Training

Unilateral Triceps Training

Apply the techniques of unilateral training successfully to other bodyparts as well. Here are five unilateral triceps training exercises that will add serious size to your arms.

October 29, 2012

By Bill Geiger, MA

Apply all the concepts outlined in our unilateral back training article to your triceps routine and watch those horseshoes grow!


Cable Kickback


Cable Kickback


What’s the Change?


Kickbacks are by nature one-arm moves, but the cable version is plenty different from the dumbbell one in that you get constant tension on the muscle from the bottom to the top of the range of motion as the angle of pull is coming from a downward angle, not straight down. With a cable you can also use an underhand or overhand grip besides the neutral grip.

Power Pointer


Dropping your elbow as you lower the weight is a common mistake that inadvertently recruits the delts.

One-Arm Reverse-Grip Pressdown


One-Arm Reverse-Grip Pressdowns


What’s the Change?


Very little change from the bilateral version, you get a little more freedom to where you want to pull the handle, which can provide more wrist comfort and a slightly longer range of motion. You can also use your free hand to self-spot to do reps past muscle failure.

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Because you can’t use much weight with this medial head triceps exercise, do it last in your workout.

One-Arm Pressdown


One-Arm Pressdown


What’s the Change?


While there’s not a huge difference in execution with the two-handed version, by doing your pressdowns one arm at a time you can correct strength imbalances between the sides, which can be hidden when you do all your triceps moves bilaterally. The slightly longer range of motion and greater freedom to where you push the bar are also benefits of this cable alternate.

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As a burnout, try going back and forth between sides without resting for up to 5–6 sets.

One-Arm Cable Skullcrusher


One-Arm Cable Skullcrusher


What’s the Change?


Not only do you get the benefits of the cable over the free-bar version but also from doing it unilaterally. All told, this is probably a unique move that you’ve never tried before.

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Once you hit muscle failure, use your free hand to self-spot a few extra forced reps.

One-Arm Overhead Dumbbell Extension



What’s the Change?


For any bodybuilder with shoulder issues, the freedom to move the weight to varying degrees can ease pain, something not afforded by the two-hand version. You can also use your free-hand to self-spot a few extra reps past failure. The standing version allows you to use just a bit more body english than the seated version.

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With your arm overhead and elbow pointed toward the ceiling, the emphasis is on the triceps long head.