What’s the right way to do a tricep pushups?


Sometimes it’s worth it to make things harder than they are. Just like lugging a bottle of wine on a hike for that perfect cheers photo at the top of the hill. Do you know what else is worth it? Turning a push-up that’s already difficult enough into a tricep pushups.

Although, I do feel sorry for our lazy selves, but sometimes you need to make yourself sorry to feel the thrill of a screaming—but sculpted—triceps. Tricep pushups, turn the spotlight on your upper arm muscles specifically making them protruding and attractive. Don’t believe me? Well, then don’t! But listen to what Geoff Tripp has to say, “Regular pushups burn, but they recruit the entire pectoralis major muscle group—your pecs, shoulders, triceps, and core—so the effort is spread across a number of muscles”. And just in case if you don’t have a clue as to who Geoff Tripp is? Google and be shocked!

Tricep Pushups and the right way to do it!

Now let’s get to business! Below is a step by step guide as to how to do Tricep Pushups in the right manner!

  1. Start with a high plank position and with your hands directly under the shoulders. Now try to engage your core by pulling your belly button in towards your spine.
  2. Keep your legs straight and your hips, level. Pull your arms closer to your sides so that your elbows are pointed back, driving your hands into the ground to keep your shoulder stable.
  3. Now slowly lower yourself toward the ground while keeping your elbows pointed back and core engaged. Lower until your arm, elbow and shoulder to make a 90-degree angle.
  4. Push hard enough into the ground to lift your body back up. And that’s one, one rep.
  5. Aim for two to three sets of 10 to 12 reps triceps push-ups with an interval of 30 seconds break in between. And if at any point you can’t push back up in a plank, try to drop to your knees to do the trick and continue with the set.

Why should you do Tricep Pushups?

Triceps pushups target your upper body pushing muscles—namely your triceps with complementary support from the muscles in your chest, core and shoulders. While regular pushups—with hands—work with your chest and upper arms, triceps pushups target the tris and shoulder particularly.

Triceps pushups are with no doubt of shadow an amazing strength builder—but also kind of a Catch-22 since you need strength to do them. If your upper body is still in work in progress mode while doing a triceps-push-up, it’s easier to make the move a bit easier by putting your knees on the ground, so you can build that baseline tri-power. However, just be sure that while you are practising a Triceps Push-up you’re still keeping your elbows tucked close to the chest so it’s challenging.

Reverse Tricep Pushups:

A reverse push-up is quite different from your regular push-up. Reason? That’s because the resistance you experience while doing one, is provided by your own body weight, just as with a regular push up; otherwise, the two exercises have little in common. However, Tricep Pushups is popular among those who do the Bar Method as a triceps-strengthening exercise, though you might have to keep your eye out to maintain a very limited range of motion to avoid injury. Want to know how? Well, below is the step by step guide on how to do one!

  1. First, Sit down on the ground and place your arms, slightly bent, on either side of you, with your palms flat against the floor. Your arms should be directly below your shoulders and your legs should be stretched out in front of you, with your heels pressing into the ground. Stretch as much as you can, though.
  2. Now push your body up off the ground by straightening out your arms. And while you do so, try to retract your shoulders to engage them as stabilizers. Hold on to this position for about 30 seconds or so before you slowly lower your body down to the floor.
  3. For this exercise to be done safely and effectively, try to do as few slow repetitions as possible. Aim for 1-3 sets with 8-12 repetitions in each set.

A word of caution, try to move slowly and with purpose because trying to do as many repetitions as quickly as possible is not the key and will not engage your triceps effectively. Rather, it could lead to a shoulder injury. Maintain a proper form throughout, keeping your spine straight and your hands positioned beneath your shoulders after all, as I always say a proper position is the primary foundation to any work-out and plays a vital role to avoid any kind of injury involved.

Some great Tricep Pushups to do:

  1. Conventional Tricep PushUps

To do a conventional Tricep Pushups, assume a regular Push-Up position and place your hands close together but below the shoulder level—between your chest and your neck—to target your triceps.

  1. Med Ball Version

To do a Med Ball Version, assume a Push-Up position with your hands close together atop a med ball or basketball. This variation will not only forces your triceps to work harder but also helps to improve your balance and core stabilization since your hands are on an unstable surface.

  1. Reversed Hands Atop the Med Ball

To do a Reverse Hands Atop the med Ball, begin with a seated position with the ball behind you. Performing a Push-Up with your hands on a med ball or basketball also strengthens your hands and wrists, which happens to be quite essential for pushing off and blocking in football and passing in basketball. Now place your hands close together on the ball either with your fingertips facing toward your back or away from your body. The key is to keep your elbows close to your sides and your legs extended with your heels on the floor. And more intensity needs to be applied on your heels than with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.

More advanced: To make this push-up a bit more challenging, try the movement with your heels atop a bench or chair.

  1. Neutral-Grip Version (Hands-on Dumbbell Handles)

Assume a Push-Up position with two dumbbells vertically placed close together a few inches apart and your hands gripping the dumbbell handles with palms facing each other. Keep your head and shoulders in front of the dumbbells to isolate your triceps, while making sure that the dumbbells are directly under your upper chest.

  1. Reverse Dumbbell Version

This variation of Push-Up starts with a pair of dumbbells placed close to each other, vertically behind your back. Now, sit on the floor with your legs extended, resting on your heels. Grasp the dumbbells with a neutral grip and try to press yourself up. Don’t try to bend your knees. Keep your back straight, your heels pressed into the floor, Knees straight and tense your triceps at the top of the movement. Slowly lower down to the start position and repeat. You can make this work-out more challenging by doing the exercise with your heels atop the med ball, chair or bench.

  1. Swiss Ball Version

Swiss Ball Version of Tricep Pushups is perhaps what you can call the hardest of all the versions. To do it, assume a push-up position with your hands close together on a Swiss ball. Now place your hands under your upper chest and let your head and shoulders extend beyond your hands. The unstable swiss ball challenges your core muscles besides your triceps and upper-body muscles for building size and improving upper- and lower-body balance. However, make sure to tighten your abdominal muscles to prevent your lower back from sagging or the whole point of this push-up will be for nought. As for the added intensity as well as enhanced balance and core strength, try performing the exercise with one foot off the floor! Sound challenging, right? That’s because it is!

  1. Toes on the Swiss Ball

Yet another challenging variation of Triceps Push-Ups. Assume in a push-up position with your hands close together on the floor with your toes elevated on the Swiss ball. The unstable swiss ball challenges your core muscles besides your triceps and upper-body muscles for building size and improving upper- and lower-body balance. And for even more of a challenge, perform the movement with one foot off the ball.


Pushups are really hard. And it’s only natural that body may want to drop your hips and bow your arms out. But whether you like it or not, it’s important to keep proper form, for both injury prevention and to build strength. Hence, make sure to keep your core engaged and body in a straight line during the whole movement, with your arms close to your sides and then slowly lower all the way down to 90 degrees and extend fully at the top.

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