7 Best Barbell Triceps Exercises For Mass and Strength

If you’re looking to enhance the development of your triceps and maximize the development of your upper arms, then you should add barbell exercises to your tricep workout regime.

Barbell triceps exercises are a great way to build muscle mass and strengthen your triceps, as they activate more than one muscle group at a time.

It allows you to lift heavy with good form to boost muscle growth. The barbell also allows you to increase the challenge as your strength progresses.

This blog will explore various barbell tricep exercises, including basic and advanced moves, and tips on properly incorporating them into a workout routine.

Triceps Brachii Anatomy And Its Functions

When we know about the anatomy of the triceps, then we can easily and effectively train the tricep with barbell exercises.

Triceps brachii, or triceps, are three-headed muscles opposite the biceps and responsible for 2/3 of the upper arm.

Big triceps make the arms look big, which is contrary to the popularity of big biceps, which are smaller in comparison.

To effectively strengthen your triceps, you need to perform the best barbell exercises for the tricep that will work all three 3 heads (the medial, lateral, and long head).

Tricep Anatomy

Best Barbell Exercises For Tricep For Mass and Strength

Below are the seven best barbell tricep exercises for building muscle mass and strength.

When you want to add mass to your triceps or improve your lockout strength, try these seven barbell triceps exercises.

1. Lying Barbell Triceps Extension

Barbell Lying barbell triceps extensions are a great barbell triceps exercise to add to your routine if you’re looking for straightforward barbell triceps exercises.

It is performed while lying on a flat bench and either using a flat barbell, EZ bar, or dumbbell.

The barbell tricep extension (aka skull crusher) is one of the best for building a bigger tricep, as it equally targets all three triceps’ heads.

Lying Triceps Extension

How To Do Lying Barbell Triceps Extension

  1. Lie on a flat bench with your feet on the floor.
  2. Hold a barbell at full arm extension over your chest.
  3. Keep your upper arms stationary and slowly lower your lower arms to bring the bar down to your forehead.
  4. Once the bar reaches your forehead (or slightly above for beginners), pause briefly to feel the stretch in your triceps.
  5. Then, push the bar back up to the starting position.
  6. Do not lock your elbows out, and repeat for desired reps.


  • Keep the movement in your shoulders to a minimum; most of the movement should be in your elbows.
  • Focus on slow, controlled reps for maximum muscle activation.
  • This exercise should be done slowly and carefully under good control.

2. Overhead Barbell Triceps Extension

The overhead triceps extension is another great triceps exercise that can be done with a barbell.

It is a relatively simple yet effective exercise for developing the triceps. It works all three heads of the muscle, especially targeting the long head of the triceps.

Overhead Barbell Triceps Extension

How To Do Overhead Barbell Triceps Extension

  1. Sit on a low-back bench and extend a barbell overhead, holding it with a shoulder-width grip.
  2. Keep your arms up high and your elbows close to your head. Keep your upper arms still.
  3. Slowly lower the bar behind your head until your elbows form 90-degree angles.
  4. Once you reach the desired point, pause briefly to feel the stretch in your triceps.
  5. Then, push the barbell back up to the starting position again.
  6. Repeat for 8–12 reps and 3–4 sets.


  • Keep your body and upper arms still. Only your forearms should move.
  • Keep your elbows tucked in close to your head.
  • Using the EZ bar instead of a standard barbell can be easier on your wrists.

3. Close-Grip Bench Press

The close grip bench press is another great exercise you can add to your barbell triceps exercises.

This exercise is used to build muscle and strength in the triceps. This position emphasizes building strength and size of the triceps muscles, as well as the chest.

The close grip bench press is a superior movement when talking about barbell exercises for triceps that will pack mass onto your triceps.

Close-Grip Bench Press

How To Do Close-Grip Bench Press

  1. Lie flat on a bench-press bench with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. With your hands shoulder-width apart, grasp the barbell with an overhand grip.
  3. Unrack the bar and slowly lower it to your lower chest. Keep your elbows as close to your sides as possible.
  4. At the bottom of the movement, your elbows should be a little lower than your shoulders.
  5. Press the bar back up to the starting position.


