The triceps make up two-thirds of your upper arms and therefore lend quite a bit to their overall appearance, size and strength. Consisting of three muscle heads -- the long, medial and lateral -- the triceps serve to extend your elbows, such as in a pushing motion, as you would do during activities like tennis, basketball and gymnastics. Performing exercises that work all three heads of the muscle group while utilizing resistance can help you to maximize the development of your triceps.
Warm up with 10 minutes of cardiovascular exercise -- such as jogging, cycling or jumping rope -- before beginning your strength training session. Complete one 10- to 12-repetition set of push-ups to activate your triceps.
Attach a straight bar to a high pulley cable to perform cable push-downs. Set your resistance level, which should allow you to perform between eight and 12 repetitions with proper form. Stand approximately 12 inches away from the pulley, facing the bar. Separate your feet to hip-width apart and slightly bend the knees. Engage your abdominal muscles, elongate your back and push the shoulder blades down and away from your ears. Take hold of the bar with a close overhand grip. Tuck your elbows in to the sides of your torso. Push the bar down toward the ground as your arms straighten, keeping the elbow joints soft. Hold the contraction for one count at the bottom of the exercise and then allow the bar to rise back up to starting position. Complete three sets of eight to 12 repetitions.
Perform overhead extensions using a single dumbbell. Stand in a split-stance position with one foot approximately 6 inches in front of the other and feet separated by hip width. Contract your stomach muscles and elongate your spine. To maintain a neutral neck, avoid tilting your head up or down. Wrap both hands around the dumbbell handle and extend your arms straight over your head. Push the shoulder blades down your back. Bend your elbows and lower the dumbbell behind your head, keeping your upper arms and elbows stationary. Extend the dumbbell over your head for one repetition. You should feel the contraction in your triceps as you lift the weight toward the ceiling. Complete three sets of eight to 12 repetitions.
Stretch your triceps and all other muscles that you trained for 10 to 15 minutes following your workout to assist with recovery. Use slow gradual movements when stretching and avoid forcing your muscles to stretch farther than their natural ability.
Train your triceps two to three times per week, allowing at least 48 hours recovery time between sessions. Complete three to four sets of two to three exercises per session.
Consult with your physician before starting a new workout plan. Inform your doctor of any injuries or chronic health conditions.