The 11 Best Bodyweight Tricep Exercises You Can Do At Home (VIDEOS)

Are you looking for a list of the best bodyweight tricep exercises you can do at home?

You are in the right place.

This article will break down how to do each exercise with proper form so that you can get bigger arms as safely as possible.

I will also show you how to scale these calisthenics exercises back if you are a beginner.

Let’s get started.

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Okay, let’s get started.

The 11 best calisthenics tricep exercises you can do at home

Below you will find a quick description and video of the best exercises you can do to develop the back of your arms.

All you need is your body weight.

Let’s get right to it.

The Bodyweight Tricep Extension (aka Skull Crushers)

Bodyweight tricep extensions are the best exercise for targeting the biggest tricep head, the long head.

It requires the use of some elevated surface such as a chair, a couch, or a bench so that you can use the full range of motion.

Here’s what it looks like:

  • Make sure to keep your elbows tucked close into your body
  • Keep your core tight and your spine neutral the entire time

How to scale the exercise back:

  • You can do this movement from your knees.

The Sphinx Push-up

The sphinx push-up is a very simple movement that requires no equipment. To do it properly, you will need to get into a push-up position and bend the elbows in a way to allow your forearms to become completely flat on the floor.

Here’s what it looks like:

  • Make sure to keep your elbows tucked close into your body
  • Keep your core tight and your back flat throughout the entire movement

How to scale the exercise back:

  • You can modify this exercise by placing your hands further out in front of you.
  • You can also do the exercise from your knees.
  • Alternatively, you can only bend one elbow at a time.

Side-Lying Tricep Extension

The side-lying tricep extension is a great exercise for isolating the triceps as it takes your core out of the movement.

It’s not as easy as it looks.

Here’s what it looks like:

  • Keep your bottom arm wrapped around your torso as if you are giving yourself a hug
  • Do your best to extend your elbow all the way to activate the triceps completely.

How to scale the exercise back:

  • You can do this exercise against a wall.

Close Grip Pikes Push-ups

The close grip pikes push-up is an excellent bodyweight tricep exercise because it targets your triceps from a different angle while performing a motion similar to the overhead press.

This movement is also great for working on your shoulder strength.

Here’s what it looks like:

  • Keep your body in an upside-down “V” the entire time.
  • Keep your hands closer than shoulder-width, and tuck your elbows in, don’t let them flare out.

How to scale the exercise back:

  • You can do this movement on an incline if necessary. You will need two chairs, and allow your head to dip in between them.

Upright Dip

The dip is an excellent bodyweight tricep exercise, and one of my all-time favorites.

The dip requires something where you can support yourself with extended arms. Parallel bars work best, but you can also use two high chairs.

To bias the triceps more, you will need to perform an upright dip. In this variation, you try to keep your torso as straight as possible without leaning forward.

*I am not a fan of bench dips, as it can cause shoulder issues if you don’t have good shoulder mobility. However, if you want to do it, make sure to turn your hands out!*

Here’s what it looks like:

  • As you are descending, be sure to retract your shoulder blades and keep your elbows pointing backward.
  • Keep your chest proud the entire time.

How to scale the exercise back:

  • This is an advanced movement, so you may not be ready for it just yet in which you minimize the amount of leaning forward. To scale this exercise down, you can perform a regular dip in which you lean forward more. This will train the chest and shoulders a bit more.

Up & Down Plank

The up & down plank is a fantastic bodyweight tricep exercise because you can target many muscle groups in the upper body with this movement.

You are basically going to transition from a low plank (on your forearms) to a high plank (on your hands).

Here’s what it looks like:

  • Keep your core tight and your spine neutral the entire time.

How to scale the exercise back: 

  • You can do this movement from your knees.

Cobra Push-up

The cobra push-up is a great exercise for improving upper back mobility while targeting the long head of the triceps.

Here’s what it looks like:

  • To do this movement properly keep your elbows close to your body and keep your chest up.
  • Press up in a straight line while arching your upper back

Close Grip Push-ups

Close-grip push-ups are among the most difficult variations of basic push-ups.

This variation requires you to place your hands a bit closer than the regular push-up. The closer you can bring your hands, the harder the exercise.

Here’s what it looks like:

  • Keep your elbows tucked close in to your body and do not let them flare out
  • Keep your core tight, your glutes engaged, and your spine neutral.

How to scale the exercise back:

  • You can keep your hands just slightly wider than shoulder-width and slowly bring them closer as you get stronger.

Handstand Hold

The handstand is an excellent bodyweight tricep exercise that also builds overall upper body strength.

