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Tricep Exercises

by Steve Theunissen

Your triceps make up two thirds of the size of your upper arms. In order to max out your guns, you need to give them some serious attention. Hitting your triceps hard will also make you stronger on all of your pushing moves, including the bench press. (1)

In this article, we provide you with super effective tricep workouts to hit all three heads of your triceps. Here you will find the best triceps exercises for mass and for shaping. The first two exercises (lying triceps extensions and the close grip bench press) are the best tricep exercises for mass. They will allow you to push the heaviest weights possible to achieve fast gains in arm size and strength.

The other two exercises in the tricep workout make use of slightly lower resistance levels. Together, the four exercises will have you working the triceps through a range of different positions and angles to make sure that all three triceps heads are fully stimulated.

You should work to increase the weight on every set during your tricep workouts. Perform the workout twice a week, making sure that you leave 72 hours between each workout. You should also schedule your chest workout one the day before this tricep workout (or in the same workout before you hit the triceps). If you hit your chest the day after triceps, the upper arms will not get the rest and recuperation they need to recover and grow.

Perform a warm up set for each exercise in your tricep workouts. Use a light weight that will allow you to perform 15-20 reps. Your working sets will be in the 8-12 rep range.

Your rest between sets on tricep workouts should be 90 seconds. This will allow you to move into the next set with full focus and power.

The Workout

  • Lying Triceps Extension 3 x 8-12 reps
  • Close Grip Bench Press 3 x 8-12 reps
  • Overhead Dumbbell Extension 3 x 8-12 reps
  • Cable Pressdown 3 x 8-12 reps

Best Tricep Exercises:

Lying Triceps Extension

Lie face up on a bench with a pair of dumbbells in your hands. Extend your arms directly above your upper chest. Keeping the elbows in, bend at the elbows you bring the dumbbells down to your forehead. Just prior to the weights kissing your forehead, contract the triceps to return to the start position. (2)

Close Grip Bench Press

Lie down on the bench press bench and take hold of a barbell. Your grip distance should be slightly less than shoulder width. Unrack the bar and begin with it hovering over your chest and your arm extended. Keeping your elbows in tight to your body, slowly lower the bar down to your lower chest. When it touches, forcefully press the bar back up to the start position.

When going heavy on this exercise, it is best not to use a spotter. This is because the spotter usually takes too much of the weight, ruining the effect of the exercise. Instead, you can perform your close grip bench presses on a Smith Machine or by sliding a bench inside a power rack and setting the pins at chest height.

Overhead Dumbbell Extension

Sit on a bench with a dumbbell resting on your upper legs in an upright position. Place your hands around the inner portion of the top plate. Now bring the weight overhead. Throughout this movement, you should concentrate on keeping your elbows in at the sides of your head (do not let them flare out). This will keep the emphasis on the triceps throughout the movement.

From a position where the weight is above your head at arm’s length, bend at the elbows to bring it down. Feel the stretch in your triceps as you bring the dumbbell down to full extension. Then forcefully contract the triceps to power the weight back up to the start position.

You can also do the overhead dumbbell extension in a standing position. Maintain a slight arch in your back and slightly bent knees to avoid spinal compression. Another alternative is to half the weight and do each ajm separately.

Triceps Pushdown

Switch one of the low pulleys to a high pulley position so that the handle is at your upper chest level. Replace the biceps curl handle with a rope handle. Face the machine and grab the bottom areas of the rope handle. With your elbows pinned to your sides, extend the triceps to straighten the arms. In the bottom position, pull outward to fully contract the triceps. Slowly return to the start position and repeat.

Note: the cable pushdown is an excellent exercise on which to do drop sets. This is where you pump out your set, then drop the pin down by one selection and do another 3-4 reps. Keep going down until you have completed 4-5 drops. Finish your workout with this type of drop set to get a massive triceps pump.

An alternative form of this movement is the reverse grip tricep pushdown. In this version, you grip the bar with your palms up. Doing your pressdowns this way will help to keep your elbows in at your sides.

FAQ

What is the best tricep workout?

The best tricep workouts are the ones that work best for you in terms of feeling a pump in the triceps while you are training and feeling a post workout twitch in the muscle fibers. We think the one we’ve presented here is one of the best tricep routines you will find. Give it a try to see the result.

Can I do tricep exercises at home?

Yes, you certainly can do tricep workouts at home. All of these exercises can be modified to be done with dumbbells that you may have at home. You can also do such bodyweight tricep exercises as diamond push ups, reverse dips and conventional dips.

Why is my tricep twitching?

If you have had an intense, effective workout, you will feel a twitch in your muscle fiber for up to 24 hours after your triceps lifts.

Summary

Triceps training should be a regular part of your overall workout program. The tricep exercises for men presented here will allow you to get bigger,stronger and more defined triceps. Stick with it for 6 weeks and you will soon be filling out those t-shirt sleeves!

References

  1. https://teachmeanatomy.info/upper-limb/muscles/upper-arm/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28677940/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4519223/

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