Last Updated on August 15, 2022 by TJ Daniels, Certified Personal Trainer
The triceps make up two-thirds of the upper arm, but they rarely get as much attention when it comes to direct arm work, which usually goes to the biceps and all curling variations. But that’s a discussion for another day.
Isolating the triceps helps with definition, size, and improves pressing technique and lockout strength. Here are some of the best exercises that use a barbell for growing triceps.
Benefits Of Using Barbells
A barbell is a heavy metal bar that can be loaded with weights. One thing to keep in mind when barbell training is that some barbells come in pre-set weights and are not adjustable.
Lifting heavier with a barbell promotes hypertrophy, or muscle growth, over time. It’s fantastic for progressive overload and muscle strength. Because you have two hands on a fixed object with a barbell, you can move more weight than with a dumbbell. This makes learning new exercises safer.
Lifting weights also increases bone density, which is important for preventing osteoporosis. This also alters your body composition, resulting in less fat and more muscle. Resistance training can lower your chances of developing diabetes and heart disease.
Barbell Exercises To Grow Triceps
Close Grip Bench Press
This is one of the compound triceps exercises that will help you gain mass.
People use various grip widths, but it’s usually done with your hands just outside the torso, wide enough to allow you to lower the barbell down to your torso. Due to this, the barbell tends to fall lower on our torso, altering the dynamics of the lift and emphasizing different muscles.
If triceps workouts are done with a barbell or other equipment, you can start with a close grip bench press.
- Lie on your back on a flat bench, feet flat on the ground.
- Hold a bar with hands that are not quite hip-width apart.
- Keep the bar just above your chest and your elbows as close to you as possible.
- Engage your abs, breathe in, and move the bar up to fully extend your elbows.
- Take a second to pause, then lower the bar back to the beginning.
- Perform two sets of eight to 10 reps.
You may not have heard of this exercise, but it is effective for triceps muscles. The barbell pushdown is a weightlifting exercise used to increase upper strength and really targets the triceps.
It is accomplished by keeping the elbows close to the shoulder, which aids in maintaining shoulder tension while pushing the barbell overhead. When you extend your arms downward after finishing the reverse curl, your triceps contract.
- Using an overhand grip, select a loaded bar.
- Stand shoulder-width apart and bend your elbows to bring the bar closer to your body.
- Holding the bar in a full curl position, extend your arms down, squeezing the triceps until they are straight.
- Bring the bar into the curl position and repeat for the desired number of reps.
When all of the bench presses are taken and there is a spare barbell, this exercise is an excellent alternative. The triceps are highly active in this variation because the floor press restricts the range of motion to only the lockout portion.
This is an excellent accessory move for strengthening the bench’s lockout position.
- Sit in front of a power rack with your legs extended or your feet on the ground.
- Extend your arms and approach the barbell.
- Grip the bar using your standard bench press grip.
- Lift the bar from the rack and slowly lower it until your upper arms touch the ground.
- Maintain a 45-degree angle with your elbows.
Barbell Skull Crushes
Skull crushers can be done with dumbbells, cable pulleys, or kettlebells, but the barbell version is considered the original. With the barbell variation, you’ll be able to load the most weight and really isolate the triceps.
Maintaining proper form throughout this exercise is critical to avoiding injury and making the most of each rep.
- Lie down and support the barbell with your hands in a bench-pressing position.
- Set up your back, hips, and hands as you would for a barbell bench press.
- Pull your elbows back so they point behind you.
- Unrack the barbell and lower it to your forehead or slightly behind your head.
- Feel the lats and triceps stretch as you extend your elbow to the lockout position.
- Reset and repeat
Single–Arm Landmine Press
Because the barbell restricts your joints’ range of motion, it can be taxing on your elbows and shoulders. While training the triceps intensely, the neutral grip, with a single-arm, and gripping the fat end of the barbell makes it less hard on your elbow and shoulder joints.
- Stand in front of the landmine with your feet hip-width apart, holding the end of the barbell.
- Place the barbell end just in front of your shoulder.
- Engage your core and lats and grip the barbell tightly.
- Then, at the end of the movement, press to lockout by extending the elbow and reaching forward.
- Lower back down slowly, and reset.
- Repeat with the opposite arm.
Barbell Triceps Kickback
Kickbacks are one of the most effective exercises for developing tricep muscles. Kickbacks with a barbell work all three heads of the triceps, focusing on the long head.
This is because, in addition to extending your elbows, you must also extend your shoulders when performing triceps kickbacks.
- Using an underhand grip, grab a bar and stand straight with your hands behind your glutes.
- Extend your hips back, bend your knees, and lean forward until your chest is almost parallel to the ground.
- Engage your abdominal muscles, hips, and glutes so you can concentrate solely on your arms.
- Keep your elbows tucked in and your upper arms parallel to the floor.
- Extend your elbows until your arms are parallel to the ground.
- Pause for a few seconds before bringing the bar back to the beginning.
Preventing Triceps Injury
Triceps muscle injuries are most commonly caused by a sudden force or stretch on the muscle. There is usually immediate pain, as well as a popping sound or sensation in the muscle.
This is not a common injury, but it can happen in weightlifters or sports that require rapid, forceful elbow extension.
Always stretch to a comfortable level without exceeding your limits. This will allow you to reap the most benefits while avoiding injury. It’s also important to warm up and loosen the muscles before stretching.
Stretching can be done alone or before or after physical activity. Avoid bouncing while stretching and keep it smooth and natural throughout your routine.
Stretching the triceps can help relieve pain and discomfort. However, you should avoid doing these stretches if you are in severe pain or have concerns about your bones or joints.
The triceps account for roughly 60% of the muscle mass in your arms, so if you want strong, toned arms, you’ll need to give the triceps the love and attention they deserve. Heavy barbell lifts are required for powerful arms that are as functional and attractive as they are strong.