It’s always impressive to see a well-developed set of triceps. Similar to our hamstrings, it’s a group of muscles that aren’t always focused on when training the extremities. For some reason most men love to target the biceps first; likely partially because it’s what they see when they look at themselves in the mirror.
The truth is, arm size completely relies on the triceps being developed.
Guys with bulging biceps and nonexistent triceps end up looking very strange as far as physique goes. But appearance aside, having strong, useful triceps helps plenty when it comes to doing things in life and in sport that requires pressing strength or stability.
Here are 4 exercises that will get you started on the right path for development.
PARALLEL BAR DIPS
Many times, the chest and triceps are trained as synergistic muscle groups only by way of the bench press movement and its variations. Hitting this combination a different way via dips is a great way to trigger new development, and increase your general pushing strength in the process.
If you don’t have a dip station at your gym, or you can’t seem to find a width that fits for your body type or preference, then feel free to makeshift some dips in your squat cage. Set up a couple of barbells in the cage on the pins at waist level, and choose the angle you want.
Make sure the bars don’t slide around and have at it. Just make sure you’re not killing someone else’s squat time when you do them!
Referring to the mechanics of a bench press, the most common place for lifters to run out of gas during heavy efforts is in the lockout phase. Simply taking the bench press movement and compartmentalizing things into segments can be the simple solve you need to address this weak link.
In the case of floor presses, these are often performed with dumbbells for reps. Since the floor blocks your elbows from travelling below the level of your body, the floor press isolates the lateral head of the triceps well.
Taking advantage of the fact that you can manipulate your elbow angle and wrist positioning makes this a comfortable and useful move to do.
SKULL CRUSHER “PLUS”
We start getting into the fun stuff when we think about just how the triceps are built. They’re a group of three muscles, and the truth is, most guys only end up hitting two of them at most on any given workout. The often neglected piece is known as the long head and attaches up high on the shoulder blade. As a rule of thumb, remember that the further away you bring your arm from your torso, the higher the potential you have to hit the long head of the triceps.
Movements where the arm stays close to the trunk (think close grip bench press, dips, or press downs) will zero in on the lateral and medial heads of the triceps, but neglect the long head. It’s time to get your hands overhead to slap some muscle on the tris, and the Skull Crusher Plus can do just the trick.
A lot of this movement comes down to rhythm and timing. Assume a starting position similar to a regular skull crusher, and slowly lower the weight using only the elbow joint as your fulcrum. Once the bar reaches forehead level, begin flexing at the shoulder joint so that the weight hangs down below bench level and toward the floor.
Really look for a stretch in the triceps when performing this, but remember to stay tight. In one motion, return to the top position, replicating a soccer throw-in with your arms. Don’t let the elbows travel too far forward, and gauge this by aiming for a vertical upper arm position that is perpendicular to the floor.
Speaking of press downs, we’re all familiar with the classic rope press down that hits the lateral head of the triceps. But the development and “pump” these can provide can be short lived, and adding another dimension to the lift can be crucial for gains. Check out this video by strength coach Lee Boyce on how to modify the classic press down to hit all three tricep heads.
Encouraging the long head to become involved in this movement can do well for fully exhausting the triceps, especially as a finisher for a nasty pump. Some movements need to be respected as not primary strength or size tools, and when the right tactics are implemented they can be the real icing on the cake to a great workout session.
After exercise you should always refuel with protein to kickstart the recovery process and fuel lean muscle gains, but with so many proteins in the market today which one is right for you? For post-workout, we recommend Whey Protein as its a fast-acting protein that will be absorbed quickly by your muscles to get to them when they are needed most. See our range of Whey Proteins here!
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