9 Most Effective Barbell Tricep Exercises For Bigger Arms

Published by Roshan S Pillai on

Barbell-tricep-exercises

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Most men want to have big and strong-looking arms. For that, the barbell is a great piece of equipment through which we can perform various exercises which will help you in adding a couple of inches to your arms. Also, most barbell exercises are compound movements that use multiple muscle groups which creates a greater stimulus for growth.

Triceps make up 2/3rd of your arms. This means that to have bigger arms, you need to build your triceps as it is 75% of your arms. This shows how important your triceps is to get bigger arms. Therefore in this article, we will talk about some most effective tricep exercises you can do with a barbell which will allow you to build both strength and size.

Some of the best tricep barbell exercises are skull crushers, close grip bench press, and barbell tricep kickbacks. We will discuss each of them along with some other effective exercises here. So let’s begin!

Barbell Tricep Exercises

1. Close-Grip Bench Press

This is an awesome compound exercise for your triceps. You can start your workout with this exercise. This will help you increase the size of your triceps.

Targeted muscles– triceps brachii ( all the head)

How to do

1. Lay down on a flat bench with your feet placed on the floor. Your feet should be under the knees.

2. Grab the barbell with both hands at about 1-2 feet away from each other. Have a spotter behind you to lift the weights for you.

3. Lift the barbell up and hold it at the top. The barbell should be in line with your chest. This will be your starting position.

4. Bring the barbell down towards the lower part of your chest. Breath in as you go down.

5. Pause at the bottom and then push the weights up, back to the starting position.

You can go heavy on this exercise! You can do this at the beginning of the workout after some warm-up sets with lighter weights.

2. Barbell Skull Crushers

Skull crusher is one of the best exercises for building strong and big triceps. Most bodybuilders do this exercise almost in every tricep workout. It puts the tricep in constant tension which makes it more effective.

Targeted Muscles- triceps brachii (long head)

How to do

1. Hold a barbell or an EZ bar and lay down on a bench. Hook your feet under the pegs of a bench for balance.

2. Tight your abs and keep your arms up with your elbows extended. This will be your starting position.

3. Start by bringing the bar down without dropping your elbows and fully stretch your triceps at the bottom.

4. Stop at the bottom and then bring the bar up with the help of your triceps and extend your elbows at the top.

You can go heavy on this exercise as it is a strength-building exercise. But don’t mess your form too much for the sake of lifting heavyweights. You can also do the same exercise with dumbbells.

3. Barbell Tricep Kickbacks

Tricep kickbacks are usually done with dumbbells, but the barbell version is also more effective and challenging. This exercise is not so easy because it’s hard to keep your back straight while performing this exercise. Also, your arms will be in a weaker position which makes it more difficult.

Targeted Muscles- triceps brachii

How to do

1. Place the barbell on the floor and stand in front of it such that the barbell is just behind your legs.

2. Now bend down and grab the barbell with an overhand grip and stand in an upright position with your back at about 45° angle from the floor.

3. By keeping your chest up and back straight, move the barbell up and extend the elbows at the top.

4. Slowly bring the bar down and then repeat the movement.

You should start with just a barbell at the beginning and then slowly add weights according to your strength. You should avoid rounding your lower back during this exercise.

4. Seated Barbell Tricep Extension

Another great way to target the long head of the triceps. Here, your triceps will get that extra stretch at the bottom which allows the long head to activate the most.

Targeted Muscles – long head of triceps

How to do

1. Sit on a seat and grab the bar with a close grip. Keep your back resting on the seat. You can also take the help of your workout partner to hand over the bar to you.

2. Keep your hands up with your elbows extended and this will be your starting position.

3. Slowly lower the barbell and stretch your triceps at the bottom. Breath in on the way down while keeping your back straight.

4. Stop at the bottom and then use your triceps to bring the weights up. Bring it back to the starting position and extend the elbows at the top.

You can use the EZ bar for this exercise as it is more wrist-friendly as compared to the straight bar. Also, it is advisable to have a spotter at the back who can always support you whenever you need help.

5. Reverse Grip Lying Tricep Extension

This is a different way to perform skull crushers. Here you will grip the bar with an underhand grip which makes this exercise more challenging. Also, your arms will be in a unique position which makes it a more difficult but effective exercise.

Targeted Muscles- triceps brachii

How to do

1. Hold a bar or an EZ bar and lay down flat on a bench while holding the bar with an underhand grip. You can take the help of a workout partner who can hand over the bar to you.