  • Using anything closer than a shoulder-width grip increases triceps involvement but can increase stress on the wrists.
  • Inhale slowly as you lower the bar to your chest, and exhale during the push upward.
  • Perform the exercise using a slow and controlled movement.

4. Incline Barbell Tricep Extension

The incline barbell tricep extension helps to build muscle and strength in all three tricep heads.

This exercise is performed on an incline bench, which changes the angle of resistance compared to flat or overhead tricep exercises

The benefit of doing these movements is that you can hopefully get a deeper stretch in the muscle to activate more muscle fibers.

  • Flat bench: Targets all three tricep heads equally.
  • Moderate incline (30-45 degrees): Emphasizes the long head.
  • Steeper incline (45-60 degrees): Isolates the medial head.
Incline Skull Crusher

How To Do Incline Barbell Tricep Extension

  1. Grasp the barbell with an overhand grip, hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Lie on an incline bench, typically set at a 30-45 degree angle.
  3. Extend your arms over your shoulders and then slowly lower the barbell behind your head by bending your elbows.
  4. Hold this position for a count, and then lift your arms back up to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for 8-12 repetitions.


  • Keep your elbows close to your head.
  • Do not use excessively heavyweight, as this is dangerous for your elbows.

5. Decline Barbell Tricep Extension

Unlike the incline version, where you lie on an incline bench, the decline barbell tricep extension involves lying on a decline bench with a barbell held overhead.

The decline angle creates a deeper stretch in the triceps at the bottom of the movement.

Decline Skull Crusher

How To Do Decline Barbell Tricep Extension

  1. Grab a barbell and lie against a decline bench with your feet firmly on the pads.
  2. Extend your arms over your shoulders with your palms facing up.
  3. Then, you bend your elbows to lower the barbell towards your forehead or just past your head.
  4. Hold this position for a count. Lift your arms back up to the starting position in a controlled motion.
  5. Repeat for as many reps and sets as desired.


  • Keep your elbows perfectly still and pointing directly at the ceiling – do not allow them to move (flare) out to the sides or backward with the bar.
  • Keep your upper arms parallel to each other and perpendicular to the floor.
  • Also, keep your head, back, and buttocks in contact with the bench.

6. Reverse Grip Barbell Press

The reversible grip barbell press, a simple and highly effective shoulder-friendly pressing variation, helps build strength in your triceps.

It is often done to improve locking strength and focus on developing triceps.

The reverse grip allows you to alter how the triceps are hit. 

Reverse Grip Barbell Press

How To Do Reverse Grip Barbell Press

  1. Lie flat on a bench-press bench with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. With your hands shoulder-width apart, grasp the barbell with an overhand grip (reverse grip).
  3. Unpack the bar and slowly lower it to your lower chest.
  4. Keep your elbows as close to your sides as possible.
  5. At the bottom of the movement, your elbows should be a little lower than your shoulders.
  6. Press the bar back up to the starting position.


  • Using anything closer than a shoulder-width grip increases triceps involvement but can increase stress on the wrists.
  • Inhale slowly as you lower the bar to your chest, and exhale during the push upward.
  • Perform the exercise using a slow and controlled movement.

7. Single Arm Landmine Press

If you’re looking for a way to get more creative with your barbell triceps exercises, why not try the Single Arm Landmine Press?

Barbells can be tough on your elbows and shoulders because the barbell locks your joints into a certain range of motion.

So, not everyone can train the triceps pain-free, and this is where the landmine press comes in.

The single-arm, neutral grip and gripping the fat end of the barbell make it easier on your elbow and shoulder joints while training the triceps, which are hard and heavy.  

The Landmine Chest Press

How To Do Single-Arm Landmine Press

  1. Stand holding the weighted end of the barbell with one hand.
  2. Clean that bar to shoulder height and tuck your elbow into your side.
  3. Make sure the barbell is wedged securely in a landmine device or corner.
  4. Your feet should be level and shoulder-width apart.
  5. Keeping your core braced and knees soft, press the bar up and away from you, fully extending your arm at the top.
  6. Press the weight up with one hand until your arm is extended, then bring it back down slowly.
  7. With control, lower the bar back down to the starting position.


