Two thirds of our upper arm muscles consist of the triceps. So if you want to have stronger, muscular or simply firmer arms you need to work directly on your triceps. Also, if your goal is to get better at pressing movements direct triceps work is essential. First time I tried bands for triceps training it was tough! I never felt my triceps working that much with free weights or body weight. Since then, bands are my go-to tool for training triceps and I will explain to you why.
In this article we will cover how to perform a perfect triceps kickback with bands, as well as what other variations you can incorporate in your training. We will also cover how you can progress by adding more resistance and multiple tips we came up with by training with resistance band for years.
We start by showing you the right way of doing triceps kickbacks. In the second part of the article we then cover variations and great tips to help you maximize your performance and get a great workout.
Triceps Kickbacks With Resistance Band
Then here we go, let’s get your triceps game to the next level!
Band VS Weights & Machine
Doing your triceps kickbacks with a resistance band gives you several advantages over doing them with a free weights.
- Follow the natural strength curve of your muscle! The resistance of a band will always increase the more you stretch it and that’s also the natural strength curve of your muscle, having the most power in the full contraction. With free weights, you often fatigue in the expanded part of your muscle without fully fatiguing the whole muscle.
Especially in the starting position we are weaker than in the finishing position. Band are perfect, since they provide less resistance at the start of the movement and maximize the resistance at the end where we are the strongest.
- Fewer Injuries & Home Workout! Recovering from an injury? Use bands! Want to build bigger and better triceps? Use bands! Since bands force you to perform the exercise with a good form simply by using them, this will provide an automatic injury prevention. Nice!
A home gym or even dumbbells need space, bands on the other hand can be stored in any drawer or in a small bag. Especially if you have little space for working out, bands are perfect.
- Versatility! With one band you can simulate a variety of resistances depending on the stretch and also use it to train your whole body.
There are also more reasons to favor resistance bands over traditional free weights or machines, like reducing the stress on your joints, getting more peak contraction, and many more. But we’re talking here about doing triceps kickbacks, so if you’re interested in background info about what benefits resistance bands give you in strength training and muscle building, check it out here.
How To Triceps Kickback The Right Way
We will take the version where you do the triceps kickbacks with both arms as our base. Further down we will show you alternatives which are performed uni laterally. First you need to fix the band. The easiest way and a version you can perform anywhere is to step on the band with both feet. From here you grab the band with both hands so you feel some resistance in the starting (bottom) position. Lean forward until your upper body is almost parallel to the ground and move your elbows, so that your upper arms are aligned with your upper body.
In a triceps kickback you will only move your forearms and hands. The elbows stay in place and don’t move. Keep that in mind or you will use your back muscles to help out. We don’t want that to happen, since we are training triceps!
Move your hands backwards until you lock your elbows and you feel the squeeze in the triceps. Hold the position at the top with extended elbows for a second. Then return to the starting position by bending your elbows lowering your hands slowly.
You can also use a door anchor to perform the exercise at home or use a tree or a bar on a playground if you want to do it outside. The height of the fixing point should be around the height of your hip. From here you will position yourself in a way that the band is already stretched and has some tension in the starting position. And the rest is the same as described above.
That’s basically the triceps kickbacks folks. Not too complicated in theory, but it takes quite some time to perfect the form. There are actually some tweaks to this exercise that I have listed below so make sure to check them out
Important Do’s & Don’ts!!!
No Slack – when you’re in the starting position of your triceps kickback, there shouldn’t be any slack in the band. Make sure that the band is already stretched in the starting position and doesn’t have any slack. This will ensure that the triceps are working throughout the movement.
If it is not possible for you to kickback up completely without compromising the form you need to use a lighter resistance band (below you find tips how to increase the force with a lighter resistance band).
Swinging your elbows – this is the most-common mistake with this exercise, especially if you chose a band with a resistance which is too high. Your elbows should stay in place right next to your upper body and don’t move throughout the movement. Your body will try to move your elbows, because then it can use the back muscles to assist. But we don’t want that to happen. We want to isolate the triceps.
If you have problems doing triceps kickbacks as shown above, please check below some alternative ways that will help you find the perfect triceps kickback variation with resistance bands for you.
Alternative Ways To Triceps Kickback With Resistance Bands
With every version of an exercise, you will find people that really like it and others that don’t like it that much. If you have problems with the triceps kickback version as shown above (while executing it the right way), you might want to try one of the following variations.
Uni Lateral Triceps Kickbacks – The uni lateral versions of the triceps kickback are great to focus on one side at a time and really feel your triceps working. It is also great to correct any imbalances you might have between your right and left side. Give it a try!
Simply step on the band with one foot and place the other behind you to get s stable position. It doesn’t really matter which foot is in front and which is in the back. Both work. From here perform the movement as described above.
Uni Lateral Bench Triceps Kickbacks – Using a bench (or a chair) might be a great idea, especially if you are new to the movement. It will help you to concentrate fully on your arm movement and you don’t need to worry about balance.
By placing one knee and a hand on the bench you will be in locked stable position and can focus on squeezing the triceps.
Uni Lateral Standing Triceps Kickbacks – In case you don’t want to lean over to any reason what so ever, we got you covered.
Triceps kickbacks can be performed standing upright. Simply step on the band, pull the band with one arm to the height of your lower chest, move your elbow slightly backwards and fix it in this position. Now move your hand backwards until you lock your elbow.
Get Your Pump
If that doesn’t get you that pump, here are some tips that will help you work those triceps to the ground.
Shorten The Band – many people make the mistake to use a band with a resistance level that’s simply too high for the exercise. The full effect of bands results from getting the right resistance and if you use a band that’s too heavy you can’t get a clean range-of-motion and clean reps and get lower progress.
Instead of taking a stronger band simply shorten the band, you use and you can do that perfectly by wrapping it around your hand once or twice and get the extra resistance without losing the ability to do clean reps.
That’s also one reason why I don’t like the resistance bands with handles attached to it and prefer the loop-style bands.
Take A Step Back – if you’re using a door anchor or any other way of fixing your band, you can adjust the resistance simply by taking a step back. This will stretch the band further and add resistance. The best thing about this tip is… You can do it mid set. Want more resistance? Take a step back! You are at the end of your set and the form starts to get ugly? Take a step forward! Easy.
Double Time – If you feel that there is only a little bit of resistance missing and a jump to the next thicker band would be too much, simply add a second one of the lighter ones. It will give just that extra resistance you’re looking for without taking it over the top.
Time Under Tension – compared to weights where you have the same force applied to any position of the movement, bands will add more resistance the further you stretch them – this will lower the time under tension your muscle has during a set in the starting position. Focus on doing the exercise controlled and try to hold it for a second or two in the fully contracted position and don’t let the band snap back but slowly go back to the starting position.
Full Arm Workout
Triceps kickbacks are great to isolate the triceps and give you a great pump. For building strength they are not the best. Also, the biceps needs some loving too. We have here a full arms workout with different exercises that will give you the strongest pump you can ever think of and keep you healthy for years to come – check it out here.