11 Best Tricep Compound Exercises For Massive Arms

If you’re eager to build bigger, stronger triceps and get those arms looking their best, then incorporating compound exercises into your tricep workouts is a must.

But why are compound exercises for triceps such a big deal? Well, it’s because they’re like the superheroes of tricep training.

To truly strengthen your triceps and target all three heads effectively, you’ll want to focus on tricep compound exercises. These exercises are your secret weapon in the quest for impressive triceps.

If you’re on a mission to sculpt your arms into something truly remarkable, we strongly recommend adding compound tricep exercises to your fitness routine.

In this article, we’ll cover the following key topics:

  • Triceps Anatomy: Know the different parts of your triceps muscle.
  • Powerful Tricep Workouts: Discover effective exercises that give real results.
  • Tips for Better Training: Expert advice to make your tricep workouts more effective.
  • Customized Workout Plans: Design your workouts to reach your own fitness goals.
  • Including Tricep Exercises in Your Routine: How to easily add tricep workouts.
  • Tricep Training FAQs: Answers to common questions about working out your triceps.

Anatomy and Function of Triceps Brachii

The triceps brachii, commonly referred to as the triceps, is a three-headed muscle located on the posterior side of the upper arm.

It consists of the long head, lateral head, and medial head.

The long head originates from the scapula’s infraglenoid tubercle, while both the lateral and medial heads originate from the humerus.

All three heads converge to form a single tendon that attaches to the olecranon process of the ulna.

The primary function of the triceps is to extend (straighten) the elbow joint. When activated, it produces force that opposes flexion initiated by muscles like biceps brachii or brachialis.

Additionally, it contributes to some degree of shoulder extension due to its attachment on the scapula.

This muscle group also plays a crucial role in stabilizing and supporting movements involving pushing or pressing motions such as bench presses or overhead presses.

Tricep Anatomy

Role of Triceps in Arm Extension and Stability

The triceps are responsible for extending our arms against resistance or during bodyweight movements like push-ups or dips.

During exercises like bench pressing or overhead pressing, they work synergistically with other muscles such as pectoralis major and deltoids to produce forceful extension at the elbow joint.

This coordinated effort provides power for actions like throwing, pushing objects away from us, or performing any movement where arm extension is required.

Moreover, apart from their pivotal role in arm extension, strong tricep muscles contribute significantly to overall arm stability.

They counteract excessive flexion forces generated by antagonistic muscles during various daily activities and workouts involving lifting weights or performing repetitive arm movements like typing or playing sports.

Their role in arm extension and stability cannot be overstated, as they contribute not only to impressive physique but also to efficient movements during various activities.

Best Tricep Compound Exercises For Bigger Arms

1. Tricep Dips On a Parallel Bar:

Parallel bar triceps dips are a potent compound exercise for upper body strength and tricep development.

They are essential for serious strength training and bodybuilding due to their simplicity and effectiveness.

How to Perform Parallel Bar Triceps Dip:

How To Do Parallel Bar Dips

  1. Grasp the dip bars with arms fully extended.
  2. Maintain an upright body position to focus on the triceps.
  3. Lower your body until upper arms are parallel to the floor.
  4. Push forcefully to return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for desired reps with proper form.


  • Don’t lock out elbows at the top to keep tension on triceps.
  • Maintain controlled breathing; inhale down, exhale up.
  • Keep an upright posture with elbows close to the torso for maximum tricep activation.

2. Reverse Grip Bench Press:

The reverse grip press is a unique variation of the bench press that targets the triceps and upper chest while being shoulder-friendly.

How to Perform Reverse Grip Press:

How to do Barbell Reverse Close grip Bench Press

  1. Lie on a bench with feet on the floor.
  2. Use an overhand grip with hands shoulder-width apart.
  3. Lower the barbell to the lower chest with elbows close to your sides.
  4. Press the barbell back up with determination.


3. Close Grip Bench Press:

The close grip bench press is a variation of the traditional bench press that involves placing your hands closer together on the barbell, typically inside shoulder width.

This seemingly small adjustment in hand placement has a profound impact on which muscle groups are primarily engaged during the exercise.

How To Do Narrow Grip Bench Presses:

Women Doing Barbell Close Grip Bench Press

  1. Lie on a bench with feet flat, ensuring back stability.
  2. Grip the barbell closer than shoulder width.
  3. Lower the barbell to your chest with control.
  4. Pause briefly.
  5. Press the barbell back up, engaging triceps and central chest.


  • Maintain proper hand placement for stability.
  • Keep a firm, balanced grip.
  • Lower the bar under control to engage muscles effectively.
  • Keep elbows close to maximize tricep activation.

