Tricep and shoulder workout for toned upper body

When it comes to building a well-rounded upper body, incorporating triceps and shoulder workouts is essential. Strong triceps and shoulders not only make daily activities easier but also help improve your upper body strength, muscle mass, shape, posture and reduce shoulder and neck pain. 

In this blog post, we’ll be talking about some of the best exercises you can do to work your triceps and shoulders. They’re suitable for everyone, whether you’re new to working out or an avid lifter. 

Training triceps and shoulders together

A common question people have when they first start strength training is what muscle groups should you work out together and how often should you train them.

Training triceps and shoulders during the same workout routine are beneficial because they are both muscles involved in pushing movements.

Benefits of training triceps and shoulder together

  • Increased strength and power. Strong triceps and shoulders will help you perform everyday activities with ease, such as lifting heavy objects, carrying groceries and opening jars. They will also improve your performance in sports and other activities that require upper-body strength.
  • Improved posture. Strong triceps and shoulders help to keep your shoulders back and your spine in alignment. This can help to improve your posture and reduce back pain.
  • Increased self-confidence. When you have a strong upper body, you will feel more confident in your appearance and your abilities. This can lead to a boost in your self-esteem and overall well-being.
  • Reduced risk of injury. Strong triceps and shoulders help to stabilize your joints and protect them from injury. This is especially important for people who participate in activities that put their shoulders at risk, such as overhead sports and weightlifting.

Shoulder Exercises

Lateral raises (side delts)

  • Start in the standing position, keeping your feet shoulder-width apart, your abs tight and your chest up.
  • Hold the dumbbells at either side, retaining a neutral grip.
  • Using just your shoulders and arms, raise the dumbbells out to your side until your arms are parallel to the ground.
  • Lower dumbbells back to the starting position — with control.

Isometric hold front raise (front delts)

seated shoulder front raise for tricep and shoulder workout
seated shoulder front raise
  • Sit on a bench holding a dumbbell in each hand down by your side.
  • Lift your left hand out in front of you and hold it.
  • Take the right hand and slowly lift the dumbbell in front of you to shoulder height to match your left. Avoid swinging or using momentum.
  • Complete desired reps and switch. Hold your right arm in an isometric hold and lift your left.

Cable face pull (rear delts)

face pulls shoulder exercise
face pulls for tricep and shoulder exercise
  1. Assume a split stance with the arms straight out in front of you utilizing a pronated grip.
  2. Inhale and pull the rope towards your face with the elbows high.
  3. Slowly lower the rope back to the starting position and repeat for the desired number of repetitions on both sides.

Tip: As you pull, ensure the elbows stay high and the rope remains at eye level.

Overhead presses

dumbbell shoulder press
dumbbell shoulder press in tricep and shoulder workout
  • From a seated or standing position, hold a heavy dumbbell in each hand by your side.
  • Press the dumbbells straight overhead, keeping elbows narrow. At the top of the dumbbell press, rotate the dumbbells so your palms face out (away from you).
  • As you lower the dumbbells, elbows should go wide, arms bent at 90 degrees (like goal posts). Keep your elbows in line with your shoulders rather than letting them drop down.

Seated Arnold press

  • Sit up an adjustable angle bench to 90 degrees.
  • Pick up the dumbbells from the floor using a neutral grip (palms facing in). Position the end of the dumbbells on your knees and sit down on the bench.
  • Using a safe and controlled motion, kick your knees up one at a time in order to get each dumbbell into place.
  • Once the dumbbells are in place, rotate your palms so they are facing you.
  • Take a deep breath then press the dumbbells overhead by extending the elbows and contracting the deltoids.
  • As you press, rotate the dumbbells until your palms are facing forward.
  • Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position (the arms should be roughly 90 degrees or slightly lower depending upon limb lengths).

Tricep exercises

Rope cable push down

tricep cable ropes
tricep cable ropes tricep and shoulder workout
  • Attach a rope to a cable pulley as high as possible and assume a standing position.
  • Grasp the rope with a neutral grip (palms facing in) and lean forward slightly by hinging at the hips.
  • Start by extending the elbows and flexing the triceps.
  • Pull the rope downward until the elbows are almost locked out and then slowly lower under control back to the starting position.
  • Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Tip: The only thing moving is your lower arm. Your shoulder joint remains stable by your side while you bend and straighten from the elbow with constant tension on your triceps.

Skull crushers

  • To get into position, lay back on a flat bench and keep the EZ bar close to your chest.
  • Press the weight and extend your upper arms to lockout.
  • Lower the weights towards your head by unlocking the elbows and allowing the EZ bar to drop toward your forehead or just above.
  • Once your forearms reach parallel or just below, reverse the movement by extending the elbows while flexing the triceps to lockout the weight.
  • Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Tricep kickbacks

  • Start with feet hip-distance apart and a pair of dumbbells on the sides of the body, palms facing in towards the body. 
  • Engage your corse, feet shoulder-width apart and hinge forward at the hips, bringing the upper body almost parallel to the floor. 
  • In the hinged forward position and palms facing in towards the body, lift the elbows up to your rib cage in a row position, engaging your upper back muscles. 
  • Squeeze the tricep as you hold the extension for a second or two, and then release back to the starting position. 

Tip: The only thing moving is your lower arm. Your shoulder joint remains stable by your side while you bend and straighten from the elbow.

Close grip bench press

  • Lie flat on a bench and set your hands at shoulder width.
  • Set your shoulder blades by pinching them together and driving them into the bench.
  • Inhale and allow the bar to descend slowly by unlocking the elbows.
  • Lower the bar in a straight line to your chest.
  • Push the bar back up in a straight line by pressing yourself into the bench, driving your feet into the floor for leg drive, and extending the elbows.
  • Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

​Tricep dips

  • Position your hands shoulder-width apart on the flat bench.
  • Move your feet out until your legs are straight.
  • Straighten out your arms and keep a little bend in your elbows in order to always keep tension on your triceps and off of your elbow joints.
  • Bend elbows and slowly lower your upper body down towards the floor with your elbows tucked in at your sides until your elbows are level with your shoulders.
  • Pause, and then slowly press off with your hands and push yourself back up to the starting position with your triceps.
  • Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Tricep and shoulder workout

Tricep exercises:

  • Tricep dips: 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Close-grip bench press: 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Overhead triceps extension: 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Triceps pushdowns: 3 sets of 10-15 reps

Shoulder exercises:

  • Seated Arnold press: 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Lateral raises: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Front raises: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Face pulls: 3 sets of 10-12 reps

FAQs about training triceps and shoulders

These are known as the “push” muscles. This is because many exercises that target these muscles involve pushing resistance away from the body.

You should include 4-5 exercises in your shoulder workout to help you target all three heads of the shoulder muscle.

You should include 4-5 exercises in your triceps workout to help you target all three heads of the triceps muscle.

Additional upper body workouts

3 landmine shoulder exercises for boulder shoulders

Lower chest dumbbell exercises

Rear delt exercises for fuller shoulders

Lateral head tricep exercises for toned arms

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