triceps is an arm muscle found below the biceps and as its name
says, it consists of three parts notably the long head, the lateral
head and the medial head. Also known as triceps brachii, this
muscle group is among the most amazing when fully developed because
it resembles a horse shoe. This is why you can hear body builders
mention horseshoe triceps sometimes.
is not as popular as the biceps and some people training in the
gym don't even know this muscle exists since it's not visible
practically because to get them appear in your arms, you really
need to train them hard. And getting that horseshoe shape takes
more time than your biceps to become visible. Due to the popularity
of the biceps, the triceps is often neglected. You'll see more
people doing bicep curls than triceps extensions thinking that's
the only muscle in the arms. When I refer to biceps popularity,
I also mean usually, when you ask someone to show their muscles,
most will contract their biceps automatically.
if you're looking to build muscle mass in your arms, neglecting
the triceps is a very bad idea. The truth is the triceps takes
about 60% in your arms with the remaining going to the biceps.
So if you visualize your arms with just bicep development, you're
missing out a lot on real arm growth. A well-developed triceps
will pack thickness in your arms and will complete your arm muscles.
One other reason why the triceps is important is because it helps
you lift heavier bench press, military press and it helps in other
exercises as well where the triceps muscles are solicited. So
pay proper attention to the triceps brachii. I find that when
a muscle group is hard to develop, that's an added motivation
to work it out and gain results.
So now, let's
take a look at a sample triceps workout. The following triceps
exercises are one of the best for building and blasting your triceps
for optimum growth. Note that the triceps is a small muscle group
and 6-9 sets in total is recommended. But it depends on the individual.
Some can do a bit more.
can be done either standing or seated using a barbell or one dumbell.
Grab a barbell and lift it over your head with your arms about
shoulder width and hands palms facing away from you. Slowly bend
your elbows and forearms backwards in a 90 degree angle such that
the barbell moves behind your head. Your upper arms should remain
static at all time. Then slowly return the barbell to its initial
position. Repeat. Go for 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions. Usually it's
more easier to use a dumbell with two hands holding it under the
weight plate on one side above your head.
Crushers / Lying Triceps Extension
Lie on a bench
while holding a barbell or one dumbell above you. Same arm position
as with overhead extension. Slowly bend your elbows and forearms
backwards behind your head. Then slowly return the barbell to
its initial position. Repeat. Go for 3 sets of 8-10 repetitions.
There is some similarity with the overhead extension but the movement
is not exactly the same since your upper arms are less static.
is a powerful triceps builder and can be performed between two
parallel bars with a weight belt containing a weight plate around
your waist. While grabbing the two bars, feet off the ground with
knees bent and legs crossed, slowly lower your body until your
elbows are bent no lower than 90 degrees. Then raise your body
up. Repeat. It's important to keep your upper body inclined more
backwards than forward to target the triceps more. The inclined
forward position will target more your chest muscles also known
as your pectorals.
Dips is a
very difficult exercise at first but once you master it, it's
a very enjoyable one. You can also perform weighted dips between
two benches positioned against each other horizontally and using
one of the bench to support your arms and the other to support
your feet. Same movement as with the parallel bars. To add weight,
it's preferable to ask someone to place the weight plate directly
on your body like on your legs. The weight belt won't be too convenient.
Apart bench, you can also use simple sturdy square chairs. Dips
can be done without weights as well but the weights are used to
build stronger and bigger triceps. This exercise can easily be
done at home and mostly anywhere if you have just a few basic
equipment. Not necessarily done in the gym. You can do 3 sets
of 8-10 repeats.
Like the name
says, you use a cable and you exercise your triceps by grabbing
two cable handles in each hand, a bit like a semicircle. Your
hands can either be palms up or palms down and will be in a 90
degree position before starting. To proceed with the exercise,
extend your arms while pulling the cable down. The rectangular
weight bars attached to the cable will move up. Your upper arms
should remain static during the movement. Then return to the initial
position. Repeat for a total of 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
Hold a dumbell
in one hand and bend your knees slightly while maintaining your
upper body straight. While holding the dumbell, keep your elbows
bent 90 degrees close to your hips. Extend your forearm backwards
so that you can feel your triceps squeezing. Keep your upper arms
static. Then return to the initial position. Repeat and do 3 sets
of 8-10 repeats.
Grip Bench Press
is a great chest mass builder but close grip bench press is a
great triceps mass builder. Reducing the grip width will lay more
emphasis on the triceps in a bench press. While lying on a bench,
grasp a barbell about shoulder width. Lower the barbell slightly
above your chest. You will feel more strain on your triceps than
your chest. Then push the barbell up. 3 sets of 6-10 repeats should
do. Close grip bench press can also be done with two dumbells.
This exercise makes me think about push ups which we're going
to discuss in the seventh exercise.
ups, when your arms are wider, you target your pectorals more
and when your arms are closer to each other, the triceps is more
solicited. Some people refer to the close push ups targeting primarily
the triceps as diamond push ups. Your thumb and index finger of
both hands are close and point to each other while making a diamond
shape. The diamond push ups will also add great mass in your triceps.
The only inconvenience is that you use your body weight primarily,
so when you've mastered the diamond push ups, it's difficult to
make it harder. Some alternatives to making the exercise harder
is to perform it in a declined position for eg, elevating your
feet on a chair or bench or by doing it horizontally but asking
someone to add a weight plate on your back. These will definitely
make the diamond push ups more difficult. You can consider adding
it in your triceps workout.
These 7 triceps exercises are not intended to be done all in your
triceps workout. Choose about 3-4. By having a variety of exercises,
you can vary your workout. Now it's time for you to start blasting
those triceps. With proper nutrition and rest, your triceps will
really grow and your dream in getting those horseshoe triceps
will become a reality at last.
About the author
Jean Lam is the webmaster of Body
Building Resource which provides articles on weight training,
nutrition and fitness, body building book and DVDs.