The triceps are a fairly easy muscle group to train. Their job is simply to
extend the arm. Your job--as a bodybuilder--is to hammer the living daylights
out of them every time you train them. Here's how.
If you do triceps after chest or shoulders, they should be pretty warmed up
before you even get to your first isolation exercise. Even so, you should do on
warm up set and stretch them out some before going heavy. If your triceps are
lagging or you're hitting them first in your workout for some other reason, be
sure to do at least two warm up sets and some light stretching before you dive
into the work sets.
Once you're ready to go, I wouldn't recommend doing more than three
exercises. It's really only an opinion, but volume training approaches don't
tend to pay off as well as heavy duty-esque routines unless you happen to be
Arnold Schwarzenegger or a direct descendant.
I always flex and hold my tricep movements for a split second before I go
into the negative portion of the rep. I'm happier getting six reps with this
kind of form than whipping through eight or nine slopper reps. Don't get caught
up in the numbers game because you'll lose. Build your muscles not your ego.
On to the exercises...
Stand facing a pulley that's set to a height slightly above your shoulders.
You can perform this movment with a variety of grips. The most popular ones
are the straight bar, the triangular pushdown piece and the rope. To start the
movement, grap hold of your grip of choice and fully extend your arms
downward. If you're using the rope hammer grip, then push your hands apart at
the bottom of the movement to get the full benefit of that specialized grip.
Your feet should be less than a foot back from the pulley to provide
maximum leverage and stability. I always put one foot forward and lean into a
little bit over the weight.
If your arms are unevenly developed then I strongly recommend isolating
each arm in turn starting with the weak one by using a one-hand grip. You can
opt to do the pushdowns with either a palms-up or palms-down grip, but I find
it easiest to work with the one-hand grip if I use a palms-up grip. This tends
to work the posterior head of the tricep a bit more, but the anterior head
sees so much action during chest and shoulder movements that it doesn't really
need more than five or six work sets to itself.
There are two heads to the tricep muscles, both of which need to be worked
to achieve maximum overall development. The rope hammer grip will help you hit
the posterior head as will using a reverse (palms-up) grip on the straight bar
With a single light dumbbell, stand to one side of a flat bench. If you are
working your right arm then you would stand to the left of the bench, put your
left knee and left hand on the bench for balance and lean over so that your
back is running above the bench parallel to the floor.
Raise your right elbow to your hip and let your forearm and hand dangle
straight down. Keeping your upper arm at your side, extend your arm so that it
is completely straight. Lower slowly.
To work the left arm just swap everything to the other side.
This is a great peak contraction movement and it will help build mass along
the lower part of your arm because of the attention it gives to the anterior
Lying Tricep Extensions
Use a moderate weight on an E-Z curl bar and lie on a flat bench. Start
with your arms fully extended. Keeping your elbows pointed forward, lower the
weight to your forhead--or if you prefer--justbehind your head. Use your
triceps to extend your arms and bring the weight back up to the original
position. The bar should travel in a smooth arc at a regular speed. In other
words, don't hyperextend your lats and then use them to whip the bar back up.
This has--and always will be--a personal favourite of mine. You should
consider doing something that works both arms independently if you have a
strength imbalance because this movement will tend to worsen the problem.
Close Grip Bench
You can use either an EZ Curl bar or a regular barbell for this movement.
It is performed lying down on a bench in the same manner you'd perform bench
press. The difference is that your hand positioning is much closer together. I
usually space them so that I can almost touch my thumbs together if I were to
extend them. If this close grip gives you trouble keeping the bar balanced
then use the shorter and easier to control EZ Curl bar.
Lower the weight down to your chest and power it back up. I prefer to do
keep my arms slightly bent at the top of the movement and refrain from locking
my elbows. I feel that locking your elbows takes the stress off your triceps
which is not the goal at all.
Triceps, inner pectorals to a certain extent.
This is especially hard to do after a chest workout, but if you work
triceps with some other muscle group then this is a good movement.
Overhead Dumbbell Press
Sit down on a bench with a back rest and maneuver a moderately heavy
dumbbell behind your head so that your holding it with both hands. Point your
elbows forward and extend your arms raising the weight above your body. Lower
the weight down as far as you can before raising it back up. If you find that
you simply can't raise it once you've lowered it past a certain point then you
need to choose a lower weight.
Triceps, minor secondary stress on front delts.
The hardest thing about tthis movement is keeping your elbows from pointing