Tricep muscle constitutes two-thirds of the arm. 

But I came to the realization that most lifters have trouble growing their triceps, not because they don’t know how to train them.

But rather because of elbow problems! 

They pick a dumbbell or barbell and start doing the extension or skull crushers.

Elbow pain kicks in.

They lose motivation after a few sets and leave!

In this post, I’ll share with you some tips on how to overcome this problem and others in order to build thick tricep muscles.

7 Tips to Build Bigger Triceps

Here are 7 tips to grow your triceps.

Keep in mind, there is a common misconception that some tricep exercises isolate a particular head in the muscle. This is not really true. All the tricep heads work together.

However, there are certainly some exercises that slightly prioritize a certain head over others. 

For example, the push-down exercise is slightly biased towards targeting the lateral head, while dips are biased towards the long head. 


Have a Separate Arm Day.

This way you have more energy and mental focus to devote to your triceps. Start with Triceps if they are lagging. 

You could also include another tricep session after a chest or shoulders workout. 


Start with cable push down.

Ignore skull crushers and dumbbell extension for now. 

Whether you’re using the rope or the bar handle, do the full range of motion and focus on stretching the triceps as much as possible. 

When you come up with the cable make a 30-45 degrees angle with your elbows.

Do not come halfway up at 90 degrees or more elbow bent. Not enough stretch. 

Build Bigger Triceps _Push Down_WRONG

Correct Form. Stretch all the way up to reach 45 degrees or less. 


Minimize the Lat involvement when using the cable push down.

This is done by pushing the cable handle directly downward instead of dragging the weight backward with your lats.

Don’t drag the cable backward with your lats. Placing the elbows beyond your body’s level will shift the tension to the lat muscles. 

Build Bigger Triceps - Push Down Drage_WRONG

Correct Form. Push straight downward. Place your elbows in front of you. 

Build Bigger Triceps _Push Down Correct


Push down for as many sets as you can.

The idea here is to have as much blood flow into your triceps and elbow area as possible. So, do 5 or 6 sets of cable push down. Do 25 to 12 reps in each set. 

If possible incorporate 3 sets in one giant set as follows:

Set 1: rope push down with flared elbows and wide-angle. 

Immediately after,

Set 2: rope push down with narrow-angle and hands closer together. 

Then immediately after,

Set 3: rope reverse push down.

Do 15-12 reps each. This is one giant set. Do another 4!


Rope push down with flared elbows and wide-angle. 


Rope push down with narrow-angle and hands closer together. Notice his grip position at the top of the rope.

Build Bigger Triceps _ Narrow Push down


Rope reverse push down.

Build Bigger Triceps - extension push down


Incorporate Dips after the push down.

Now you have warmed up your triceps and elbows, it’s time for some heavy dips.

Do this on a dip machine, or a flat bench and upload weights on your legs. 

The key here is to not turn this into a chest dips. 

Place your elbows behind your body to the back, and don’t flare them outwards.

Perform half the range of motion, and don’t go all the way down to minimize chest involvement.

Alternatively, you can do a close-grip flat bench press. Lock your elbows at the top and don’t come all the way down (only 2/3rd) to minimize engagement of the pectoralis muscle.

Correct Form. Place your elbows behind your body’s level and don’t flare them outwards.

Build Bigger Triceps - Dips


Time for some extensions.

After a couple of exercises, much blood flow in the triceps, and warmed up elbows, it is now the time for some extensions. 

Triceps extensions are the best exercises for stretching the triceps. Use whatever you prefer: dumbbell, kettlebell, or barbell. 

If you are doing a lying extension (skull crushers), extend the dumbbell or barbell behind your head for a maximum stretch.

You could also perform the overhead extension with the cable using the rope handle. 

Correct Form. Place the dumbbells beyond the head level for a maximum tricep stretch.

Build bigger triceps - extension


Tricep Kick Backs Are kick ass.

Use a dumbbell or cable. This exercise is highly recommended for tricep long head development. 

Use pronated hands to hit the medial head, as well.

Use pronated hands to target the medial head of the triceps. Photo credit: Moez Aryan.

Build Bigger Tricep _ pronated grip kick backs

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