2. Keep your arms straight up and keep your elbows at about 90° from the floor. This will be your starting position.

3. Lower the bar while taking your elbows slightly back and stretch your triceps at the bottom.

4. Bring the bar back to the starting position and then repeat the movement.

Reverse grip might not be suitable for a beginner or a person who has just started working out. This exercise is difficult so you should try with a plain rod at first and then add plates according to your strength.

6. Bodyweight Tricep Extension

This is a bodyweight version of skull crushers. This will make your triceps strong and will help you in adding some size. You can very easily do this on a squat rack.

Targeted Muscles- triceps brachii

How to do

1. Place a barbell on a squat rack and hold the bar with both hands placed slightly under shoulder-width apart.

2. Place both feet back and be in a push-up position with your back straight and core tight. This will be your starting position.

3. Now start bringing your head towards the barbell while keeping your elbows in and bring your body down.

4. Stop until your triceps are fully stretched and then push the bar to bring the body back to the starting position.

You can also do this exercise on a bench but it can hurt your wrist. Therefore barbell would be the best option. You can do this at the beginning of the exercise to charge up your triceps.

7. Incline Barbell Tricep Extension

If you want constant tension on the triceps then this is for you. On an incline bench, it puts your body in a position where your triceps will work continuously which is great if you want to grow muscle.

Targeted Muscles- triceps brachii

How to do

1. Hold a barbell or an EZ bar and lay down on an incline bench set at about 45° angle. Keep your feet on the floor

2. Bring the barbell up and keep your elbows extended and this will be your starting position.

3. Start by bringing the bar down while keeping your elbows pointed up and fully stretch your triceps at the bottom.

4. Stop at the bottom and then bring the bar up with the help of your triceps and extend your elbows at the top.

If you are a beginner, then don’t go too heavy on this otherwise you can injure your elbow or shoulder. You should progress by adding 2-5 pounds every week on the bar instead of increasing a lot of weight suddenly. Gradual progression is better than injury.

8. Landmine Tricep Extension

This is a unique way to train your triceps! You can try this exercise and add it to your workout routine once in a while to shock the muscles.

Targeted Muscles – triceps brachii (long and short head)

How to do

1. Place one end of the barbell at the corner of the wall or attach it to a machine.

2. Then lay down on the floor next to the barbell such that the other end of the bar is close to the chest.

3. Hold the barbell and press it up and extend the elbows at the top. This will be your starting position.

4. Now start moving the bar down and bring it back behind the head. Stop until the bar is almost touching the floor.

5. Push the barbell up and bring it back to the starting position. Perform the same movement from the other side.

As this is a unilateral exercise, therefore you can focus on each side of your triceps separately. So if you have muscular imbalances or if your one side is weaker than the other, do unilateral exercise and train your weak side with proper mind and muscle connection.

9. Floor Barbell Skull Crushers

This is another great exercise for your triceps. Here you perform the skull crusher without any bench. You just need a floor to perform the exercise.

Here, you will fully lower the bar down on the floor, relax the triceps, and then squeeze your triceps from the relaxed position. This gives a different stimulus to your muscles which will avoid you from the plateau.

Targeted Muscles- triceps brachii ( long head)

How to do

1. Lay down on the floor while keeping the bar behind your head. Grab the bar with a close grip and bring it up.

2. Tight your abs and keep your arms up with your elbows extended. This will be your starting position.

3. Start by bringing the bar down while controlling the weight and stop until it reaches the floor.

4. Pause at the bottom when the bar is on the floor and then bring the bar up by pressing with your triceps and extend the elbows at the top.

One of the advantages of floor skull crushers is that you don’t need a spotter to hand over the bar to your hands. You can easily lift from the floor without any trouble. Also, you won’t require anyone to spot you because if you fail any rep, then you can drop the bar down easily on the floor without any fear.

Final Thoughts

Barbell exercises are the best way to build strength and all these exercises discussed above will help you in building the size and strength of the triceps. However, using just a barbell is not the right approach. You should also include some dumbbell or cable exercises into your workout routine along with barbell exercises to make the entire workout effective and result-oriented.

If you find this blog helpful, then do share it with your friends or share it on social media so that more people can read this. Also, if you have any questions, you can mention that in the comment section below.


Roshan S Pillai

Roshan Pillai is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer with more than 6 years of experience in lifting weights and guiding people to get fit. He is the owner and editor of fitnessproworkout.com, and has worked as a fitness coach in gyms and is passionate about fitness and helping people to get in shape.

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