To get big arms you need to work the triceps HARD.
FACT: I'm going to tell you how to work the triceps
HARD and SMART.
you've ever read articles on arm training, you've
probably learned that the tricep muscle makes
up about 2/3 of total arm mass. The bicep, while
being a great "show" muscle, is actually
all well and good, and just blindly doing tricep
exercises without a plan may net you some results,
but to really maximize your triceps (as I mentioned
above) you need to work them SMART.
if you really want to stretch your T-shirt sleeves
to the max, take a crack at this workout. It contains
three of THE most powerful tricep exercises I've
ever used. Not only that, these exercises are
arranged strategically to literally FORCE the
activation of many more muscle fibers in the triceps,
leading to greater muscle growth and strength
best part is, this workout requires very little
in the way of specialized equipment!
the next section, I will tell you about the three
exercises (with a link at the bottom to use for
pictures of the exercises in action as well as
more detailed instructions). Then, I'll tell you
how the exercises work together to help you blast
your triceps into next week!
#1 - Bodyweight Tricep Extensions - 2 sets
of 8 to 12 reps
#2 - In-Set Superset of Lying Tricep Extensions
and Close Grip Bench Press - 3 sets of 6 to 8
#3 - Bench Dips - 2 sets of 10 to 12+ reps
90 seconds rest in between each set.
#1 - Bodyweight Tricep Extensions
sets of 8 to 12 reps
this exercise, you will need a horizontal bar/edge
about 2 feet off the ground. You can use a Smith
machine bar, Universal bench handles, a railing,
the edge of a chair or table, or even an Olympic
bar set in the power rack with the safety rails
a few feet off the ground will work. Essentially,
any horizontal bar that is 1 to 2 feet off the
ground will do. It should have some clearance
underneath it so you have somewhere to put your
exercise has a demonstration video at the link
below as well as more detailed instructions and
pictures, including how to make this exercise
easier or harder. It is HIGHLY recommended to
see the pics and video before trying the exercise.
- Stand in front
of the bar, about a foot back from it. Place
your hands about 6 inches apart with a thumbless
- Step back a few
feet, letting your body straighten out as you
- Keep your abs
tight so that your body stays supported
- Now lower your
entire body forward, bending only at your elbows,
that your head ducks under the bar as though
you are trying to
do an overhead tricep stretch.
- Keep your elbows
tucked in close the whole way.
- Keep your entire
body tight and stiff. The only movement
should occur at the elbows.
- Extend back up
using your triceps.
exercise will build up the long head of the triceps
(which runs along the undersides of the arm) as
well as give your triceps a great stretch.
that move the body instead of the weight activate
significantly more muscle fibers than exercises
that just move the weight. This exercise is
a prime example of just how effective a bodyweight
exercise can be. In fact, it's one of the most
effective triceps exercises I've ever found!
EXERCISE #2 - In-Set Superset
of Lying Tricep Extensions and Close Grip Bench
sets of 6 to 8 reps
One rep of each exercise (1 extension and 1 press)
counts as one total rep for our purposes here.
is a unique type of Superset where you basically
mesh two different exercises into a single set
- preferably one isolation exercise and one compound
this Superset, we'll be using EZ Bar Lying Tricep
Extensions and Close Grip Bench Press (with the
same EZ Bar). Use a weight you would normally
be able to do about 12 reps with for Lying Extensions
on their own.
a nutshell, you will do one rep of extensions
then one rep of close grip presses, alternating
reps until you can no longer do any reps of the
extensions. At that point, you finish with as
many reps as you can do of the close grip presses.
It's a very intense technique!
type of Superset maximizes training intensity
and allows you to work several different aspects
of the muscle at the same time, dramatically increasing
exercise is best done lying on the floor (especially
if you are training alone) rather than on a bench.
If you have a spotter to hand you the weight at
the start and grab the weight for you when you're
done, you can do these on a flat bench.
with a rep of the Lying Tricep Extension. Lower
the bar to your forehead then extend back up.
Now do a single rep of the Close Grip Press, lowering
the bar to your lower rib cage area then pressing
back up. Now do another extension, then another
press. Repeat until you can no longer do any extensions
with good form. Now finish with as many presses
as you can do with good form. That's one set!
