don't always get much respect when it comes
to the arms...when people want to see your
arms, they want the biceps shot!
biceps riding on top of lackluster triceps
aren't going to impress anyone. Guys, if
you want the big, thick horseshoe triceps
that stretch your t-shirt sleeves or ladies,
if you want tight arms that turn heads,
you've GOT to work the triceps.
THAT is where
these two exercises I'm going to tell you
about come into play.
you right up front, you're NOT going to
build a whole lot of muscle mass with these
two exercises - you need more mass-targeted
exercises like dips and close-grip presses
for that. That's not what these exercises
got a bit of tricep mass, what you WILL
do is develop the SHAPE of the muscle in
those hard-to-reach places that will really
set your arms apart from the rest.
let's face it...even if you DO want monster
mass on your arms, what looks better...a
nice-sized but well-defined tricep or a
big, shapeless gob of meat?
That's me, after a couple
of these exercises...
Obviously, to perform
these exercises, you're going to need a cable
cross-over machine. In a pinch, you can also do
these exercises one arm at a time on just a single
high pulley. The two-arm versions will be more
effective, especially for the second exercise.
And just fyi, at
the bottom of the article, I'll have links where
you can see more pictures and full video of both
of these exercise in action.
So let's get to
- Cable Cross-Over Lateral Extensions
This one is going
to target the long head of the triceps, which
runs directly down the back of the arm. It's the
largest of the three heads of the tricep muscle
(tri=three...cep=head) and it's also target #1
for women looking to tighten up that "batwing"
thing I mentioned in the title of this article.
Naturally, if you've
got a load of extra fat under your skin contributing
to that flapping, no amount of direct tricep work
is going to help - you need to work on getting
rid of that first. But if fat is not the problem,
this exercise CAN definitely make a difference.
The long head of
the tricep makes up the back half of that horseshoe
shape, in addition to a good chunk of the overall
mass of the tricep itself.
Set up a fairly
light weight on this one the first time you do
it - you can always increase that later once you
get an idea of how much you're able to work with.
Grab the LEFT pulley
handle with your RIGHT hand then step over and
grab the RIGHT pulley with your LEFT hand. The
cables will be crossing up right in front of your
Your hands will
be beside your head - this start position actually
looks like a bicep pose.
Now, keeping your
upper arms horizontal (parallel to the ground),
extend outwards and a little bit behind you, bringing
the handles wide and to the sides.
Try to imagine as
you push those handles down and back that you've
got a giant ball in your back that's pushing your
torso forward as you're wrapping your arms around
Because not only
are you trying to extend directly out to the sides,
in this arm position that small bit of backwards
tension also helps to involve the lateral head
of the triceps (the other part of that horseshoe).
Repeat for 10 to
15 reps, squeezing the triceps HARD at the bottom
of each rep.
To do this one on
a single high-pulley, just grab the pulley with
your right hand with your left side towards the
stack. The exercise is performed exactly the same
- Cable Cross-Over Arm-Twister Pushdowns
This exercise looks
REALLY uncomfortable (it's not, so don't worry
about it) but it's VERY effective for directly
targeting the lateral head of the triceps - the
one that gives WIDTH to the arms.
Guys, this is the
one that makes the triceps look like they're popping
out of your t-shirt sleeves. Ladies, this is the
one that helps develop that cut that divides the
cap of the shoulder muscles from the arm muscles.
Again, keep the
weight on the light side the first time you do
this one, until you get an idea of how much weight
you can use with it.
Grab the right cable
handle with your right hand and the left cable
handle with your left hand.
Now comes the weird-looking
part...you're going to TWIST your body around
180 degrees so you're facing the other direction,
while keeping your grip on the cable handles.
It almost looks
like you're trying to twist your own arm here
but what it does is give the pushdown exercise
an almost 100% directly lateral (to the side)
movement, which will really target that lateral
To get the idea
of this one, the video will come in VERY handy...don't
want you twisting yourself into a pretzel!
So once you're twisted
around, your arms will be bent, one in front,
one behind. Now push down directly to the opposite
Do 6 to 8 reps on
this one side then twist yourself around in the
OTHER direction so the other arm is behind and
continue for another 6 to 8 reps. Make sure you're
getting a good hard squeeze on the triceps of
both arms at the bottom of these movements.
To perform this
exercise with one cable stack, you'll need to
do the two arms (one in front, one in back) separately.
First, grab the right high pulley with right hand
then spin 180 degrees to your left. This will
put in position for the behind-the-back pushdown.
To do the "in front" pushdown, stand
with your left side to the pulley then reach across
your body and grab it with your right hand. Then
do a pushdown directly down and to the right,
in front of your body.
Put these two exercises
together and you've got a horseshoe-defining,
batwing-stopping, arm-twisting tricep workout
that'll get you those head-turning arms you want.
Exercise #1 - Cable
Cross-Over Lateral Extensions
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