The Best Triceps Exercises For Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Are you entering Jiu-Jitsu from a weight lifting background? Maybe you have never worked out in your life and are curious as to why you would exercise your triceps. Either way, this article covers why exercising the triceps is beneficial for Jiu-Jitsu along with triceps exercises you can do for Jiu-Jitsu!

9 triceps exercises for Jiu-Jitsu with practical application:

  • Overhead Triceps Extension (build triceps and shoulder mobility)
  • Dips (works chest and triceps)
  • Close Grip Pushups/Bench (builds power)
  • Spoto Close-Grip Pushups/Bench (builds framing strength and power)
  • Skull Crushers (builds triceps strength and when using proper form builds muscle memory and strength for keeping your elbows tight)
  • Cable Push Downs (builds triceps endurance and strength as it keeps the muscle under tension from top to bottom)
  • Banded Bench Press (builds explosive power from the chest and requires the triceps to produce power to complete the movement)
  • Diamond Pushups (mimics framing and maintaining tight elbow positions)
  • Decline Pushups (builds upper chest strength and shoulder endurance, great for posting strength and conditioning)

Why Workout The Tricep For BJJ?

The triceps are beneficial for stronger frames, pushing power, pinning, and any movement that requires arm extension. Conditioning and strengthening your triceps will assist in creating and maintaining space between you and your opponent.

Working out the triceps will allow them to produce more power and fatigue slower allowing for more escape attempts, opponent manipulation (like pushing them around during standup to set up a takedown), and better frames.

As much as Jiu-Jitsu doesn’t rely on strength it’s a good asset to have. And even though you may not be as strong as your opponent having muscles that are able to last during long rolls will give you the advantage as your opponent begins to fatigue.

No bench? No problem! Sandbags offer dynamic workouts and be supplemented in as a pressing motion!

Benefits Of A Strong Tricep

Strong triceps translates into every pushing and arm extension motion from handing a drink to another person to lifting a heavy barbell over your head. Increasing triceps strength will build shoulder and arm stability, increase the range of motion in the arm, and condition the tendons in your arm that can help prevent elbow tendonitis.

Increasing triceps strength will directly translate to a bigger bench press and shoulder press. I used to tell my gym friends that the secret to my bench press was my triceps exercises.

Example Triceps Workouts

I have created three triceps workouts to help you build your triceps for Jiu-Jitsu. The first one requires a gym set up as a bench press and dip bar are required, the second can be performed at home or outside, while the last one can be completed at either location depending on what is available to you.

My favorite of the three is workout 2 – bedroom warrior as it uses body weight to perform the majority of the exercises which I feel is perfect for maintaining and conditioning your triceps for Jiu-Jitsu.

Triceps Workout 1 – Chest and Triceps In The Gym

This workout is my go-to chest and triceps day when I go to the gym. It targets the triceps hard, especially since my bench press grip is pretty narrow (which targets the triceps more).

The bench press is performed as a strength exercise using the same weight throughout each set. Typically I do 3-5 warmup sets depending on the weight I’m using. If my working weight is 225 I’ll do the following warm-up sets: 135lbs x 8, 155lbs x 5, 185lbs x 3, 205lbs x 3. After that, I then start my 4×5 with 225lbs.

This may not work for you, but try to find a warm-up that works for you by experimenting.

Dips are a fantastic triceps exercise that also targets the chest. I found that doing dips had the largest effect on developing my triceps. Once you’re able to master the bodyweight dips get a weight belt and start adding weight.

Single-arm cable pushdowns were my favorite triceps isolation exercise. They offer constant time under tension while allowing you to use slow controlled movements. The key here is not the amount of weight used by the slow strict form concentrating on the squeeze at the bottom. They will strengthen and condition your tendons to take the abuse Jiu-Jitsu and working out throw at you.

Finally, ending the workout with planks will strengthen your core and have you in a position that mimics using frames against an opponent.

Bench Press46
Dips (weighted if possible)38
Single-Arm Cable Pushdowns412
Planks31 minute

Triceps Workout 2 – Bedroom Warrior

The bedroom warrior triceps workout is for the people that workout at home and have minimal equipment. It is to be done as a 3 round circuit, meaning each exercise is completed after the other.

Decline pushups are to hit the upper chest and help condition the front deltoids. You may be thinking, don’t decline pushups hit the lower chest area? That is a decline bench press, decline pushups raise your feet to mimic the incline bench!

Dips or diamond pushups work the chest and target the triceps for additional work. They will build strength and conditioning for framing. This is because they require you to keep your elbows in tight, much like when you’re in bottom position framing.

Diamond pushup hand position.
Top position of the diamond pushup.
Bottom position of the diamond pushup.

Single-arm, overhead triceps extensions are a great home exercise to build the triceps. The exercise isolates each arm to help prevent muscular imbalances and also requires the core to stabilize the body.

I add abs into all of my home workouts as an active rest period. On days your abs are sorer so less intense ab exercises or rotate from working the obliques one day and the abdominal wall the other.

Decline Pushups20
Dips or Diamond Pushups15
Single-Arm Overhead Tricep Extensions12
Rest1 – 2 minutes

Tricep Workout 3 – Nothing But Broceps… Triceps

The triceps only workout focuses on building the triceps strength while a lot of hypertrophy will help build bigger triceps.

The workout starts with weighted dips. Dips overload the triceps as your chest is incorporated in the movement – meaning you can lift a lot more weight than if you were to isolate the triceps. Struggling doing weighted dips, or dips in general? Do assisted dips and add weight over time, even if it’s just 5lbs to start.

Overhead triceps extensions isolate the triceps and can be done either with both arms holding the weight or one arm. I prefer doing two-arm here as it allows me to lift more weight and takes less time to complete.

Triceps extension done in front of the head.
Triceps extension done in behind of the head.

Next is single-arm cable pushdowns. This exercise is to be performed in a slow, controlled manner allowing you to use less weight. Doing this movement puts less stress on your joints and tendons while working each arm individually, preventing macular imbalances.

Finally, the workout finishes with diamond pushups. Diamond pushups target all three heads of the triceps and allow your chest to help out when they’re fatigued. It’s a great exercise, especially to finish off this workout.

Weighted Dips46
Overhead Triceps Extension38
Single-Arm Cable Pushdowns210
Diamond Pushups310


Working the triceps carries over to Jiu-Jitsu by strengthening all pushing power, arm tendons, arm joints, while directly translating to increased endurance for static frames and wedges.

Building pushing power will help with controlling and maintaining distance with people on the feet. It’ll assist in better frame and wedge integrity on the ground as you’ll be able to re-establish failing frames.

Finally, if I could only choose one exercise for building triceps strength in Jiu-Jitsu it would be the diamond pushup. The diamond pushup targets all three heads of the triceps encourages tight elbow positioning, incorporates the chest, and builds core strength. And as an added bonus, it can be done anywhere and be easily modified to be easier or harder.

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