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15 Best Tricep Isolation Exercises (For Each Heads)

An tricep isolation exercises is one of the important elements of a workout program. In an tricep isolation exercises, you can focus on one part of the muscle separately like targeting the long head or short head of the tricep individually. Here other secondary muscles are usually engaged less.

Tricep isolation exercises had been one of the major recipes in a workout program. You can find that most of the workout programs will have isolation exercises in them. So why is it so important?

One of the big reasons for this is that when you only do compound exercises like dips, you cant focus and target one part of the muscle at a time. There will be multiple muscles that will engage during the movement. However, during isolation exercises, you can focus on each part of your muscle separately and other muscles will be engaged at their minimum. tricep isolation exercises

Here in this article, I have shared some of the best isolation exercises for your triceps that you can use to target specific parts of the triceps. I have used all of these exercises with my clients and they got amazing results from them. So let’s start exploring them one by one. tricep isolation exercises

Tricep Isolation Exercises

With Barbell

1. Barbell Skull Crushers

Skull crusher is one of the best exercises for building strong and bigger triceps. Most bodybuilders do this exercise almost in every tricep workout. It puts the tricep in constant tension. You can isolate the long head perfectly with this exercise. tricep isolation exercises

Level- Beginner to intermediate

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.

Recommended Reps- 10-12

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. tricep isolation exercises

2. Landmine Tricep Extension

This is another different 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. This exercise is another good way to target the long head.

Level- intermediate

Targeted Muscles – triceps brachii (long 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.

Recommended Reps- 10-12

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 one side is weaker than the other, do unilateral exercise and train your weak side with proper mind and muscle connection. tricep isolation exercises

3. Reverse Grip Skull Crusher

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. tricep isolation exercises

Level-  intermediate to advance

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. tricep isolation exercises

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

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.

Recommended Reps- 8-10

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.

With Dumbbells

4. Lying Single Arm Tricep Extension

This is a great unilateral exercise to target the lateral head. Here, you need to focus on the correct form and technique and use a lighter weight in this exercise. You can also do this exercise at home on the floor by keeping your knees folded. tricep isolation exercises

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Most of the isolation exercises should be done with proper form and with moderate weights. As you use fewer muscles here! tricep isolation exercises

You don’t need a bench for this you can do this exercise even on the floor by just keeping your knees folded and feet on the floor. tricep isolation exercises

Level- Beginner to intermediate

Targeted Muscles- triceps brachii ( lateral head)

How to do

1 Lay on the bench by holding a dumbbell in one hand. Your feet should be on the floor.

2. Now raise your left arm and place the other hand on the left elbow to keep your arms stable. This will be your starting position. tricep isolation exercises

3. Start the exercise by moving your left leg down without moving your elbow. Stop at the bottom when the dumbbell is just above your chest. tricep isolation exercises

4. From the bottom position, push the dumbbell with the help of your arm and then extend your elbow at the top.

5. Now switch and repeat the same movement from the other hand.

Recommended Reps- 12-15

Always remember to breathe in on the way down and breath out while you move the dumbbell up. Also, don’t use heavy dumbbells here as this is an isolation exercise where you should focus on proper form and technique rather than swinging with heavy dumbbells. tricep isolation exercises

5. Overhead Dumbbell Tricep Extension (Single-hand)

This exercise will focus more on that long head of the triceps. It’s good for those who have one side weaker than the other because you can train each part separately. tricep isolation exercises

Level- Beginner to intermediate

Targeted Muscles- triceps brachii ( long head)

How to do

1. Stand straight and take one dumbbell in your hands. Lift the dumbbells and hold them with your elbows extended. tricep isolation exercises

2. From that position, start lowering the dumbbell until your triceps are fully stretched at the bottom.

3. Move the dumbbells up by bringing your hands up and extending your elbows fully at the top.

Recommended Reps- 10-12

Your elbow should point up towards the ceiling. Go back up and repeat the movement. Breathe in when you go down and breathe out when you go up. tricep isolation exercises

Don’t swing the weights. Use weights according to your strength to fully control every single rep. Don’t compromise your form just for the sake of lifting heavy! tricep isolation exercises

It’s always better to move your body in a full range of motion. It will make your muscles do the most work in each rep. Also, it will help you in improving mobility and range of motion. tricep isolation exercises

6. Decline Tricep Extension

 

Do this on a decline bench. This is a good exercise to train the long head of the tricep. A decline bench will create constant tension on the muscle so it’s another good triceps variation.

Level- Beginner to intermediate

Targeted Muscles- triceps brachii (long head)

How to do

1. Hold the dumbbells on your hands and lay down on a decline bench. Hook your feet under the pegs of a bench.

2. Keep your elbows up at a 90° angle. By maintaining a neutral grip, take your arms down and stretch your triceps at the bottom.

