The tricep bar, also known as the hammer curl bar, is one of the more underutilized barbells in the gym. However, if you want bigger arms there is really no better tool than the tricep bar. The neutral grip allows you to protect your wrists while still using heavy weight. In this guide, we will break down the form and benefits of the tricep bar exercises.
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Best Olympic Tricep Bar Exercises
The tricep bar is usually used for arm isolation exercises but can also be used for compound exercises and to isolate other parts of the body as well. For more detailed workouts and programming, check out our tricep bar workout guide.
Tricep Bar Skull Crushers
The triceps bar skull crusher, also known as the lying triceps extension, is one of the most fundamental tricep bar exercises. If you want to really make your tricep muscles pop, you need to be working the long head of the tricep. This is the meatiest portion of the tricep muscle and will do the most to make your arm as a whole look larger. The way you work the long head is with overhead work. The tricep bar skull crusher also gives you the added stability of the bench and the ability to use more weight.
Benefits Of Tricep Bar Skull Crushers
Works long head of the tricep
Added bench stability
Can go very heavy
Safer for wrists
How To Do Tricep Bar Skull Crushers
Position bench and bar: Lay flat on the bench and press the bar up and lockout. Your arms should be straight and the tricep bar should be overhead as if you are locking out at a bench.
Lower the weight: Slowly lower the weight by only bending your elbows. Your upper arm should not be moving. Make sure you control the weight on the way down.
Extend your arm: Once you have gone as far as you can down, you want to bring the weight up by fully extending your arms out again.
Tricep Bar Hammer Curl
The tricep bar is also called the hammer curl because it works great for hammer curls as well. The tricep bar allows you to do hammer curls while working both arms at once and using heavy weight. The hammer curl will serve to work both your bicep and forearm muscles. In particular, it will help your biceps appear wider when viewed from the front.
Benefits Of Tricep Bar Hammer Curl
Easier to load and use than dumbbell hammer curls
Works both biceps and forearms
Make biceps look wide
How To Do Tricep Bar Hammer Curl
Load the bar: Load the bar evenly on both sides.
Get in position: Pick up the bar and stand straight with your core engaged.
Curl the bar: With your palms facing each other, curl the bar towards your chest. Make sure to keep your elbows tucked in.
Lower the weight: Control the weight on the way down and lower it all the way down to get a full range of motion
Tricep Bar Overhead Triceps Extension
Similar to skull crushers, the overhead triceps extension will work the long head of the tricep to give your arm that big, full look. You can do this from either a standing or seated position. The great thing about this exercise is that it also works your shoulder through a large range of motion. So it will also help make your shoulders stronger and more mobile.
Benefits Of Tricep Bar Overhead Triceps Extension
Works long head of the tricep
Easier on wrists
Works shoulder mobility as well
How To Do Overhead Triceps Extension With Tricep Bar
Get in position: Stand or sit tall with your core tight.
Lift the bar: Lift the bar all the way so that your elbows are locked out.
Lower the weight: Slowly lower the weight behind your head. Make sure to control the weight and feel the stretch in your tricep.
Extend your arm: Once you have gone down as far as you can, lift the bar back up by extending your arm. By the end of the rep, you should return to the locked-out position.
Tricep Bar Front Raise
The tricep bar front raise is a great way to feel the burn and grow your front delts.The benefit of the tricep bar here is that you can grow both arms at once and go heavier than you would be able to with cables or dumbbells.
Benefits Of Tricep Bar Front Raise
Gives shoulders a full, round look
Can go heavier than other front raise variations
Can work both shoulders at once
How To Do Triceps Bar Front Raise
Get into position: Stand tall with your core tight.
Raise the bar: With your arms straight, raise the bar until your elbows and shoulders are in line. Take a moment to squeeze your shoulders at the top of the rep.
Lower the weight: Slowly lower the weight back down. Your arms should still be straight for the entire time.
Tricep Bar Bent Over Row
Unlike regular barbell rows, the tricep bar row can be comfortable on your shoulders and wrists. Also, the neutral grip means that you can get a better contraction on your lats. Since the tricep bar also has a smaller footprint, it also means you can do rows in smaller spaces like a home gym or a crowded gym.