  • Hold a neutral spine throughout the movement to prevent injury.
  • Exhale on pushing movement, and inhale when returning to the starting position.
  • Lean your body forward slightly and engage your core muscles to help with stabilization.

Tips For An Effective Triceps Workout

Proper technique and workout plan are crucial for maximizing triceps muscle development during workouts. Use these tips to challenge your triceps and make them bigger and stronger.

Follow these tips to improve your workouts and improve your triceps strength.

1. Focus On Form

Good form isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a cornerstone of effective training. Proper form helps you target the right muscles and avoid injuries.

Remember, it’s not about how much you lift, but how well you lift it.

2. Progress Slowly

My weightlifting journey taught me the importance of being patient. It took months of gradual training.

Use the same method for your tricep workouts. Start with lighter weights or fewer reps and sets, and then gradually increase the intensity.

Like any skill, your muscles get stronger over time with consistent and gradual effort.

3. Warm-Up

The yoga teacher always starts with a dynamic stretching exercise, which I use in my tricep exercises.

A few minutes of light cardio and dynamic stretching before lifting prepares your muscles and enhances your overall performance.

It’s a simple step that significantly reduces your risk of injury and improves your performance.

4. Rest And Recover

After a hard day’s work, I remember my one advice: “Rest is part of the job.” The same goes for your muscles.

Allow them one or two days to recover post-workout. The real magic happens during this rest period – muscles grow and get stronger. Overtraining is a surefire way to halt progress.

5. Listen To Your Body

My first gym coach always told me, Your body speaks; you need to listen. If you feel pain, fatigue, or discomfort, it’s time to pause or modify your routine.

Pain is not a sign of progress; it’s a warning. Adjust your workout to how your body feels, not how you think it should feel.

6. Use A Full Range Of Motion 

Old Bodybuilders didnt have fancy gym equipment, but they were strong and sturdy. Their secret? Natural movements using the full range of motion.

This approach is crucial in tricep exercises, too. It is important to use the full range of motion. Besides helping you build muscle, this will also help prevent injury.

7. Focus on mind-muscle connection

During exercises, the mind-muscle connection can help to activate and engage the triceps more effectively.

Visualize the triceps contracting as you perform each movement.

Barbell Tricep Exercises & Workouts

Barbell Triceps Exercises Training Tips

Of course, the number of sets and reps will be determined based on your fitness journey, but here is a great starting point:

Sets and Reps

When a certain amount of volume stops being effective and your progress stalls, you can add sets to increase volume and use that as a driver of renewed progress. 

  • Beginners: ~10 sets per week
  • Intermediate: ~15 sets per week.
  • Advanced: ~20 sets per week.

The best rep ranges and loads to work with. To be effective, the load should bring you to or near failure within the given rep ranges. 

  • 6–8 reps with a heavy load
  • 8–15 reps with moderate load
  • 15-20+ with a light load

Training Plan As Per Your Goal

  1. For muscle endurance: Aim for 3–4 sets of 12–15 reps, with moderate resistance.
  2. For muscle strength: Aim for 3–5 sets of 6–10 reps, with more resistance.
  3. For muscle hypertrophy (increased muscle size): Aim for 3–4 sets of 8–12 reps, with a moderate to heavy amount of resistance.

It is always best to start with a lower number of reps and sets, and then gradually increase as your strength improves.

Furthermore, it is important to allow for adequate rest between sets, typically 60–90 seconds.

Tricep Barbell Workout Plan For Beginners

Lying Barbell Triceps Extension3-4 8-10
Close-Grip Bench Press36-8
Overhead Barbell Triceps Extension48-10

For Intermediate

Here is an intermediate barbell tricep workout routine that can be done at anywhere:

Close-Grip Bench Press38-10
Overhead Barbell Triceps Extension310-12
Decline Barbell Tricep Extension3-410-12
Reverse Grip Barbell Press38-10

Barbell Tricep Workout Plan For Advanced

Overhead Barbell Triceps Extension46-8
Decline Barbell Tricep Extension3-48-12
Reverse Grip Barbell Press:410-12
Single Arm Landmine Press:38-10


Adding various exercises to your tricep workout routine is a good idea to target the muscle from different angles and provide overall muscle growth.

