Performing your tricep exercises with resistance bands is a great way to get a massive arm pump while sparing your joints. This is because resistance bands challenge your triceps with constant, muscle-pumping tension while offering smooth, elbow-saving resistance.
After showing you various resistance band triceps exercises for building muscle, I’ll also walk you through 3 resistance band tricep workout routines that you can perform. Each program caters to a different goal, so you’ll definitely find a workout to get you those gains that you’re looking for.
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The 9 best resistance band tricep exercises
Here are the 9 best resistance band tricep exercises for building and strengthening your arms. You can see the next section for full workout routines, or you can pick and choose from these exercises to create your own custom program.
1. Resistance band overhead extension
If you want to pump up your triceps while building slabs of mass in the process, the resistance band overhead extension is one of the best exercises for the job. This is for two reasons.
First, like all tricep band exercises, the band overhead extension challenges your triceps with constant tension, which naturally results in a potent muscle pump because your triceps don’t get even a second to rest until the set is over.
Second, the overhead extension targets the long head of your triceps, which is both the biggest head of the triceps and the largest muscle in your upper arms. As such, if you want to grow your arms, it’s imperative that you develop the long head of your triceps.
- Stand in the middle of your resistance band and grab the handles with an overhand grip.
- Press the handles over your head so that your arms are locked out.
- Tuck your elbows in and then lower the handles behind your head. Keep going until you feel an intense triceps stretch.
- Flex your triceps forcefully to push the handles back up. Keep going until your elbows are once again locked out.
- Repeat for 3-5 sets of 10-30 reps.
2. Resistance band tricep pushdown
While there are many good tricep exercises with bands that you can do, pushdowns are definitely one of the best—and one of the most underrated.
By connecting your band to a door anchor or looping it around a tall, stable surface like a squat rack, you’ve essentially just created your very own cable station. The difference is, of course, that you’ve got band resistance rather than cable resistance.
While both bands and cables challenge your triceps with constant tension, cables naturally provide more consistent resistance, whereas bands become heavier the more that they’re stretched. Check out these tricep cable exercises to learn more.
Anyway, what this all means for you is that you’re going to have to contract your triceps really hard during band pushdowns if you want to lock the band out. Not only will this act of forcefully contracting your triceps give you a better muscle pump, but it’ll also increase your lockout strength, which will help to boost your pressing power.
- Connect your band to a door anchor and then grab the handles with an overhand grip.
- Take a step or two away from the anchor point and move your shoulders back so that they’re in line with your torso (in other words, don’t let your shoulders drift forward).
- Flex your triceps forcefully to push the band handles down toward the ground. Keep pushing until your elbows are locked out.
- Hold the peak contraction for a second, and then release the contraction in a controlled manner so that the handles move up toward your biceps.
- Repeat the movement for 3-5 sets of 10-30 reps.
3. Resistance band tricep kickback
If you want to experience the most intense triceps contraction of your entire life, then you need to include the kickback in your next tricep resistance band workout.
I just mentioned that bands get heavier the more that you stretch them, which naturally means that the final part of the rep—the lockout phase—is the most challenging.
Well, since kickbacks naturally get harder toward the end of the rep—regardless of the equipment that you’re using—the band kickback is doubly taxing for your triceps.
Not only do you have the progressive band tension, but your triceps also have the natural strength curve of the kickback to contend with. It suffices to say that you’ll definitely need to use your lightest resistance band for this one!
- Stand in the middle of your band and grab the handles with an overhand grip.
- Bend over at your waist and move your shoulders back so that they’re in line with your torso.
- Kick the handles back by flexing your triceps. Keep going until your elbows reach complete extension.
- Hold the peak contraction for a moment and then lower the handles under control.
- Repeat for 3-5 sets of 15-30 reps.
4. Resistance band skull crusher
If you’re going to be doing some of your future tricep workouts with resistance bands, make sure to include the skull crusher in your routine.
This deceptively-named mass-building movement is a staple in the workouts of bodybuilders who’re looking to add size to their arms.
Despite what the name of the exercise suggests, you actually want to bring the handles behind your head so that you can stretch the long head of your triceps.
Of course, you can keep the bands in front of you if you want to bias more of the tension to the lateral head. The best option for you depends on which head of the triceps you need to work on the most.
- Connect your resistance band to a door anchor in a low position.
- Lie on a bench and reach back and grab the band handles.
- Flex your triceps to lift the handles toward the ceiling. Keep going until your elbows are locked out.
- Slowly lower the band handles behind your head until you feel an intense stretch in your triceps.
