To start, let me say this. Any and all of these exercises will be the most effective when combined with proper periodization as well as nutrition. However, even with that being said, these three exercises are still my favorite to build your triceps.
Close Grip Bench Press
Out of all of these, I have to say this is my favorite. I normally would suggest skull crushers as one of my favorite exercise, but I know that they can lead to elbow and wrist pain. So, I will leave that off the list and give a great alternative. Any pressing movement in general will hit your triceps, but the close grip bench press accentuates that due to the fact that a closer grip will make your triceps the primary mover and not your chest. Basically, you can load your triceps with a pretty substantial load with this movement, which is why I have found it to be extremely beneficial to my own success in building my triceps, and it has helped many others as well. Quick note on form: Do not place your hands too far together on the bar as doing so can lead to elbow and wrist pain. A great rule of thumb I like to use is placing my index finger right on the crease of the bar where the texture changes and then starting my hands there.
Triceps Kickbacks and Overhead Extensions
I am grouping these together since both of them completely isolate the triceps unlike the close grip bench press. Kickbacks are awesome as they literally only use your triceps to be executed. Grab a dumbbell, stagger your feet, place your arm at about a 75-90 degree angle off your hip, and then reach back with your hand until your arm is locked out. Return to complete the movement. I emphasize keeping the dumbbell off your hip because many people have a tendency to swing the dumbbell past their hip and back up, which creates momentum and takes the constant tension off the muscle.
For overhead extensions, grab a dumbbell and place your hands underneath the round head. Bring the weight behind your head and then push up to full extension. Doing these seated can make the exercise much more effective as well.
Gerry DeFilippo: ISSA CPT- CPPS, AAPS. Founder/Owner: Challenger Strength.