Most bodybuilders tend to concentrate on the
biceps when training arms and tend to neglect the triceps. What many people tend
to forget is that the tricep is the biggest muscle group in the arm. It is the
large tricep that makes an arm look big. The exercise described below will help
you in your quest for the knowledge of the art of HORSESHOE FORGING.
first exercise described is the Tricep
Pushdowns. This exercise is great for
building mass on the tri's and for separating the tricep heads. These should be done with the feet about 10 to 12 inches apart
while standing up straight. Try to avoid leaning forward as much as possible.
Each rep should be performed slowly and in a controlled manner. You should not
have to swing the body in order to lift the weight. When pressing down on the
bar, the rep is not complete until the arms are fully extended. At this point
you should pause for a second while flexing the tricep muscles. When lowering
the weight stack back down, try to do it slowly as if you were doing a negative.
The bar should only be brought up to about the mid section or around the top row
of abdominals. Remember to keep your elbows in tight and don't train so heavy
that it causes you to lose your form. Also, try to get a higher number of reps
out of this exercise, somewhere in the neighborhood of 12-15. Try to make this
range the point to where total exhaustion occurs. Another thing to keep in mind
when doing this exercise in regard to form is to try to keep from letting the
cable rest on either side of body. Try to keep the cable center and directly in
front of the head. This prevents one arm from being stressed more than the other. Try to do at least 4 sets of
these. I prefer to do a higher number of
sets usually 5 or 6. Always ensure that the muscle is getting fatigued, If not,
go heavier. The only way the muscle will grow is if it's forced to.
exercise described is the same as the Tricep Pushdown but the difference is the
reverse grip. The palms of the hand should be facing upward instead of downward
as with the basic pushdown. This exercise also directly trains the tricep heads.
This exercise is a little more difficult than the previous because the elbows
cannot be used as much as a support. The tricep is doing all of the work in this
exercise. The procedure is performed basically the same. Place the feet about 10
to 12 inches apart and grip the bar palms up. You should also perform these with
the same smooth and controlled motion. Push the bar down until the arms are
fully extended and pause for a second, flex the triceps and finish the rep by
allowing the bar to raise about as high as the midsection. Another difference
between these two exercises is that there is no need to bring the weight back up
slowly (negative) when doing this exercise. The entire usefullness is when the
weight is being lifted, not lowered. The pressure of the weight is on the thumbs
when the weight is being lowered and provides no usefullness to the triceps. You
may have to go lighter in weight on these because of the difficulty of the
exercise. The main thing that you want to focus on is the form and the number of
reps. Try to perform a large number of reps when doing these. A range of 15 to
18 is about right. This exercise really provides separation in the tricep heads.
I would use this exercise as a final exercise to all of the exercises explained
here in order to give my triceps that final pump.
exercise is called the One-Arm Tricep
Extension. The basic purpose of this
exercise is to work the entire tricep and separate the three heads of the
muscle. To perform this exercise, it is better if sitting on a bench so form
will not be sacrificed. Take a dumbell in one hand and hold it extended over the
head. Keeping your upper arm and elbow stationary, and close to your head, lower
the dumbell in an arc behind your head. Feel the triceps stretch as much as
possible by ensuring you fully stretch the arm. Press the dumbell back up to the
starting position. Finish your set with one arm them repeat the movement with
the other arm. Make sure your form and style are strict. Use a lighter dumbell
to start with to ensure good form. Keep your body, head, and upper arm fixed
throughout the movement- only the forearm should be moving. The shoulders should
be kept square to the front. Try sitting in front of a mirror when performing
these so the form and style can be noticed. One variation to this exercise is to
use a heavier dumbell held in both hands instead of one. While the one-armed
extension promotes shaping and separation, this variation is more for overall
size and thickness. This exercise is like the concentration curls for the
biceps, Its not so much how heavy the weight is but focus, visualization, and
proper technique and control is a must.
is the Lying Triceps Extensions with an EZ curl bar. This exercise is performed
while lying on a bench gripping the curl bar with a close grip. The bar is to be
pushed upward until the triceps are fully extended. The bar is then slowly
lowered until barely resting on the forehead. It is best if a spotter is used
when doing this exercise because if is necessary to use heavier weights in order
to receive the desired size and thickness, although this exercise can be used
for separation and toning also. Another variation to using the EZ curl bar in
this position on a bench is to do the Close Grip Bench Press. It is done just
like the regular bench press except with a close grip. Again, you may want to
use a spotter with these also in order to do heavier weights. You wan to ensure
you are getting a full range of motion and stretch the triceps out completly. At
the climax of each rep, flex the triceps for a second or two. It is also wise to
flex and pose the triceps between sets of any tricep exercise.
exercised describe in my routine is the Kickbacks. This exercise is unbeatable
when it comes to getting that final burn. This
exercise is performed by holding a dumbell in one arm while leaning forward at
about a 45 degree angle while using a bench to support your free arm. push the
dumbell to the rear ensuring the arm is in a fixed position. The upper arm
around the bicep and tricep should be kept parallel to the floor. When perfoming
each rep, make sure only the elbow joint is moving and not the entire arm. It is
not necessary to use heavy weights for this exercise because like I said before,
the object is to give the tricep that final pump and burn. This is a high rep
exercise. When I say that I mean It should be in the 20 to 30 rep range. If
possible sit in front of a mirror when doing these also to ensure the form is
correct. I cannot stress enough how important form is when doing this exercise.
If your form is not correct as with any exercise, you are not getting 100% of
the benefit out of the effort you put into it. After a few sets of these and in
conjunction with all of the other exercises described, your tricpes should be
If these exercises are perfomed as described above and there is total
dedication on your part, there is nothing stopping you from having those Titanic
Tri's yourself. Always remember that the tricep is the biggest muscle group in
the arm and should be given just as much attention, if not more, than the bicep
Sweat Those Triceps!