- Flex your triceps again to extend the handles for your next rep.
- Perform 3-5 sets of 15-30 reps in total.
5. Resistance band close grip bench press
There are actually multiple ways to perform a resistance band close grip bench press.
The first way is to sit in a chair, wrap the band around the backrest, and then press it forward as if you were using a chest press machine.
The second option is to lie on a weight bench, hook the band under the backrest, and then press each end of the band as if you were doing a dumbbell press (check out this tricep dumbbell workout for more ideas). This is my preferred method as it most closely mimics the standard CGBP.
The third option is to do the press on the floor by hooking the band under your body.
More on that later.
Finally, you can do a banded close grip bench press if you want to improve your lockout strength. This is definitely an advanced exercise and one that requires an extensive setup.
Here’s my preferred option.
- Lie back on a weight bench and hook your band under the backrest.
- Grab each end of the band and tuck your elbows into your sides.
- Press each side of the band up as if you were lifting two independent dumbbells.
- Keep going until your elbows reach lockout.
- Lower the bands in a controlled manner until they almost touch your chest. This is one rep.
- Perform 3-5 sets of 10-20 reps in total.
6. Resistance band Tate press
If you want to improve your lockout strength and pressing power, then make sure to include the Tate press in your resistance band tricep workout.
Since bands naturally become heavier the more that you stretch them, they’re the ideal piece of equipment to use for the Tate press because the lockout phase of the exercise is really challenging.
I’ll demonstrate the simple way to do this exercise, but another option is to use two separate bands in order to mimic the traditional Tate press, which is performed with dumbbells.
In this scenario, you’d need to anchor/connect your bands to two separate, stable surfaces that are on either side of the bench.
With the option that I’m about to show you, you literally just hook the band under the backrest of the bench and start training.
- Lie back on a weight bench and loop the band under the backrest.
- Grab each end of the band, and then flare your elbows straight out to the sides.
- Flex your triceps forcefully to extend your elbows. Keep going until your arms are completely straight.
- Hold the peak contraction for a second, and then bend your elbows to lower the ends of the band down to your collarbone area.
- Repeat for 3-5 sets of 10-20 reps
7. Resistance band floor press
If you don’t have a bench but still want to blast your triceps, the resistance band floor press should be your exercise of choice. It makes a great addition to any male or female tricep workout.
Although the floor press works your chest and shoulders as well, you can keep the vast majority of the tension on your triceps by maintaining tucked elbows as you press the bands off the floor.
Also, don’t worry too much about the position of the bands and whether or not they touch your chest on the way down. The position of your shoulders and arms is more important; you want to touch the backs of your shoulders/arms to the floor after every rep so that your pushing muscles—chest, front delts, triceps—get a proper growth-stimulating stretch.
Ultimately, the band floor press makes a great addition to any at home tricep workouts or a no weight tricep workout because it literally just requires a resistance band and a place to lie down. You can even perform a floor press in your bed.
- Place a resistance band on the floor and lie in the middle of it.
- Grab each end of the band and tuck your elbows close to your sides.
- Press each end of the band up until your elbows reach complete extension.
- Squeeze your triceps at the top of the rep and then lower the bands back down toward the floor.
- Perform 3-5 sets of 10-20 reps.
8. Banded close-grip push-up
Banded close-grip push-ups make an excellent addition to any muscle-building tricep band workout because they really enable you to overload your triceps with a lot of resistance.
By adding a band to a triceps-dominant push-up, you’ll have to work even harder to lock out each rep. This is especially beneficial for your triceps development because elbow extension—locking out the elbow—is the main function of the triceps brachii.
This particular resistance bands triceps exercise is best performed at the start of your workout because it’s the hardest movement and the one most suited to low rep lifting.
While you can definitely do tricep exercises with a barbell as well, sometimes the basic bodyweight movements are the best. At the very least, resistance band close-grip push-ups and diamond push-ups are highly underrated banded tricep exercises.
- Wrap a band around your back and loop each end around your thumb.
- Get into a close-grip push-up position by putting your hands on the ground, extending your legs back, and tightening your core.
- Lower your chest toward the ground by bending your elbows. Don’t allow your elbows to flare out more than 45-degrees.
- Keep going until your chest touches the floor.
- Press your hands into the ground and flex your triceps to push yourself back up.
- Keep going until your elbows are completely locked out.
- Squeeze your triceps at the top of the rep.
- Perform 3-5 sets of 8-15 reps in total.