3. Stop at the bottom and then push the dumbbells up and back to the starting position.

Recommended Reps- 10-12

Your elbow should be back slightly rather than pointing straight up as this will engage your triceps more. You can also do it with your elbows straight up. Try both and choose the best which suits you the most.

7. Tricep Kickbacks

This is a great isolation exercise for your triceps which you should add to your tricep workout. Here, you can focus on each side separately which will help you to build symmetrical arms. It will work all heads of the triceps.

Level- Beginner to intermediate

Targeted Muscles- triceps brachii

How to do

1. Hold a dumbbell on one hand and place the other hand on a bench. Your one leg should be on the bench for support.

2. Take your hands up behind the back such that arms are parallel to the ground. This will be your starting position.

3. From that rowing position, kick your hands up without lifting the elbow. Come back to the same position and go up again.

Recommended Reps- 10-12

You should choose lighter weights for this exercise. If you go heavy, you may end up swinging the weights without engaging the triceps. To perform the movement slowly while feeling the right muscles.

Some people might find tricep kickbacks difficult and they feel uncomfortable in getting into the right position. So if you are having any trouble or pain in the shoulder joints during the movement, then you can try some other alternatives to tricep kickbacks.

8. Double-hand Tricep Extensions

This is similar to the single-hand overhead extensions. Here you will grab one dumbbell with both hands. Here you can lift more weights and is good for building strength.

Level- Beginner to intermediate

Targeted Muscles- triceps brachii (long head)

How to do

1. Take one dumbbell and hold it with both of your hands. Take it back and behind the head and keep your elbows extended. This will be your starting position.

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2. Start the exercise by lowering the dumbbell while keeping your elbows in. Stop until your triceps are fully stretched.

Recommended Reps- 10-12

3. From the bottom position, push the dumbbells up with both your hands, extend the elbows at the top and then repeat the movement.

It’s ok if your elbows are going out but make sure it’s not going too far out. Everyone has a different level of flexibility so don’t go too far down if you are not comfortable with it. Don’t go too heavy as it can lead to injuries if you mess your form.

You can do this exercise either by standing or sitting. Remember that you engage more core when you stand.

9. Triceps Pushdown

This is the most common exercise you will find people doing in the gym. You must make sure to completely extend your elbows to get the most out of exercise.

If you have trouble doing tricep kickbacks, then do tricep pushdowns as this is a much easier and more effective exercise to hit each head of the tricep.

Targeted Muscles- triceps brach ( lateral and media head)

Level- Beginner

How to do

1. Attach a bar at the upper end of the cable machine and hold it with both hands that are slightly less than the shoulder width.

2. Lean slightly forward and keep your elbows closer to the waist. This will be your starting position.

3. With your shoulders pinged back, start pushing the weights down and completely extend your elbows right at the bottom. Your chest should be up as you move.

4. Slowly return to the starting position without rolling your shoulders forward.

Recommended Reps- 12-15

You don’t have to add too much weight which puts you in an improper form. Your form and technique are key during this exercise. Most of these cable machine exercises are isolation exercises and are good to target the weak muscles.

10. Cable Horizontal Tricep Extension

Many of you might have not tried this before as this is not a popular exercise. I would like you to try this one out and I bet you will love it. This exercise will put an exact tension on your triceps at a different angle.

So if you want to try something new, then consider this move. You will feel a huge burn in your lateral head after this exercise.

Level- Beginner to intermediate

Targeted Muscles- triceps brachii (lateral and medial head)

How to do

1. Attach a handle at a pulley that is at about your chest height. Stand in between the cable machine while holding the handle.

2. Keep your arms parallel to the floor with your elbows flexed. This will be your starting position.

3. Move your hand to the side and extend completely at the end. Then slowly return back to the starting position while keeping your arms parallel to the floor.

Recommended Reps- 12-15

You should never go heavy on this because its an isolation exercise that should be done with a proper form and technique. This will strengthen your elbows if done correctly. So add this once in a while as an accessory exercise.

11. Cable High Pulley Overhead Extension

Cable overhead extension is another popular isolation exercise in the gym. Most people do this with a bar instead of ropes. When you use ropes, you can rotate your arms and open your hands at the very end. This will put extra tension on the medial head.

Level- Beginner to intermediate

Targeted Muscles- triceps brachii (long head)

How to do

1. Attach a pulley at the top of the cable machine and then hold each end of a rope. You can also use a straight bar for this exercise.

2. With your back facing the cable machine, step a few steps forward and stand at a split stance. Bend slightly forward and keep your hands parallel to the floor.

3. Start moving your hands forward while keeping your straight. Fully extend the elbow at the end.

4. Now slowly bring the ropes back to the starting position and stretch your triceps at the end.

Recommended Reps- 10-12

You should not go too heavy as it can injure your neck. Also, keep your back straight and your abs tight during the exercise. This exercise will also work the long head more when you completely stretch your triceps during the eccentric phase.

