Small yet mighty, the triceps are one of the best muscle groups to focus on when it comes to toning your upper arms. When it comes to strong arms, most people think of biceps exercises first – creating that big lump you see when someone flexes with their elbows bent. But it’s the back of your arms that really look amazing when they are toned, and strength training with a triceps workout is the way to get that definition!
I believe so much in encouraging women to develop the strength in their triceps that I created this workout of triceps exercises without weights to help you begin your journey to beautifully toned arms.
Block out 15 minutes of your day and throw on your most motivational playlist, because this entire circuit will help you get stronger triceps, get rid of that arm jiggle, and be as strong as a mother.
Ready to learn all about my favorite tricep exercises without weights? Keep reading…
Why Workout Your Triceps?
The triceps muscles are one of the most important parts to workout for the upper body. Not only does it consist of three separate muscle groups (hence the “tri-” in triceps), but it supports the shoulders and biceps. Just as the biceps muscles work to bend your elbow joint, the triceps muscles work in the opposite direction to straighten your arms.
Another reason to focus on tricep development is to help with your arm definition. Unaffectionately known as ‘bat wings’ or simply ‘the arm flap’, triceps exercise can help firm up your muscles and reduce the arm fat that causes jiggling arms.
If you dislike flabby arms (like we all do), then check out these workouts to help tone your arms and develop strength in the upper body.
However – you have to know that can’t spot reduce fat!! Your body loses fat all over. What you can do is exercise your body to get stronger muscles that will help to create definition and improve your physique.
How to Use this Guide
When looking over these tricep exercises without weights, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Use a yoga mat or a towel when laying on the ground. It will help you stay comfortable when doing different exercises on the floor.
- Grab a water bottle. Hydration is essential for any workout, especially muscle development.
- After this workout, remember to stretch! Think of it as a way to thank your muscles for all of their hard work. You can find my favorite stretches here.
- Not sure how a move should look? Check out this video I made of the triceps exercises featured in this guide!
Here’s how to implement this guide for a successful workout:
For beginners: do 10 reps of each move with 30-60 seconds of rest between each workout.
For intermediate to advanced: do 10 reps of each move for 3 sets with a 30 second rest between each workout.
The Best Tricep Exercises Without Weights
These body weight workouts can be done in the comfort of your living room, in the gym, or in the park while your kids burn off their own energy.
1. Triceps Pushups
While pushups aren’t necessarily anyone’s favorite exercise, they are so effective that you will love the result – I promise! You’ll definitely develop strong tricep muscles with these.
Tricep pushups begin in a high plank position with your hands placed directly under your shoulders. Unlike the standard push-up, your elbows do not point out to the side as you lower your body. As you begin to bend your elbows and lower your body to the floor, focus on keeping your elbows in (pointing toward your feet) and close to the ribcage.
Continue to lower your body until your elbows are at a 90 degree angle then press through your palms to raise your body back to the original starting position.
Modifications and variations:
- Start on your knees to put less weight on your triceps. This is a great option if you don’t have enough core strength or arm strength to do them on your toes.
- If pushups on your knees aren’t challenging enough, go onto your toes but spread your legs a little so that your feet are shoulder width apart. That will put less pressure on your core so that you can perform the exercise more effectively.
- Try performing the tricep pushup at an incline for less of a challenge. Get into the push-up position with your hands on the kitchen counter, on a chair, or even a small step.
- Another challenging variation is diamond push-ups – performed by putting the palms of your hands in a diamond shape under your chest!
Any of these triceps push-up variations are still a great way to work your triceps – as well as your entire body!
2. Tricep Dips
Tricep dips are one of those great upper body exercises that really work the triceps, but they also incorporate your chest and shoulder muscles as well.
To do a bench dip, sit on the edge of a stable surface like a bench, box, or chair with your hands on the edge, fingers forward and your feet firmly planted in front of you.
Roll your shoulders back so that your chest is proud and your back is flat (this will help prevent shoulder injury) and remember to keep your shoulders down and away from your ears.
With your weight your hands, scoot your bottom forward and off the edge of your bench and begin to lower your body down with your elbows bending directly behind you to a 90-degree angle. Then, pressing into your palms, press your body back up to the start position.
Things to keep in mind:
- Keep your lower back as close to the bench or box as possible while moving your body directly up and down. Your shoulders should stay directly over your hips throughout the movement.
- Posture is extremely important for tricep dips. If you need more help with proper form, check out my video above for a demonstration.
Triceps dip variations:
- To increase this move’s intensity, move your feet farther away from the structure.
- To decrease this move’s intensity, remain seated on the ground and reduce your range of motion. Bend your elbows behind you as you lean back, then press through your hands to return to start.
3. Pike Pushups
This pushup variation is a great exercise that works so much more than simply your triceps. With a pike pushup, you will feel it in your core, shoulders, upper back, and of course your triceps – who wouldn’t love this move with all of that?!
Begin this exercise by laying out your yoga mat and getting into the downward dog position. Place hands shoulder-width apart with your hips in the air and your feet hip-width apart.
Focus on placing your bodyweight in your feet and in the palms of your hands. Bend elbows out to the side like a traditional push up, then return by straightening your elbows to the original position.
This exercise is pretty advanced and there isn’t much of a modification to make it easier. If this move is too difficult or awkward for you, feel free to skip it! There are plenty of other upper-body exercises here to take its place.
4. Overhead Triceps Extensions with Towel
You may be familiar with the overhead triceps extension or triceps kickbacks using a set of dumbbells. But what do you do if you don’t have weights or a resistance band to use?
A large part of fitness is finding a way if you don’t have the exact tool to perform the task. The same is true with an overhead tricep extension! If you don’t have a TRX system or a set of weights, grab a towel and get going!
Start by locking in a kitchen towel into the top of a door frame. Make sure it is secure in the shut door, then grab the end of the towel and hold it overhead with straight arms.
Ensuring that your elbows stay close to your ears and that your feet are firmly planted, begin by bending your elbows, moving your body away from the door. Continue until your elbows are at a 90 degree angle then slowly return your body back to the original upright position.
Things to keep in mind:
- Engaging your abdominal muscles will help your body in a straight line, making the move more effective.
- The closer your feet are to the door, the more challenging it will become. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself to find the best foot placement for you!
5. Cobra Press Up
The cobra press up is popular in almost any yoga class worldwide – and for good reason. This workout will challenge your triceps and increase your spinal mobility so that day to day tasks are even easier than before.
Begin the cobra press up laying face down on a yoga mat with your hands next to your chest (like with a forearm plank) and your elbows bent at your side. Pressing your hands into the mat, slowly lift your upper body until your arms are straightened. Focusing on your breath, lower your body slowly back to the mat.
Things to keep in mind:
- Try to lift above the hips only. Your lower body should remain on the floor.
- Keeping your elbows close to your body is the secret to effectively working out those triceps and getting the best results!
That’s it for the best bodyweight exercises for your triceps!
Working out your triceps is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon, don’t you think? Strengthen your upper arm muscles and reduce any arm jiggle that may stop you from wearing your favorite sleeveless tops – all from some simple triceps exercises!
You won’t regret strengthening your upper body with these arm exercises – trust me!
Do you workout your triceps often? Tell me in the comments below what your favorite home workouts are to tone your triceps!
Get more home workouts and fitness tips here!
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Amanda is a mom of 4 living a mostly crunchy lifestyle outside of Atlanta, GA with her husband, 2 dogs, and a cat. As a former special education teacher who also has her personal training certification — Amanda really enjoys teaching others how to do things!
When she’s not working, Amanda enjoys DIY projects, exercising, photography, hiking, and long walks through Target.