4 Resistance Band Exercises to Build Tricep Strength

4 Resistance Band Exercises to Build Tricep Strength
Got a goal to destroy your bench press PR? Some tricep accessory work will help and these 4 resistance band tricep exercises are a good place to start!

In the first three parts of this series, we covered how to get your triceps stronger for the bench press utilizing barbells, dumbbells, and kettlebells.

In this last segment we will cover different tricep exercises using resistance bands.

The bands are a great way to keep joints feeling healthy, as they are low impact when it comes to your elbows and shoulders.

It is also very easy to add or remove the amount of tension just by changing hand position, making these a beneficial option in a number of regards.

These exercises can be done during the workout or also at home on off days to get some extra volume in your triceps, which is another reason why I like utilizing bands for different tricep workouts.

Their versatility is great and that can really prove to be effective in helping build your bench press.

The best bands to get would be from Westside Barbell or Elite FTS. These bands are designed to withstand abuse from lifters and will last for a long time for normal use from lifters, another nod to their convenience.

Related: 8 Lessons Learned from the Strongest Lifters at Westside Barbell

The movements can be done almost anywhere, making it perfect for a quick off day workout if you’re really prioritizing increasing your tricep and bench press strength. It’s also important to note that the band exercises I featured here will be higher volume than the other exercise because it is for hypertrophy (muscle growth).

1. Band Pushdown

Everyone has done pushdowns on a cable machine before, and it’s certainly a go-to when it comes to tricep exercises. When I began coaching at Denison University, we didn't have cable machines, but we had a lot of bands, so we began using those for pushdowns.

After using bands for pushdowns for years, I now prefer it to a cable machine for a couple of reasons. The biggest is on a cable machine, you will lose tension when you lock your arms out at the bottom of the movement. With bands that is when you have the most tension during the movement and that translates perfectly to the bench press.

Pushdowns with bands really emphasize tricep and lockout strength, and bands are far better than a cable machine in that regard. To add a twist to the band pushdown, at the bottom try to spread the band apart. By doing this you will flex the tricep even harder, which again, is a benefit for building strength.

You can also make it tougher by adding a static hold at bottom for different lengths of time followed by high reps. For example, do 20 reps and at the end of the 20th rep, you hold the movement at the bottom for 20 seconds. This is really challenging – and you get a tremendous amount of bloodflow in the area – but the results have been really good for our lifters.

SET AND REP PROTOCOL:
  • Max Effort Day: 5 sets of 20-30 reps
  • Dynamic Effort Day (or off day): 2-4 sets of 30-50 reps

2. Overhead Tricep Extension

To do this, you face away from a power rack and hold the band overhead. From there, you just flex the triceps until arms are locked out.

With these, it is very important that the elbows remain up and in and the shoulders don't move to keep constant tension on the triceps. You want all the tension on the triceps through the whole motion, which obviously is the point of these exercises.

Like I mentioned above, you can still add the static holds at lockout to fatigue the muscle. Going the overhead route will really blow your triceps out quickly, but they translate really well to the bench press.

With these, when using high reps you can use your body to help get a few extra reps that wouldn't be possible otherwise.

SET AND REP PROTOCOL:
  • Max Effort Day: 4-6 sets 10-20 reps
  • Dynamic Effort Day (or off day): 4-6 sets 15-25 reps

3. One Arm Pushdown

These are the same as the band pushdown, but you will be using one arm at a time. Since you're only using one arm, you will need a lighter band.

In most instances, we will use either a mini or monster mini band instead of an average band. Despite the lighter band, you can build some great tricep strength and hypertrophy with these.

I prefer this exercise when I’m heavy into a training cycle and need some recovery work after heavy benching. You can get in a lot of work and a lot of reps with very minimal wear and tear, making it a great finisher on your heaviest bench press days. With this you can use a half static variation to get extra work in.

SET AND REP PROTOCOL:
  • Max Effort Day: 4-6 sets 20-30 reps
  • Dynamic Effort Day (or off day): Same

4. Overhead Band Extension with Two Bands

This is same as the overhead extension, but now you're holding one in each hand, which is a different dynamic I’ve enjoyed incorporating.

This makes controlling the movement a little bit tougher, really making you focus on the tricep moving the band. You can also use a half static hold on this movement as well, just be sure your body doesn't twist when doing so.

We will usually use the half static reps once we are fatigued at the end of the bench workout. Again, avoid body movement and keep elbows pointed in and up to get the most out of the movement.

SET AND REP PROTOCOL:
  • Max Effort Day: 4-6 sets 15-20 reps
  • Dynamic Effort Day (or off day): 4-6 sets 20-30 reps

Wrap Up

The biggest advantage to the bands is for people who either train at home or a gym without cable systems. For around $100 you can have two of each band that you would want.

Here’s a small tip for using bands for tricep training: do 50-100 band pushdowns every day in addition to normal training. This is solely for building muscle in your triceps. It’s quick (like 5-10 minutes max quick) and the benefits can be big. Having muscle size will help stabilize weights when you get heavier.

Related: Learning From Louie - Building a Westside Workout From Home

Take these exercises and rotate them and there is no way your bench won’t move up. More importantly, combine all of the exercises we’ve talked about with barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells and resistance bands, and find new ways to attack your tricep.

Being versatile and applying all of the movements from the 4-part series to your training arsenal and cycle is a surefire way to make your triceps strong. And, ultimately, that means a much bigger bench press.