12. Crossbody Cable Tricep Extension

This is a unique way to do tricep extensions. This will completely burn your triceps brachii muscles. This is also a great exercise for those who want to work on the upper part of their tricep, especially the lateral head.

Level- Beginner to intermediate

Targeted muscles – lateral head of the tricep

How to do

1. Attach both sides of the pulleys at the top end of the cable machine. Grab each end of the cables and stand in between the cable machine.

2. Keep your chest up and shoulders back and start moving the hands to the sides by holding the cables. Your shoulder should not move up or come forward. tricep isolation exercises

3. Fully extend your elbows at the bottom and then return to the starting position.

Recommended Reps- 15-20

You can do this exercise at the end after performing main compound exercises like dips and close grip press. Make sure that your form is right during the movement. tricep isolation exercises

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With TRX

13. TRX Tricep Extension

This is one of the most effective TRX exercises for your triceps. This is the TRX version of skull crushers. This will engage your core and other stabilizer muscles which makes it perfect bodyweight exercise.

If you are at home, then TRX is a very good tool to have in your home. You can do so many exercises with it.

Level- Beginner to intermediate

Targeted Muscles- triceps brachii

How to do

1. Attach a TRX Suspension at the top and hold each end of the TRX.

2. Now move your legs back and lean forward while holding the handles. Keep your arms straight in front and this will be your starting position. tricep isolation exercises

3. Start the exercise by lowering your body such that your forearms move back. Your elbows should not move much. tricep isolation exercises

4. Pause at the top when your triceps are fully stretched and then use your tricep muscle to push yourself back to the starting position. tricep isolation exercises

Recommended Reps- 10-12

Remember to breathe in on the way down and breath out on the way up. Also, keep your knees extended and core engaged. tricep isolation exercises

Tips For Beginners

If you are a beginner, then don’t go too down or in other words, reduce the range of motion. Stop when your elbows are flexed at a 90° angle. tricep isolation exercises

14. TRX Tricep Pushdown

If you don’t have a cable machine, then you can do a tricep pushdown with TRX suspension. It’s easy to set up at home and will be as effective as cable tricep pushdown if done correctly. tricep isolation exercises

Level- Beginner to intermediate

Targeted Muscles- triceps brachii (lateral head)

How to do

1. Attach a TRX suspension at your home and stand straight with your arms extended while holding the TRX. This will be the starting position. tricep isolation exercises

2. Start the exercise by moving your body backward and move your forearms upward as you move. Stop until the elbow is at a 45° angle. tricep isolation exercises

3. Now start bringing your body forward by using your arms and completely extend your arms at the end.

Recommended Reps- 10-12

Do’s And Don’t

1. Don’t bend your back as you move. Keep your back straight.

2. Keep your abs engaged throughout the movement. This will prevent you from arching the lower back.

3. Fully extend your elbows at the end to create the maximum load on the triceps.

If you are overweight, then don’t do this exercise because it’s very difficult to move your weight with the help of your arm. Also if you are a beginner, then do it with a limited range of motion. Increase the range of motion once you have built enough strength. tricep isolation exercises

You can also do some more tricep exercises with TRX suspension which I have shared in this article.

With Resistance Band

15. Band Overhead Tricep Extension

Bands are good at creating constant tension on the muscles when performed correctly. The more you stretch the bands, more will be the resistance. So here, your triceps will be working the most during the end phase of the extension. tricep isolation exercises

You can also stretch your long head during this exercise which will allow your long head to work more. So this is another great exercise similar to the cable overhead extension. tricep isolation exercises

Level- Beginner

Targeted Muscles- triceps brachii (long head)

How to do

1. Take a resistance band and attach it to the top of the pillar or bar.

2. Hold the band from each hand and step a few steps forward and stand at a split stance. Bend slightly forward and keep your hands parallel to the floor. tricep isolation exercises

3. Being your wrist behind the body while keeping your arms straight. Your triceps will be stretched and this will be your starting position. tricep isolation exercises

4. Start moving your hands forward while keeping your straight and fully extending the elbows at the end.

5. Now slowly bring your wrists back to the starting position and stretch your triceps at the end.

Recommended Reps- 12-15

You can also attach the band to the lower part of the rack to do overhead tricep extension with the band. This is another variation you can do. tricep isolation exercises

Final Words

So these were some of the best tricep exercises you can do to isolate each part of the triceps. All these exercises discussed above should be added to your workout program according to your goals and fitness level. Also, make sure that you add compound exercises too in your workout. Both compound and isolation exercises together will help you in building solid and fuller-looking triceps. tricep isolation exercises

If you found this blog helpful, then do share it with your friends or on social media so that more people can get the information. Also, if you like to share your knowledge on this topic, then do share it with all of us in the comment section below. tricep isolation exercises

 

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