Be smart: don’t limit yourself to barbell tricep exercises. Get the benefits they offer and use other tricep exercises to supplement them when needed.

A barbell workout can be easily incorporated into any training program and can be particularly effective when used alongside dumbbells, bodyweights, machines, and cables to build the biggest, strongest tricep possible.

Benefits Of Training Tricep With Barbell

Barbell Tricep exercises are weight-training exercises that involve lifting heavy weights loaded onto a barbell.

The weight is delivered by weight plates, which come in increments, allowing you to work your way up to lifting heavier weights.

  • Barbell tricep Workouts are forced to incorporate balance and coordination, which machines don’t demand of you.
  • Tricep Barbell exercises are a great choice for anyone looking to strengthen tricep brachii muscles.
  • Barbell workouts strengthen your neuromuscular connection, which is believed to be responsible for major strength gains.
  • Barbell exercises can be performed in various ways and with various weights, making them a versatile option for triceps training.
  • Many people prefer the comfort of working out at home, since barbell workouts require only a bar and weights. Setting up a home gym, therefore, becomes manageable.

Frequently Asked Question

Is Barbell Good For Tricep?

 Yes, doing triceps workouts with a barbell are a suitable option for training the tricep brachii muscles. With regular practice, barbell tricep exercises can help you achieve greater development of the arm muscles. 

Barbell workouts typically allow you to lift heavier weights than dumbbell workouts.

How do you train a tricep with a barbell?

You can do numerous effective exercises with a barbell to train the triceps. Here is the list of best exercises to train the tricep muscle with barbel:

  1. Lying Barbell Triceps Extension
  2. Overhead Barbell Triceps Extension
  3. Incline Barbell Tricep Extension
  4. Decline Barbell Tricep Extension
  5. Close-Grip Bench Press
  6. Reverse Grip Barbell Press
  7. Single Arm Landmine Press

What are barbell Skull Crushers?

The barbell skull crushers, also known as barbell lying triceps extensions, are an isolation exercise that builds the triceps muscle group in the back of the upper arm.

The barbell skull crusher exercise is typically performed lying on your back (supine) with a barbell. Other forms of skull crushers include incline and decline skull crushers.

What tricep exercise hits all 3 heads?

Diamond pushups and close-grip bench presses are great ways to hit all three heads of the triceps simultaneously. Several other exercises target all three triceps parts: kickbacks, tricep dips, and Reverse grip presses.

Can You Get a Big Tricep Just With Barbell Curls?

Barbell tricep exercises effectively recruit your tricep, which can be used to build size as long as they are completed at an appropriate frequency and volume.

But for greater gain, It is crucial to increase the stress placed on the muscles progressively and train various muscle fibers with different exercises.

A good triceps workout routine should also include some dumbbell, cable, or bodyweight work.


This barbell triceps exercise is highly recommended for anyone interested in building bigger triceps and gaining strength.

It allows for targeted muscle development and provides an overall best look.

It is easy to do and requires no more scientific details and fancy equipment. Incorporate some exercise from these barbell exercises into your tricep workout regimen.

The results will speak for themselves if you consistently do these barbell exercises for the triceps.


  • Farias DA, Willardson JM, Paz GA, Bezerra ES, Miranda H. Maximal Strength Performance and Muscle Activation for the Bench Press and Triceps Extension Exercises Adopting Dumbbell, Barbell, and Machine Modalities Over Multiple Sets. J Strength Cond Res. 2017 Jul;31(7):1879-1887. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001651. PMID: 27669189.
  • Hussain J, Sundaraj K, Subramaniam ID, Lam CK. Muscle Fatigue in the Three Heads of Triceps Brachii During Intensity and Speed Variations of Triceps Push-Down Exercise. Front Physiol. 2020 Feb 21;11:112. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2020.00112. PMID: 32153422; PMCID: PMC7047337.

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