Does bench press work triceps? Who Should Bench Press Triceps Only?

Is the bench press sufficient for triceps development? For advanced lifters, those with time constraints, or lifters who have trouble recovering, the bench press will suffice.

Lifters with a weaker bench press lockout, physique ambitions, or who are just starting out in their training should include overhead extensions to their routine.

Does bench press work triceps
Does bench press work triceps

Also, if you’re only going to bench press for your triceps, stick to the close grip bench press, as studies have shown that a narrower grip produces the most triceps activation of any bench press grip.

Triceps: The Muscle with Three Heads

There are three muscular heads in the triceps: lateral, medial, and long.

Triceps: The Muscle with Three Heads
Triceps: The Muscle with Three Heads

Your upper arm gives rise to the lateral and medial heads, while your shoulder blade gives rise to the long head. The three heads then fuse together form a tendon that attaches to the bone of your elbow. As a result, the lateral and medial heads only span one joint (the elbow joint), but the long head crosses two (the elbow and the shoulder joint).

Because of the differences in architecture, it’s been hypothesized that distinct heads of the triceps require different activities to be properly trained.

A recent study offers some much-needed insight on this topic, as well as how different exercises affect your triceps. Furthermore, it demonstrates that one of the most often used upper-body workouts in the gym is insufficient for tricep development.

Bench press for Triceps Only: Advantages and Disadvantages


Bench press for Triceps Only: Advantages and Disadvantages
  • You Save Time: Benching only for the triceps saves time. The time you would have spent on 2-3 other triceps exercises might be put to better use in other parts of your training or in other areas of your life.
  • You Can Recover Faster: Those that workout more frequently will recover faster and be ready for their next session sooner. This can be beneficial for powerlifters who bench 3 or more times per week because they won’t have under recovered or sore triceps going into the following bench workout.


  • You Might End Up With Weaker Triceps: If you’re a newbie with limited training experience, your triceps may be a weak spot. Stronger triceps can help you lock out more effectively if you have strength goals in the bench press.
  • You’re Ignoring Your Long Head: The longest section of your triceps is the long head. Training or disregarding this has a significant impact on the size of your triceps for individuals with physique objectives.

Who Should Bench Press Triceps Only?

You should only bench press for triceps in the following situations:

Who Should Bench Press Triceps Only?
  • Lifters on a Tight Schedule
  • Lifters with Restrictions on Their Equipment
  • Those Who Are Having a Hard Time Recovering
  • Lifters with a lot of experience

Lifters on a Tight Schedule

Due to unforeseen circumstances, we may have less time to train than others. In these situations, skipping the other 2-3 triceps exercises may be the best option.

Perhaps you’re an accountant nearing the conclusion of the fiscal year or a student approaching final exams.

Individuals may need to save time, and in these instances, the bench press will suffice for triceps.

Remember that maintaining muscle hypertrophy (size increases) or strength is far easier and requires significantly less effort than building it initially.

Lifters with Restrictions on Their Equipment

For many people, training at home or in a garage gym is becoming increasingly popular.

Gyms also differ in terms of the equipment they have, with many focusing on specialized equipment for their specific activities rather than having a large selection of machines or cable setups.

As a result, the number of triceps exercises you can do may be limited.

There are, however, a number of exercises you can do with just a barbell and a bench, or without any equipment at all:

  • Crushers of skulls
  • Plate-Mounted Overhead Extensions
  • Push-ups with a Narrow Grip

Those Who Are Having a Hard Time Recovering

Those Who Are Having a Hard Time Recovering

If you have painful triceps from your previous bench press exercise, it could be a sign that you are doing too much.

If the added triceps work isn’t allowing you to recuperate between sessions, then the bench press should suffice.

This is particularly obvious in powerlifters who bench press more frequently (3-5 times per week).

The recuperation period is quicker since the time between sessions is shorter.

After your bench press, the extra triceps work you’re performing might be doing more harm than good.

Lifters with a lot of experience

For advanced lifters, bench press may be sufficient for triceps.

Those with a more developed physique, a stronger bench press, and a longer training history.

While some lifters may require more to promote hypertrophy at an advanced level, they may not need to concentrate on triceps development and will be able to get by with just the bench press.

Advanced lifters are usually aware of their own weaknesses.