Benefits Of Tricep Bar Bent Over Row
Neutral grip helps with lat contraction
Easier on wrists and shoulders
Takes up less space than a barbell row
How To Do Tricep Bar Bent Over Row
Get in position: Bend over at about a 45-degree angle. Allow your arms to hang down. Keep your spine neutral and core engaged.
Row: Row the weight up by pulling from your elbow. Stop when the bar touched your stomach. Make sure to not use momentum.
Lower the weight: Slowly lower the weight back down. Allow your arms to fully extend so you get a stretch in your lats.
Tricep Bar Overhead Press
Sometimes also referred to as the tricep bar shoulder press, the tricep bar overhead press is a more tricep-focused version of the overhead press. The neutral grips ensure that your shoulders and wrists are in a safer position. People with shoulder injuries often find that this version of pressing is more comfortable. Even if you can do regular shoulder presses, the neutral grip will add variation to your training and give you a different type of stimulus.
Benefits Of Tricep Bar Overhead Press
Less stressful on shoulders and wrists
Works triceps more than regular shoulder press
Add variation to your pressing
How To Do Tricep Bar Overhead Press
Get into position: This can be done seated or standing but make sure your torso is upright and your core is engaged. Lift the bar up so that it is resting on your chest.
Press: Press the bar up over your head. Make sure you move your head back so that you allow the bar to pass. Press the weight until your arms are locked out.
Lower the weight: Slowly lower the weight down towards your chest. Again move your head out of the way so that the bar can pass. Make sure the bar is balanced at the bottom of the rep.
Tricep Bar Bench Press
The tricep bar bench press is essentially just a close-grip bench press with a neutral grip. You are still going to get plenty of activation in your chest muscles, but the neutral grip will transfer most of the load to your triceps. The neutral grip will also mean less stress on your shoulders and wrists.
Benefits Of Tricep Bar Bench Press
Less shoulder and wrist pain
More tricep activation than the regular bench press
Carryover to regular bench press
How To Do Tricep Bar Bench Press
Get into position: Lye flat on the bench and position the bar so that it is on your chest
Press: Press the weight up until your arms are locked out
Lower the weight: Slowly lower the weight back down toward your chest
Tricep Bar Benefits
The tricep bar can provide you with a few key benefits and advantages over your regular barbell
The triceps bar is called that for a reason. It is almost custom for various tricep exercises like skull crushers or extensions. Even when you do more compound movements like presses, the majority of the load will still be put on your triceps muscles.
This will do a lot for your overall look. The tricep makes up about 2/3 of your upper arms. So with enough Olympic triceps bar work, you should a dramatic difference.
Safer For Shoulders And Wrists
The problem with barbell triceps exercises is that they tend to put lots of pressure on your shoulders and wrists. If you had previous injuries, this can be really bothersome for you. Thanks to the neutral grip of the tricep bar, you can do the same movements with less stress on these joints.
Compared to other specialty bars and barbells, the tricep bar is fairly inexpensive in value and utility and provides. For home gym owners, the tricep bar is a great way to add lots of variation to your exercises for little cost.
The tricep bar is a very versatile piece of equipment. The neutral grips make it a perfect arm isolation tool but do not limit yourself just there. The tricep bar can be used for all sorts of compound exercises to work muscles besides those found in your arms. If you have a tricep bar, make sure to get your rep in!
Find The Best Tricep Bar
After years of testing, we assembled a master list with the best tricep bars for every home gym owner
Can you do curls with a tricep bar?
Yes, this is known as a hammer curl. This form of curl will work both your biceps and forearms.
Can you use a tricep bar for chest?
Yes, you can bench press with the tricep bar. This will work your chest but will still be more tricep biased than a regular bench press.
How Much Does A Tricep Bar Weigh?
A tricep bar weighs between 20-40 pounds depending on the manufacturer. The most common weight is 25 pounds.
How To Use A Tricep Bar?
For most tricep bar exercises, ensure that your palms are facing each other and that your elbows stay tucked in next to your side.