Each set consists of eight
repetitions. To warm up: Do a set at fifty percent of your maximum
effort. Begin with three sets of eight. When you can't break a sweat
with that, add five more reps to each set.
pushdowns. Stand and grip the bar attached to a
high-pulley cable. Keep your hands about 6 inches apart, and, with
your elbows against your sides, bring the bar down until your
forearms are parallel to the floor. This is where you'll start. Now,
push the bar down until your arms are fully extended. Return to the
Close grip bench press. Do this exercise just like you
would a bench press (see above). This time, though, your hands
should be about nine to 12 inches apart. Start with half the weight
you would use for a typical bench press.
kickback. Stand facing an exercise bench, and bend at the
waist until your upper body is parallel with the floor. With your
left hand on the bench for support, grasp a dumbbell in your right
hand. Keeping your upper arm against your body and your forearm
perpendicular to the floor, extend the dumbbell backwards until your
right arm is pointing behind you.
Grab the dip bars. Press your body up so your arms are fully
extended. Slowly lower your body, keeping your elbows close to your
sides. When your elbow joints form a right angle, press up again. '
The one to do if you're doing only
one? Triceps pushdown.
As shown in the photos start with a high pulley cable and press
downward. Lock your elbows out and concentrate on flexing your triceps.
Your elbows should remain in the same position throughout the entire
movement, except when they rotate out slightly as you lock your elbows at
the end of the movement.
* Muscle Confusion Tips: There is usually several different bars that
offer a different angle in order to enhance muscle confusion. TJ. is using
a v-bar in the photos, but you can use a straight bar with a close grip or
close grip, or a rope. When using the rope take advantage of the extra
range of motion it offers. As you press down move the rope outwards as you
lock your elbows out, this will really bum the outer heads of the
Using the rope and a high
pulley, start and
finish as shown in the photo. Make sure to allow the full range of motion
as you stretch back after each rep, When you lock out at the top of the
movement, rotate your wrists outward to contract the outer heads of the
triceps. This is a great movement for the development of the overall
* Muscle Confusion
Tips: Try using a straight bar, for a slight variation. You can use a low
pulley and pull upward from a standing or seated position with a rope or
straightbar. Some gyms have machines that come very close to duplicating
movement has been one of the most popular movements for the triceps. You
need to be very careful when you lower the weight to your forehead. If you
feel unconfortable with the weight being lowered to your head then try
lowering it slightly above your head. As You become more familiar with the
movement you can concentrate on lowering it to your head, however some
lifters say they get a fuller pump by lowering the bar above the
*Muscle Confusion Tips: This exercise can be easily varied using a
straight bar one week and a curling bar the next week. You can also vary
this exercise by using a wide grip one workout (hands 8-10 inches apart)
and a close grip (hands 4-5 inches apart) the next workout.
Dumbell Kick Backs
is a great movement to finish with. It really burns the triceps, and if
you pause slightly at the top of the movement as you lock out your
triceps, you will really feel it. These can be done as pictured or bent
over leaning against something sturdy.
* Muscle Confusion Tips: Position the dumbbell straight back one
workout and slightly outward on the following workout. By leaning forward
from a standing position you can do both arms at the same time and use
The triceps are actually a lot bigger than the biceps, so if your looking for big arms, don't neglect these! They get some work from the bench press, but not a lot. They require a lot more stimulation than just that. They have the same kind of tendon connections as the quads, and so can be subjected to two distinctly different motions: pressing-close grip bench (like a squat for your arms), and extending-skull crushers/French press (like leg extensions).
Close grip bench pressThis is an
important exercise for building mass, just as the squat is for the legs. I like
to use and EZ bar since it is easier on the wrists. I have heard of all sorts of
elbow positions for this exercise, from out to your sides, to next to your body.
I believe next to your body is the more mechanically correct position. Do what
ever feels better for you! And even though next to your body might not feel like
it is working the triceps too much, try it once for a bunch of sets, and let
your soreness the next day decide for you! A flat bench is probably best for
Dips are another great exercise for
the triceps. To work the triceps, try to keep your torso straight, as opposed to
leaning forward which will cause the pecs to become the primary muscle. Lower
yourself until your triceps are parallel with the floor, and lift yourself all
the way up, explosively. As these get easier, you may want to hold a dumbell
between your feet, or hang a plate from your waste for more resistance. When
starting out, or working out at home, you could do dips between two chairs or
benches with your feet up on one chair, hands behind your butt on the other
chair, lowering yourself till your triceps are parallel with the floor.
This works the outer head of the triceps, whereas the
previous exercise works the inner head more. Lying down, keeping your
elbows stationary, lower the weight (EZ bar is nice for this as well) to
your forehead. You can keep your elbows pointing straight up, but angling
them back a bit gives a better stretch. Using a decline bench as opposed
to a flat bench also gives you a greater range of motion.
Sample routine for tricepsI usually like
to work my triceps after doing chest since they're already warmed up, though
some people find that doing the bench press burns out their triceps too much. Do
whatever feels best for you. Even though I'll be warmed up from bench, I like to
do a few warm-up sets just in case, usually French press as it works my elbow
through a full range of motion. For my working sets I would use something like:
- 3 sets of dips, increasing the weight, reps of 10,8,6
- 2 sets of close grip bench (8-10 reps) alternated with
- 2 sets of French press (10-15 reps)
- rest between set anywhere from 1-3 minutes.
- I choose my rep ranges based on how the exercise feels on my
can't do a lot of weight comfortably on French presses, so I'll use lighter
weight and higher reps.
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