6 Shoulder & Tricep Workout To Strengthen Your Upper Body 2024

Do you want to build a bigger set of arms but find it difficult to schedule those arms day workouts that you know will blow up your physique? 

Well, what if I told you that there was a way to create a monster shoulder and tricep workout that would not only condense your time in the gym but also increase muscle growth and recovery?

In this article, we are going to discuss the shoulders and triceps workout, including the benefits, step-by-step exercise tutorials, and professional tips to save you time and maximize muscle growth.

Shoulder And Triceps Workout For A Smoking Upper Body

Six Shoulder And Triceps Workouts In 2024

Below are some of the best shoulder tricep exercises for building bigger, stronger arms, including the correct technique, optimal repetition ranges, and more.

Standing Dumbbell Lateral Raise

The dumbbell lateral raises are an upper-body exercise that adds width to your shoulders. By lifting the dumbbells laterally out to the sides, you target your lateral deltoids, which will help you sculpt round shoulders.   

shoulder and tricep workout
Standing Dumbbell Lateral Raise Instruction. Photo: Aliaksandr Makatserchyk

How to do

  1. Start by grabbing a pair of dumbbells and stand upright with the dumbbells resting at your sides with palms facing your body.
  2. Gently engage your shoulder blades back and down to make a proud chest.
  3. To begin, lift the dumbbells out toward your sides until your arms are parallel to the floor.
  4. Hold for a moment at the top position and then gradually lower them back down to your sides.
  5. Repeat that movement with good form for the recommended number of repetitions.

Tips

  • Focus on breathing for the duration of the set. Breathing out as you lift the weights and breathing in as you lower them.
  • Keep your chest up and tense your core muscles for the duration of the exercise. This will provide you with a stable base and improve your capacity to lift the dumbbells.
  • Maintain a slight bend in the elbow and perform both the lifting and lowering phases of the movement in a controlled motion.

Optimal Sets and Reps

Training StyleSetsReps
Strength Training4 – 63 – 5
Hypertrophy3 – 48 – 12
Endurance Training2 – 315 – 20
Power Training3 – 51 – 3

Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press

The seated dumbbell shoulder press is an excellent upper-body exercise for increasing muscle mass and strength. It is one of the more popular dumbbell shoulder exercises that primarily works the shoulders and engages the triceps by lifting the weight overhead, making it great for developing pressing strength. 

shoulder and tricep workout
Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press Instruction. Photo: Aliaksandr Makatserchyk

How to do

  1. Begin by setting your bench to the upright position. 
  2. Grab your dumbbells off the rack and place them on the floor at the front on the bench.
  3. Sit down on the bench in an upright position with your back flat on the bench and place your feet shoulder-width apart.
  4. Grab a dumbbell in each hand and rest them vertically on your thighs.
  5. Lift the dumbbells and start the movement by bending your elbows and allowing them to bend out toward your sides.
  6. Then press them directly over your head so that your arms are straight and at the midline of your body without locking out your arms.
  7. Start the movement by bending your elbows and allowing them to bend out toward your sides.
  8. Gradually lower the dumbbells until your elbows are bent at a 90° angle and your upper arms are parallel with the floor.
  9. Once they have reached this position, press the dumbbell back up over your head to the midline of the body without the weights touching.

Tips

  • While seated, maintain an upright position and engage your core muscles. This will help improve core stability[1] and your ability to press the weight overhead.
  • Avoid locking out your elbows when the dumbbells are overhead. This will reduce unwanted pressure on your joints.
  • Keep your wrist over your elbows and your forearm vertical for the duration of the exercise. This will improve your ability to control the dumbbells through the entire range of motion.
  • Focus on your breathing, inhaling as you lower and exhaling as you press.

Optimal Sets and Reps

Training StyleSetsReps
Strength Training4 – 63 – 5
Hypertrophy3 – 48 – 12
Endurance Training2 – 315 – 20
Power Training3 – 51 – 3

Standing Dumbbell Arnold Press

The standing dumbbell Arnold press is a monster of a shoulder exercise made famous by Arnold Schwarzenegger. 

It is one of the great shoulder compound exercises, as it targets the shoulders and triceps and builds overhead strength. It also only requires a set of dumbbells, meaning you can do it almost anywhere, even for those shoulder workouts at home.

shoulder and tricep workout
Standing Dumbbell Arnold Press Instruction. Photo: Aliaksandr Makatserchyk

How to do

  1. In the standing position, grab your dumbbells and, using an underhand grip, curl the dumbbells up so that they are chest height, facing toward you.
  2. Begin pressing the dumbbell upward and simultaneously rotating them so that your palms are facing forward, finishing with arms straight and directly overhead.
  3. Once complete, lower the dumbbells down and rotate them so that they are facing toward you at the starting position.
  4. Repeat for remaining repetitions.  