EXERCISE #3 - Bench Dips
sets of 10 to 12+ reps
(the number of reps you're able to get will depend
on the body position you use for the exercise)
can use a bench (or even an ordinary chair) for
this one. Start by sitting on the bench. Place
your hands on the bench right beside your glutes
with your fingers curled over the front edge.
It will almost look as though you are sitting
on your hands.
you set your feet will affect how hard this exercise
is. The easiest position is with your feet flat
on the floor a foot or two away from the bench.
Your knees will be bent.
make this exercise harder, move your feet further
away from the bench (you can straighten your legs).
This forces your triceps to take up more of your
bodyweight. Your next position after that is with
your feet up on a bench with your legs straight.
You may even with to try it with your feet on
a bench that is higher than the one you have your
if you're REALLY looking for a challenge, move
your bench so that it's facing a wall (about 2
or 3 feet away). Instead of resting your feet
on the floor or on a bench, place your feet flat
ON the wall. That way, the only thing holding
you up is your legs pushing back HARD directly
against your triceps as you do the exercise. The
contraction you will feel in your triceps will
be so strong and painful that it's almost cruel!
start the exercise, move your butt forward off
the bench a few inches. Now dip your upper body
down as though scraping your back along the front
edge of the bench. Push yourself back up, squeezing
the triceps hard.
- This is
the easiest position to place your feet
when doing bench dips.
- Note how
the knees are bent about 90 degrees and
the feet are relatively close to the bench.
- This position
allows you to support much of your bodyweight
with your legs during the movement.
- This position
is next in difficulty.
- Your legs
are extended straight out in front of
you. Your feet are far away from the bench.
- Be sure
to keep your back fairly close to the
bench during the movement even though
your legs are stretched further out.
- This position
puts the greatest tension on your triceps
without added weight.
- You may
even wish to place your feet even higher
up than this.
- After this
point, you will need to add resistance
either in the form of a partner pushing
down on your shoulders as you push back
up or with weight on your lap.
hardest position (not shown) is with your feet
pushing onto the wall pushing back hard against
your triceps as you do the exercise. Basically,
use the bottom picture as a reference - instead
of having your feet resting on top of the chair,
they are pushing against a wall, not supported
by anything. This is a very tough one!
This Workout Is So Effective:
I said above, the key to building the triceps
is to work them hard AND smart. If you're familiar
with "Positions of Flexion" training
by Steve Holman, you'll recognize these concepts.
start the workout with an exercise that puts the
triceps in a stretched position. The stretch position
has two main benefits - the first is what is called
the myotatic reflex (a.k.a. stretch reflex).
the muscle is placed under tension in the stretched
position, a quick change in direction causes more
muscle fibers to activate than normally would.
This change in direction should NOT be a bounce
but almost a twitch. So when you get to the bottom
of the Bodyweight Tricep Extension, get the stretch
in your triceps then change direction quickly
(but DON'T bounce!!)
second benefit of the stretch position is in helping
to stretch the fascia surrounding the muscle.
Fascia is basically a connective tissue "pillowcase"
that holds a muscle in place. Fascia is tough
and restricts muscle growth. Stretching helps
loosen the fascia and make room for the muscles
information on fascial stretching, check out this
Stretching Can Explode Your Muscle Growth
we move to the second exercise(s). The In-Set
Superset combines two movements into one exercise.
The Extensions provide another stretch-position
exercise for the triceps (this stretch position
is not as complete as the overhead position from
the first exercise, though) and the press gives
you a compound exercise that allows the shoulders
and chest to help push the triceps harder.
each set with a burn-out on the presses will REALLY
light up your triceps.
we move to the coup-de-grace: the Bench Dip. With
this exercise, we are looking for a MAXIMUM contraction.
The position that your arms are in (behind your
body) is the position where ALL the muscle fibers
of the triceps are in optimal position for peak
contraction. Just keeping your arms straight and
trying to touch your hands behind your back will
the stretch-position movement and the double-trouble
of the In-Set Superset, you hit the triceps with
the hardest contraction they are anatomically
able to achieve.
me tell you right now...if you've not felt your
triceps swell up like balloons before, this combination
of exercises will do it! And, you'll acheive huge
gains in tricep muscle development very quickly!
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