In a new video on the Athlean-X channel, CSCS strength coach Jeff Cavaliere provides a detailed rundown and demonstration of exercises that he believes can help you achieve better gains in your triceps. You only need one thing: a resistance band.
Dips are a great way to target the triceps, but assuming you don’t have access to the equipment needed for this move, Cavaliere demonstrates how to replicate that movement pattern in banded standing dips. “Hook the band around your neck, then push down, keeping your elbows tight at your sides and behind your body,” he says. “This will give you a good activation of all three heads of the triceps.”
The second exercise, the JM Band Press, recreates the motion of the dumbbell or barbell press: Simply wrap the band around your hands and behind your back, and push up. “Limit a lot of resistance to the top of the press, which is where the triceps do most of the work anyway,” says Cavaliere.
We know the triceps work harder at the top end of the rep, so this creates an opportunity to add tension there, so Cavaliere continues with two variations of pushups. First, in the band diamond cut pushup, he wraps the band around his back and assumes that close grip position. Then, in the cobra pushup, he spreads his hands apart and makes sure his elbows are close to his body.
The next step is the lying triceps extension. Attach the band to a low anchor point, lie on the floor facing up, and allow your arms to extend back over your head. Cavaliere notes that you’ll feel more tension on the triceps here than in a normal dumbbell version of this exercise, since the force from the band is perpendicular to the forearms, whereas with a dumbbell the force travels down parallel to the forearms.
The next exercise is the banded kickback. “The beauty of this is that, again, I get resistance against the triceps from this position where I normally wouldn’t in a traditional dumbbell variation,” he says. “When I get to the top, I still have good resistance against the triceps in that fully contracted state, which makes it a good option when you’re trying to overload the long head in its fully shortened state.”
The banded overhead extension maximizes tension at the top end of the rep, where you would normally lose it with a dumbbell. “Because the band stretches more, there’s more and more tension to get to the top position, we have to exert more force,” he explains.
Next is a banded version of the lumberjack pushdown, incorporating some rotational movement into the exercise. “One benefit of being able to do this is that you get more total body power to be able to use a very tough band here,” he says. “But more importantly, you can get that arm a little bit further back behind your body… the further that arm extends behind the body, the more of that long head we’re incorporating with the medial and lateral head.”
In demonstrating the band push, Cavaliere adds an extra step. As he stands and extends his arms overhead, he keeps one foot behind him, allowing him to step to the end of the movement and maintain the isometric position. He adds that he can get additional conditioning benefits from this move by switching to a low anchor point and adding a twisting lunge before the overhead pressing move. “When you’re looking to train your triceps, you don’t always have to do it in isolation,” he says.
Philip Ellis is a UK freelance writer and journalist who covers pop culture, relationships and LGBTQ+. His work has appeared in GQ, Teen Vogue, Man Repeller, and MTV.