If their triceps aren’t a weakness in the bench press or in their physique, they can focus their efforts on other areas.

Does bench press work triceps: Review

Does bench press work triceps: Review

I do a lot of bench press and my triceps are becoming tired, but is this workout enough to work the triceps?

I can’t think of many other triceps exercises that are as effective as this one, especially since I only have dumbbells to work with. My elbows hurt a lot when I do triceps extensions, and I can’t feel my triceps at all when I do skullcrushers.

Dips work my triceps a lot, but I’m not sure how effective they are because they’re more of a bodyweight exercise.

3 Things to Think About If You Only Do Bench Press For Triceps

If you’re solely going to bench press for triceps, keep these three factors in mind:

3 Things to Think About If You Only Do Bench Press For Triceps
  • A narrower grip, shoulder width apart, will target your triceps more effectively than a broader grip bench. If you bench many times a week, you can take advantage of this by include a narrow grip session.
  • Rep Ranges: Experiment with different rep ranges. A heavy day with 6-8 reps and a lighter day with 10-12 reps is recommended.
  • Triceps-targeting variations include: Because the triceps are most commonly employed at the top range of the bench press, you can use variations that overload and target this muscle group. Changing your grip breadth can also result in more tricep activation.

Is Bench Pressing Better Than Tricep Extensions for Triceps?

The researchers enlisted 50 guys between the ages of 18 and 35 who hadn’t lifted weights in at least six months for this study.

The subjects’ bench press and lying barbell tricep extensions strength (1RM) were tested, as well as the cross-sectional area of their pecs and triceps using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Furthermore, the researchers employed an MRI to determine the individual diameters of the three triceps muscle heads: lateral, medial, and long heads.

Following the preliminary testing, the individuals were separated into four groups. The only variation between the groups was the activities they were supposed to practice.

The four different training groups were:

Is Bench Pressing Better Than Tricep Extensions for Triceps?
  • Bench press is a form of resistance training.
  • Extensions of the triceps
  • Tricep extensions + bench press
  • Bench press + Tricep extensions

The individuals exercised twice a week for ten weeks, doing three to five sets each exercise (depending on the week) and lifting roughly 80% of their 1RM till failure.

They went through another set of testing after ten weeks to evaluate how the outcomes compared.

F.A.Q does bench press work triceps:

Will triceps grow from bench press?

The bench press is more effective than tricep extensions at working the lateral head of your triceps. Tricep extensions work the long and medial head of your triceps better than the bench press. To work all heads of your triceps, combine bench pressing with tricep extensions.

How much does bench press work triceps?

The close grip bench press is the eighth most effective triceps exercise, with around 62 percent muscle activation. 1 This move also involves a lot of chest work, which could explain why the triceps aren’t working as hard as they are in other exercises.

Is dumbbell bench press good for triceps?

The dumbbell bench press engages muscular groups all over your upper body, including your triceps, pectoral muscles (particularly the pectoralis major), and anterior deltoids, when done correctly. Bench presses with dumbbells provide a broad range of motion.


This was a fascinating study that revealed a number of interesting facts:

  • The lateral head of the tricep is adequately worked by the bench press, but not the medial or long head.
  • The long and medial heads of the triceps are efficiently worked with lying barbell tricep extensions, but the lateral head is not.
  • Both exercises train the entire tricep muscle well when performed together.
  • Benching before triceps training hurts pec growth, whereas benching before triceps training doesn’t seem to affect tricep growth as much. Compound lifts are the way to go!
  • Adding tricep training to bench pressing had no effect on the 1RM of the bench press.

While bench pressing does work the triceps, the effect appears to be concentrated on the lateral head. Tricep extensions should be included in your workout to work your entire triceps.

And this article will help you answer the following questions about does bench press work triceps:

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  • close grip bench press
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Field John

If you are an avid believer in health and fitness and want to do something for your team, I can help. As the founder of Field Goals Fitness, I lead a collective of health and fitness professionals dedicated to helping Australians lead a more active and healthier lifestyle. With a warm, friendly, and supportive approach that gets results, I enjoy helping individuals & organisations achieve sustainable success with their health and fitness goals. Certifying as a Personal Trainer in 2009, was a turning point in my life. I had spent 14 years in the corporate world in Business Development roles and decided to take all that I had learnt in sales and marketing and start my own business.

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