4. Incline Barbell Bench Press:

The incline bench press is an essential chest exercise. It involves lying on an inclined bench (usually 30-45 degrees) and lifting a barbell. This exercise targets the upper chest and contributes to overall chest development.

How To Do Incline Barbell Press:

Man Doing Barbell Incline Bench Press

  1. Set up an incline bench (30-45 degrees).
  2. Lie on the bench with feet grounded.
  3. Grip the barbell just outside shoulder width.
  4. Lower the barbell to your sternum.
  5. Drive it back up with control.


  • Opt for a grip just outside shoulder width.
  • Arch your lower back for proper form.
  • Exhale while pushing the barbell.
  • Focus on the mind-muscle connection for effective results.

5. Diamond push up

Diamond push-ups are a type of push-up exercise that targets your triceps, chest, and shoulders. They are a bit more challenging than regular push-ups and are sometimes called triangular or tricep push-ups because of the hand positioning.

How To Diamond Push-Up properly:

How To Do Diamond Push ups


  1. Begin in a high plank position, with hands under shoulders and feet hip-width apart.
  2. Form a diamond with your hands by bringing forefingers and thumbs together under your chest.
  3. Keep your body straight, engage thighs and glutes.
  4. Lower your chest while keeping your elbows pointing back.
  5. Pause when the chest is parallel to the ground.
  6. Push up to the starting position.


  • Start on your knees for a modified easy variation.
  • Maintain a steady pace.
  • Inhale down, exhale up.
  • Progress gradually with more reps or variations.

6. Dumbbell Hex Press

Now, here is an important compound tricep exercise with dumbbells that most people are not doing.

The hex press is a variation of the dumbbell bench press that works your triceps, anterior and lateral deltoid muscles, and pecs.

What makes it different is that you use hex-shaped dumbbells, and these dumbbells stay in contact with each other throughout the exercise.

Here’s how to do it:

How To Do Dumbbell Hex Press

  1. Begin by lying flat on a bench with a straight back. Hold hex-shaped dumbbells with a neutral grip, palms facing each other, touching on your chest.
  2. While on the bench, bring the dumbbells together, ensuring they remain in contact throughout the exercise.
  3. Keep the dumbbells in contact as you horizontally lift them from chest to shoulders, mimicking a regular dumbbell bench press.
  4. Reverse the motion, lowering the dumbbells back to your chest while maintaining contact. This completes one repetition.
  5. Perform the desired number of repetitions in your set.

Helpful tips for hex presses:

  • Maintain a flat bench, and engage your core for stability.
  • Keep them in contact throughout for the exercise’s uniqueness.
  • Start with a manageable weight and progress gradually.

7. Ring Dips

Ring dips are a challenging upper-body exercise that targets your arms and shoulders. They require the use of gymnastic rings.

How to Do Ring Dip:

How To Do Ring Dips

  1. Hang the rings from an overhead support (e.g., pull-up bar or sturdy beam) at your preferred height.
  2. Stand between the rings, holding one in each hand. Arms should be fully extended, rings at your sides. Knees can be straight or bent, and feet can be behind you.
  3. Bend your elbows, keeping them close to your sides. Lower your body toward the ground. Your chest slightly moves forward as you descend.
  4. Continue lowering until your elbows form a 90-degree angle. Upper arms parallel to the ground, thighs nearly horizontal.
  5. Straighten your arms to push back up. This is the lifting phase.
  6. Aim for 10 to 12 repetitions.


  • Maintain control throughout the full range. Avoid swinging or jerking movements.
  • Engage your core, squeeze your glutes, and keep your legs together for stability on the rings.
  • Ensure a secure grip on the rings. Adjust grip width for comfort.

8. Close Grip Dumbbell Press

The close-grip dumbbell press is a variation of the dumbbell bench press that specifically targets the triceps muscles while also engaging the chest.

It’s an excellent compound exercise with dumbbells for building strength and size in the triceps.

How To Do Close-Grip Dumbbell Presses:

How To Perform Dumbbell Close Grip Press

  1. Lie on a flat bench with your back against it. Hold dumbbells at chest level with a neutral grip (palms facing each other), keeping your elbows bent.
  2. Push the dumbbells upward and away from your chest until your arms fully extend. This is the lifting phase.
  3. At the top, flex your triceps for a second to engage them effectively.
  4. Slowly and under control, lower the dumbbells toward your chest. This is the lowering phase.
  5. Perform the desired number of repetitions and sets.


