Those who want bigger arm often focus an incredible amount of time and energy on their biceps. They curl and curl and curl some more. If they're smart about their nutrition and consistent with their workouts, they probably do see some marked improvements in the size and shape of their bi's. Yet after all this effort they still might wrap the tape measure around their arms every once in a while and wonder, "Why aren't my arms getting much bigger?" To that we pose the question: Have you been hitting your triceps as hard as your biceps? If not, the solution is simple. It's time to give some much-needed love to the tri's, which make up two-thirds of your overall upper-arm mass. Softball-sized biceps can make an arm look incredible, but bigger, thicker triceps can help push your arm mass to never-before-seen proportions.
< TRAINING INTRODUCTION >
With this four-week program you'll hit triceps once a week, each week with a slightly different focus. Week 1 is geared toward overall mass. Weeks 2 and 3 focus on the long head and lateral head of the triceps, respectively. And finally, in Week 4, your goal will be separation and detail. If at any point you want to focus more on one aspect of development, by all means repeat the week that suits your goal.
The triceps have three distinct sections: the long, medial and lateral heads. While you can't completely isolate any one portion of the tri's, you can involve one head more than the other two by altering your arm position during an exercise. The following workouts bombard your triceps with techniques and new moves and from numerous angles to prompt maximum development.
Over the next month you'll hit your triceps with the utmost intensity while also paying close attention to the finer details within each workout. Each week you'll focus on a particular area or aspect of triceps training - for example, movements that hit the long head, lateral head or even help boost muscular separation between the three heads. Some of these exercises you've likely been using from week to week for quite a while. Others, along with the accompanying training schemes, might be totally foreign to you, making use of a valuable Weider Principle: muscle confusion.
As a final reminder, select a weight for all moves that allows you to fail at the designated rep range. We also provide an intensity menu, offering several techniques to take your training to the next level. Follow the instructions carefully, and use the techniques on your last few sets where you see the symbol. Also note the intensity/technique tip for bolded exercises.
Now, are you ready to propel your arm size to a whole new level of development, and stretch your tape measure to its limits?
- Use these intensity techniques whenever you see the * symbol. Choose one technique for a particular exercise and utilize it on only the last set of that move.
- Peek Contraction Hold the peak contraction for up to five seconds on each rep of your last few sets. Squeeze the muscle as hard as you can before doing another rep.
- Forced Reps When you cannot complete another rep on your own, have a training partner assist you by applying only the help necessary for you to keep the weight moving for 2-3 more reps.
- Drop Sets After reaching failure in a heavy set, quickly strip an equal amount of weight from each side of the bar, select lighter dumbbells or move the pin up on the stack. Continue repplng until you fall, then strip off more weight to complete even more reps.
- Rest-Pause Take brief rest periods during a set to squeeze out more reps. Use a weight you can lift for 5-6 reps (5RM) but do only 2-3 reps, rest as long as 20 seconds, then try for another 2-3 reps. Rest again briefly, then try for as many reps as you can handle and repeat once more.
Close Grip Bench Press
Safety, ability to do partial, increased poundage.
Lie faceup on a flat bench inside a power rack with your feet flat on the floor. Set the safeties at a height that limits the range of motion to 6-10 inches. Grasp the bar with a narrow (inside shoulder-width), overhand grip. Press the bar up slightly to unrack it, and hold it above your chest with your arms extended.
Lower the bar to the safeties, keeping your elbows in tight. Don't bounce the bar, but rather pause and press it back up. Squeeze your tri's at the top and repeat.
STANDARD VERSION, FLAT BENCH
Power- Rack Close-Grip Bench Press in Focus
We're big fans of the versatile power rack. It allows you to train many bodyparts through both full and partial ranges of motion while using weight you normally couldn't handle. The close-grip bench is a great exercise to utilize the rack's benefits: Set the safeties rather high so the range of motion is 8-10 inches. Load the weight and do reps as normal. As you get stronger, you can lower the safeties from workout to workout, targeting your triceps with vigor without needing a spotter.
Lying Dumbbell Triceps Extension (on decline bench)
Increased long head recruitment, bench acts as a spot.
Lie faceup and backward on a decline bench, sliding down so the racked bar is in line with your upper abs (your hips will hang off the end so place your feet where a spotter usually stands). Unrack the bar and hold it above your face with a shoulder-width grip.
Squeeze your triceps as you slowly lower the bar toward the top of your head. Pause when the bar comes to an inch or so away from your head before pressing it back up to the start.
STANDARD VERSION, FLAT BENCH
Lying Triceps Extension (on decline) in Focus
It's tough to find an exercise that can add as much size to your tri's as the lying extension, and we think this version will soon become one of your favorites for a few reasons. First, the standard lying extension emphasizes the lateral head, followed by the long and medial heads, respectively. This decline version hits the long head with greater accuracy while allowing you to use the bench above your head as a means to spot yourself. At the end of the set, there's no more awkwardness in the dismount as you simply rack the bar and slide out.
Constant tension, shoulder comfort.
Grasp the I-handle or rubber ball at the end of a low-pulley cable and align your working shoulder with the pulley. Lean forward until your torso is almost parallel to the floor. Raise your upper arm to parallel to your torso and keep it pressed into your side.
Holding your upper arm in place, kick your forearm straight back to full elbow extension. Don't allow your elbow to drop as you return to the start position.
STANDARD DUMBBELL VERSION
Incline Cable Kickback in Focus
Unlike the standard dumbbell version, the cable kickback gives you the benefit of constant tension throughout the move. It also tends to be easier on the shoulder because of the line of pull, so if you have shoulder problems this might be the version for you. Rather than allowing the cable to pull your forearm back to the start, try to keep your elbow angle larger than 90 degrees at the start of each rep.
One Arm / Reverse Grip / Dumbbell Lying Triceps Extension
Increased medial head involvement, ability to self spot.
Lie faceup on a flat bench, your feet flat on the floor, and grasp a dumbbell in one hand. Hold the weight above your chest and supÃnate your wrist so your palm faces you.
Keeping your upper arm in place, lower the dumbbell to the top of your head, pausing when the weight comes to an inch or so away, then squeeze your tri's and extend your arm to return to the start. Spot yourself with your nonworking hand.
STANDARD REVERSE GRIP VERSION
One-Arm Reverse-Grip Dumbbell Lying Triceps Extension in Focus
You'll realize immediately that this isn't your typical triceps extension; bodybuilders seldom do lying extensions with a reverse grip or even a single arm. We've tweaked a couple of things here. The reverse grip automatically shifts much of the emphasis to the medial head, and because your nonworking hand serves as a spot, you can overload each triceps one arm at a time. Go ahead and allow the dumbbell to travel just slightly above your head, pressing up on your forearm with your nonworking hand to achieve those extra few reps.
Tired of little or no results?
Join the thousands of people who have discovered how my Permanent Muscle program gives you every tool required including; workouts, meal plans, exercises and more to achieve stunning muscle building results over the next 6 months.
Even more tricep training information!
People in this conversation