9. Resistance band one arm tricep extension
If you want to sculpt triceps that are symmetrical as well as big and muscular, make sure to include the one arm overhead extension in your resistance band triceps workout.
By working each arm separately, you’ll be able to dedicate 100% of your effort and attention to training each of your triceps to the best of your ability. This enhanced focus will enable you to get a better pump and contraction, which is a sign that your triceps are receiving more muscle-building tension.
I recommend starting with your weaker arm so that you can prioritize it when you’re at your freshest.
- Take a single resistance band and stand on one end.
- Grab the other end of the band with one arm and press it over your head.
- Bend your elbow to lower the band behind your neck. Keep going until you feel a deep stretch in the long head of your triceps.
- Reverse the motion by flexing your triceps until your elbow reaches full extension.
- Perform 10-30 reps and then repeat with your other arm. Do 3-5 sets per arm.
Resistance band tricep workout routines
All of these resistance band tricep workouts will help you to gain strength and build muscle while getting a skin-splitting pump in the process.
That said, each routine has a different spin to it, which is reflected in the exercise selection and rep ranges.
Tricep resistance band workout 1: Gain strength
Performing your triceps exercises with bands doesn’t mean lifting light weights; you can still get very strong with a resistance band-only tricep workout.
This particular routine is designed to boost your pressing power by improving your lockout strength. That’s why it’s so important to lock your elbows out during every rep.
The reps start off fairly low so that you can work on your explosive power and really train the fast-twitch muscle fibers in your triceps.
As the session progresses, the reps increase so that you can train your triceps with more quality volume to stimulate a broad range of muscle fibers.
Rest 1-3 minutes between sets or until you feel sufficiently recovered.
1: Resistance band close grip bench press — 3-5 sets of 6-12 reps
2: Resistance band Tate press — 3-5 sets of 8-12 reps
3: Resistance band pushdown — 3-5 sets of 10-15 reps
Resistance band triceps workout 2: Build muscle
Building muscle and gaining strength are very similar goals. However, if you want to maximize triceps hypertrophy, then the long head of the triceps has to be your main priority.
That’s why this 3-exercise triceps workout with resistance bands contains two movements that optimally target the long head (anytime you perform a tricep extension with your shoulders behind/over your head, the long head receives a deep, growth-provoking muscle stretch).
Pushdowns work the long head to an extent. But because they put your shoulders in a neutral position, the lateral head does most of the work.
1: Resistance band skull crusher — 3-5 sets of 10-15 reps
2: Resistance band pushdown — 3-5 sets of 10-15 reps
3: One arm band overhead extension — 3-5 sets of 20-30 reps
Resistance bands tricep workout 3: Get pumped
If you want to get a massive, skin-splitting arm pump, then make sure to do this high rep tricep workout with resistance bands.
Kickbacks create an extremely intense peak contraction in your triceps, which will also help to warm up your elbows.
Then it’s time for a long-head-lateral-head superset for overall triceps development.
Finally, it’s onto the floor press to hit your triceps with some heavy tension. You can also substitute the floor press for a lying extension if you want to keep the tension purely on your triceps.
1: Resistance band kickback — 3 sets of 15-30 reps
2A: Resistance band pushdown — 2-3 sets of 20-30 reps
2B: Resistance band overhead extension — 2-3 sets of 20-30 reps
3: Resistance band floor press — 3 sets of 20-30 reps
Related: Kettlebell triceps exercises│How to use a tricep bar
Conclusion: Should you do your next tricep workout with bands?
As you can see, there are many excellent resistance band tricep exercises that you can perform to grow and strengthen the backs of your arms.
As for which tricep resistance band exercises are the best, it depends on which head of the triceps you need to work on and whether your main goal is gaining strength or building muscle.
Overhead extensions are the superior choice for working the long head of your triceps, whereas pushdowns are better for training the lateral head.
For boosting your pressing power, the Tate press, floor press, and close grip bench press are the best resistance band triceps exercises.
Whichever way you choose to train your triceps with resistance bands, make sure to keep the reps relatively high (15-30) so that you can give your triceps enough time under tension to grow and develop.
- Waller, M., Piper, T., & Miller, J. (2009). Overhead Pressing Power/Strength Movements. Strength & Conditioning Journal, 31(5), 39–49. https://doi.org/10.1519/ssc.0b013e3181b95a49
- Geiger, B. (2021, May 26). 7 Strategies To Target Your Triceps Long Head And Build Bigger Arms! Bodybuilding.Com. https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/7-strategies-to-target-your-triceps-long-head-build-bigger-arms.html