  • Maintain a grip slightly narrower than shoulder-width, extreme closeness can strain wrists and may not target triceps effectively.
  • If new or lifting heavy weights, consider a spotter, especially for challenging sets.
  • Inhale as you lower the dumbbells to your chest, exhale when pushing them upward. Proper breathing aids control and stability.

9. Barbell Skullcrushers

Barbell Skullcrushers are a weightlifting exercise that primarily targets the long head of your triceps, which can be challenging to develop. They are effective for building triceps strength and size.

How to Do Barbell Skull Crusher:

How To Do Barbell Skull Crushers

  1. Lie flat on a bench, feet on the ground. Hold a barbell with an overhand grip, hands shoulder-width apart, fully extending your arms directly above your chest.
  2. Bend your elbows, slowly lowering the barbell toward your forehead. Keep upper arms still. The barbell should stop a couple of inches away from your forehead.
  3. Near your forehead, pause briefly, then push the barbell back up by extending your arms. Squeeze your triceps at the top to engage them fully.
  4. Perform the desired number of repetitions.


  • Maintain a stable, flat back on the bench. Keep elbows fixed, pointing toward the ceiling, isolating the triceps.
  • Concentrate on feeling the triceps’ stretch and contraction throughout the movement to ensure proper targeting.

Effective Compound Tricep Workouts and Routines:

  1. Functional Warm-Up: Prioritize mobility exercises and dynamic stretches to prepare your triceps and shoulders for compound movements.
  2. Mind-Muscle Connection: Focus on feeling the triceps engage during each exercise to maximize muscle activation.
  3. Proper Form: Maintain strict form throughout your workouts to prevent injury and target the triceps effectively.
  4. Recovery and Nutrition: Ensure you get enough rest between workouts, stay hydrated, and fuel your body with balanced nutrition for optimal muscle growth and recovery.
  5. Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to signs of fatigue or overtraining, and adjust your workouts accordingly.

Sample Tricep Compound Workout Routines:

  1. Strength and Power Routine:
    • Close Grip Bench Press: 4 sets of 5-7 reps (Heavy Load)
    • Tricep Dips with Weight: 3 sets of 6-8 reps (Moderate to Heavy Load)
    • Skull Crushers: 3 sets of 6-8 reps (Heavy Load)
    • Diamond Push-Ups: 3 sets of 8-10 reps (Bodyweight)
  2. Hypertrophy and Definition Routine:
    • Tricep Pushdown with Rope Attachment: 4 sets of 10-12 reps (Moderate Load)
    • JM Press: 3 sets of 8-10 reps (Moderate Load)
    • Single-Arm Dumbbell Tricep Extension: 3 sets of 10-12 reps (Moderate Load)
    • Incline Push-Ups: 3 sets of 12-15 reps (Bodyweight)
  3. Functional Tricep Workout:
    • Compound Movements Circuit (3 rounds):
      • Push-Ups: 12 reps
      • Bench Dips: 12 reps
      • Close Grip Push-Ups: 12 reps
  4. Advanced Tricep Superset Routine:
    • Superset 1:
      • Weighted Tricep Dips: 4 sets of 8-10 reps (Heavy Load)
      • Overhead Tricep Extension with EZ Curl Bar: 4 sets of 8-10 reps (Moderate Load)
    • Superset 2:
      • Tricep Kickbacks: 3 sets of 12-15 reps (Light Load)
      • Close Grip Push-Ups: 3 sets of 12-15 reps (Bodyweight)]


What is a tricep compound exercise?

A tricep compound exercise involves movements that engage multiple muscle groups, including the triceps. Examples include close grip bench press, dips, and push-ups, which work the triceps along with other supporting muscles.

Can you build triceps with compound exercises?

Yes, compound exercises can help build triceps. They recruit more muscle fibers, leading to greater muscle growth. Compound movements like bench presses and dips can be effective for developing strong triceps.

What tricep exercise hits all 3 heads?

The tricep exercise that targets all three tricep heads is the close grip bench press. It engages the long, lateral, and medial heads of the triceps, providing comprehensive development.

What is the best combination with triceps exercises?

The best combination with triceps exercises often includes chest and shoulder workouts since these muscle groups are closely related. Incorporating bench presses, overhead presses, and push-ups into your routine can provide a balanced upper body workout.

Wrap Up:

Tricep compound exercises are a valuable addition to any fitness routine for those seeking bigger and stronger triceps.

These exercises offer several benefits, including targeted muscle development and an improved physique.

Incorporating these compound exercises into your training routine can yield significant results, but consistency is crucial.

Hassane Sghir
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