Tips

  • Press the dumbbells overhead with control, avoid knocking them together, and ensure your elbows finish with a slight bend.
  • Maintain an upright posture for the duration of the set. This will improve your shoulder range of motion.
  • Brace your core and exhale as you press the dumbbells overhead.

Optimal Sets and Reps

Training StyleSetsReps
Strength Training4 – 63 – 5
Hypertrophy3 – 48 – 12
Endurance Training2 – 315 – 20
Power Training3 – 51 – 3

Lying EZ Bar Tricep Extension

The lying EZ bar tricep extension is an incredible exercise for targeting the triceps. Fondly known as skull crushers, this exercise uses a similar lying position to a dumbbell bench press and many other chest exercises. 

This makes it excellent for isolating the triceps for serious muscle growth, making it a popular choice for any barbell triceps workout.

Lying Ez Bar Tricep Extension
Lying EZ Bar Tricep Extension Guide. Photo: Aliaksandr Makatserchyk

How to do

  1. Grab the bar hip-width apart with an overhand grip and sit down on a flat bench.
  2. Lie back on the bench and press the bar straight up so they are directly over your shoulders, with your palms facing each other.
  3. Slowly lower the bar toward your head while keeping your upper arm vertical.
  4. Lower the bar until your elbow is bent at a 45° angle and the bar touches your forehead.
  5. Then lift the bar up and slowly return it to the starting position.
  6. Repeat for your remaining repetitions.

Tips

  • Begin with a lighter weight to increase blood flow to the working muscles, and gradually add more weight once you are comfortable with the movement pattern.
  • When lowering the bar, focus on how your tricep stretches during the lowering phase and tenses as you lift the bar to improve your mind-muscle connection.
  • Focus on breathing, inhaling as you lower the weight and exhaling as you lift it back up.
  • Keep your feet firmly planted on the floor and your core engaged for the duration of the exercise.
  • It is also a great idea to add this movement to days when you train the chest, as you will already target the three muscle groups: chest, triceps, and shoulders.

Optimal Sets and Reps

Training StyleSetsReps
Strength Training4 – 63 – 5
Hypertrophy3 – 48 – 12
Endurance Training2 – 315 – 20
Power Training3 – 51 – 3

Seated Dumbbell Tricep Extension

The seated dumbbell tricep extension is one of the best dumbbell tricep exercises for a shoulder workout. Using two hands to hold the dumbbell behind your head allows for improved control and increased range of motion. Adding a bench with back support also improves stability and allows you to focus on creating a quality contraction with each repetition to maximize results.   

shoulder and tricep workout
Seated Dumbbell Tricep Extension Instruction. Photo: Aliaksandr Makatserchyk

How to do

  1. Grab a dumbbell, sit down on the bench, and position your back firmly against the back support. 
  2. Using both hands, hold the dumbbell vertically, with each hand supporting the top end of the dumbbell.
  3. Press the dumbbell directly overhead to the starting position.
  4. Begin by allowing your elbows to bend and gently lower the weight behind your head.
  5. Lower until your elbows are bent at 90°.
  6. Then, lift the dumbbell back up until your elbow is fully extended.
  7. Repeat for the rest of the set. 

Tips

  • Aim to remain upright with a proud chest and engage your core for the duration of the movement.
  • Keep your upper arm vertical and your elbows tucked to the side of your head for the duration of the set. This will help you isolate the triceps. 
  • Start with a lighter weight, focus on technique, and gradually increase weight.

Optimal Sets and Reps

Training StyleSetsReps
Strength Training4 – 63 – 5
Hypertrophy3 – 48 – 12
Endurance Training2 – 315 – 20
Power Training3 – 51 – 3

Rope Cable Triceps Pushdown

The cable tricep pushdown is a popular isolation exercise that is designed to target the triceps. By using a cable machine, there is a constant level of resistance through the entire range of motion, while the pin-based system makes it extremely safe and great for your triceps workout.

Rope Cable Triceps Pushdown
Rope Cable Triceps Pushdown Guide. Photo: Aliaksandr Makatserchyk

How to do

  1. Standing in front of the cable machine, attach the rope handle to the carabiner and adjust the cable to the highest point.
  2. Reach up and grab the rope with both hands. Walk back slightly so you bend forward at the hip to grab the rope handle.
  3. Pull the rope handle down, and tuck your elbows into your sides so your hands are at shoulder height. Keep a straight back and a proud chest.
  4. Start by pushing the rope down toward the floor until your elbow is fully extended.
  5. Then, gradually allow the rope to return to the starting position.
  6. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Tips

  • Keep your elbows tucked to your sides for the duration of the set.
  • Avoid using momentum or pushing down with your body weight; this will ensure you are using only your triceps. 
  • Focus on breathing and engaging the core for the duration of the set to improve stability.
  • This is another excellent exercise to perform when you train your chest, as the safety of the pin-based system can safeguard you.