You just need to learn how to kick-up against the wall with good technique:

Here’s what it looks like:

  • Make sure to keep your elbows locked out the entire time. It won’t work if your elbows are bent.
  • Hold as long as you can!

You can advance this by holding a wall walk or gradually walking up a wall to get into a handstand.

Pseudo Planche Push-up

The pseudo planche push-up is one of the more advanced push-up variations that really strengthen the shoulders and triceps.

I included it because this movement requires you to turn your hands outward. As such, you can target the medial head of the triceps more.

Here’s what it looks like:

  • Keep your core tight and your glutes engaged.
  • Maintain a rounded thoracic spine the entire time.
  • Retract your shoulder blades at the bottom of the movement.

How to scale the exercise back:

  • Don’t lean as far forward, but maintain the same rounded back technique with your hands turned out.
  • You can also perform this from your knees.

L-Sit Holds

The L-sit is predominantly thought of as an ab exercise, but it’s also great for strengthening the triceps.

It targets the lateral head of the triceps because it requires you to fully support yourself using only your extended arms.

Here’s what it looks like:

How to scale the exercise back:

  • Only extend one leg at a time, or keep your knees bent up closer to your chest.

How do you hit all 3 heads of triceps? Medial Head, Lateral Head, Long Head

The triceps is composed of three different muscle heads:

  • the medial head
  • the lateral head
  • the long head

All three extend the elbow joint, but you can bias each individual head by changing your arm position.

The long head is trained when the arm is extended overhead. That’s because it is attached to your scapula, and crosses all the way to your elbow.

The lateral and medial heads don’t attach to the scapula. As such, they are trained with more traditional elbow extension exercises with your arms down.

The medial head is trained when your hands are turned out or externally rotated.

The lateral head is trained when your hands are turned in internally rotated.

The most important thing to do when training your triceps is to extend your elbow completely. This ensures that you get maximum triceps activation, regardless of the exercise you are doing.

Other Related Questions

Are pushups enough for triceps?

Push-ups and push-up variations are great for the triceps, and for most people, they can be enough. However, they will not target the long head of the triceps to its full capability.

If you want to maximize your tricep development, you’ll have to add in some overhead isolation exercises for best results.

What are good bodyweight exercises to target my lateral head of triceps?

  • Close-grip push-ups with your hands turned in
  • Diamond push-ups (where your hands create a diamond shape)
  • Cobras with your hands turned in
  • Dips
  • Sphinx Push-ups
  • Side-Lying Tricep Extension
  • Resistance band tricep push-downs with an overhand grip

What are good bodyweight exercises to target my long head of triceps?

  • The bodyweight tricep extension
  • Handstands and handstand push-ups
  • Close-grip pike push-ups

What are good bodyweight exercises to target my medial head of triceps?

  • Pseudo planche push-ups
  • Dips (hands turned out)
  • Sphinx Push-ups
  • Resistance band tricep push-downs with an underhand grip

How do you do a tricep bow?

The tricep bow is the same as a sphinx push-up.

  • Get into a standard push-up position with your back flat, your core engaged, and your glutes squeezed.
  • Next, place your hands further out in front of you (instead of having them by your chest).
  • The further forward they are, the easier the movement is.
  • From here, bend at the elbows back towards your feet and allow your forearms to come in contact with the floor.
  • Pause for a second, and then extend your elbow back up to the starting position.

The tricep bow focuses primarily on the medial head of the triceps, but will also hit the lateral and long heads to some degree as well.

Do planks strengthen the triceps muscles?

Planks are primarily a core exercise, but you can target your triceps if you convert the regular plank into an up and down plank.

In this variation, you transition from a low plank (on your forearms) to a high plank (on your hands) and continue alternating between the two. Focus on squeezing the tricep muscles on each repetition.

How can I build my arms fast?

You can build your triceps fast if you do regular compound movements like close-grip push-ups, dips, and weight exercises like the bench press.

However, this only works well if you also dial in your nutrition and do a well-rounded exercise program that targets the entire body like my calisthenics workout plan for busy professionals.

It shows you how to train your entire body using nothing more than just your own body weight, a pull-up bar, and a pair of rings in just 30 minutes a day.

Do you have any resources for other bodyweight arm exercises?

Yes, below you will find my posts on the best bodyweight shoulder exercises, as well as the best bodyweight bicep exercises!

The 21 Best Bodyweight Shoulder Exercises

The 7 Best Bodyweight Biceps Exercises

The Best Bodyweight Chest Exercises

Final Words

Now you have a collection of the best bodyweight exercises for targeting all three heads of the triceps.

You also know how to scale them back when necessary.

What did you think of my list of the best bodyweight triceps exercises? Any you would add to the list?

Let me know in a comment below!

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