Optimal Sets and Reps

Training StyleSetsReps
Strength Training4 – 63 – 5
Hypertrophy3 – 48 – 12
Endurance Training2 – 315 – 20
Power Training3 – 51 – 3

Benefits Of Training Shoulders And Triceps Together

Training your shoulders and triceps is an incredible way to maximize not only your time in the gym but also your growth and recovery time for your upper chest muscles. 

Below is a list of benefits and why you should consider combining your arms and shoulders workout.

Better Recovery

Combining your triceps and shoulder days is an excellent way to free up extra time for recovery. 

The body requires between 48 and 78 hours of rest[2] between training the same muscle groups, which doesn’t leave much time if we train a muscle group each session.

By combining the two into a single routine, you can effectively train muscle groups and free up much-needed time for rest and recovery, which is essential for growth.  

Save Your Time And Energy

One of the best things about training your shoulders and triceps together is that you can save time and energy.

Working out takes up a lot of time which can make it difficult to fit into our schedule, however, by training these muscle groups together using a program such as a 3-day workout split, you can free up time and energy for life outside the gym.

Helps Increase Your Training Volume

Adding your tricep exercises to your shoulder workouts and training them on the same day is a great way to increase your training volume for both muscle groups.

Your shoulders and triceps are both required during push movements and training them together will allow you to increase training volume, which is shown to enhance muscle hypertrophy.[3]   

Warming Up And Tips For Safety

Performing a shoulder and triceps routine is a highly effective way to build muscle and strength, however, precautions should be taken not only to reduce the chances of injury.

Below is a list of warm-up and safety tips to ensure that you have a safe and effective bicep, shoulder, and tricep workout.

  • Perform a three to five-minute warm-up on either the treadmill, elliptical, or rower at a brisk pace to begin your session. This will warm up muscle tissue[4] and increase blood flow to the muscles you aim to target for your session.
  • Once you have completed your warm-up, perform a light set of your first exercise to prepare your muscles, joints, and nervous system for your first working set.
  • Before you begin lifting, ensure that you have set safety bars or mechanisms on the piece of equipment you are about to use.
  • If you are using dumbbells or free weights, have a spotter on standby to help you in case you experience failure during your set. 
  • If you experience pain during your warm-up, workout, or session, consult a healthcare professional to avoid further injury. 

Conclusion

The triceps and shoulders are two muscle groups that fit perfectly together as they often work together for many of our push-day workouts.

By incorporating the two together, you free up valuable time to increase training volume, improve recovery, and enjoy life outside the gym.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should you do triceps on shoulder day?

You should do triceps on shoulder day. Many shoulder exercises require the triceps to activate during the pressing movement, and combining both muscle groups will allow you to increase volume, enhancing muscle growth[3] while saving time.

What is the 6 12 25 method?

The 6 12 25 method is a drop set performing a heavy set, intermediate set, and light set. The method is used for strength, hypertrophy, and endurance to place metabolic stress on the muscle tissue to maximize muscle growth.

What should you combine with shoulder day?

You can combine back, chest, and arms with shoulder day. The shoulders are a vital part of training the upper body, and adding them to these workouts will help you target these fibers more frequently, increasing growth.

What is the best 3-day split workout?

The best 3-day split workout is push, pull, and legs. Performing this split allows you to train all major muscle groups while helping you develop strength using compound lifts.

Resources

  1. Dong, K., Yu, T. and Chun, B. (2023). Effects of Core Training on Sport-Specific Performance of Athletes: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Behavioral sciences, [online] 13(2), pp.148–148. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/bs13020148.
  2. Monteiro, E.R., Vingren, J.L., Corrêa Neto, V.G., Neves, E.B., Steele, J. and Novaes, J.S. (2019). Effects of Different Between Test Rest Intervals in Reproducibility of the 10-Repetition Maximum Load Test: A Pilot Study with Recreationally Resistance Trained Men. International journal of exercise science, [online] 12(4), pp.932–940. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6719818/.
  3. Schoenfeld, B.J., Contreras, B., Krieger, J., Grgic, J., Delcastillo, K., Belliard, R. and Alto, A. (2019). Resistance Training Volume Enhances Muscle Hypertrophy but Not Strength in Trained Men. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, [online] 51(1), pp.94–103. doi:https://doi.org/10.1249/mss.0000000000001764.
  4. Park, H.-K., Jung, M.-K., Park, E., Lee, C.-Y., Jee, Y.-S., Eun, D., Cha, J.-Y. and Yoo, J. (2018). The effect of warm-ups with stretching on the isokinetic moments of collegiate men. Journal of exercise rehabilitation, [online] 14(1), pp.78–82. doi:https://doi.org/10.12965/jer.1835210.605.