Kick-Start Your Triceps Size With These 3 Tips
Biceps obsession. It's one of the biggest muscle building mistakes you can make.
Training for that hardball-sized peak with endless sets and a tendinitis-inducing volume. All that hard work feels good and can bring on the worst degree of muscle soreness, but it's really overkill in every sense of the word.
The biceps are a small muscle group. While they certainly need to be challenged, you do not need to hammer them with volume overkill. Simply get them stronger over time.
Related - 10 Best Triceps Exercises for Mass
And what about the shape and peak of this muscle group? Not a darn thing you can do about it. Read that last sentence back slowly.
Not. A. Darn. Thing.
Sure, you can make them larger. Slightly larger. But this only grows the genetically-given shape you were gifted from birth.
If you want big, beefy arms, then triceps size is where it's at.
Building Bigger Triceps
The triceps group makes up two-thirds of your overall arm size. In fact, a thick set of triceps can add so much more to your arm size appearance. And if you're blessed to gave both a thick set of triceps and a hardball-shaped biceps...
Well, good night! You are an arm-size and shape god.
On the Internet folks often believe I have 20-inch arms, The truth is, they are only 17.5" pumped. I'm no mass monster; I am simply obsessed with triceps size and strength.
The triceps can take a lot of punishment. Much more than the biceps. It's OK to target them with a bit more volume and punishment. You do have to be smart about the punishment though.
So with that said, here are a few tips.
Tip #1 - Stop Doing Low-Rep, Heavy Work
Elbow issues are common in lifting. In fact, triceps work specifically can contribute to a number of elbow maladies.
Now I would be a liar if I claimed that the following strategy would prevent all cases of elbow swelling and discomfort, but it certainly helps. Here goes:
Stop training your triceps with extremely intense weight and low rep sets. What does intensity mean? Intensity is weight relative to your one-rep max. So if you're close grip bench press max was 315, reps with 275 pounds would be more intense than reps with 225 pounds.
No more five-rep sets with weighted dips and skullcrushers. You are done with this foolishness. Instead, push for progression in the 10-15 rep range.
- Weighted Dips - 3 sets x 15 reps with 25 pounds
- Skullcrushers - 3 sets x 6 reps with 105 pounds
- Weighted Dips - 3 sets x 4 reps with 75 pounds
- Skullcrushers - 3 sets x 10 reps with 75 pounds
Listed weights are arbitrary. The point is to lighten the load, do a bit more volume, and progress using this volume. You can't grow your triceps properly if your elbows are jacked up.
Tip #2 - "Perfect Form" Isn't Perfect Form
Step over with me to the cables station for a moment. Picture an arm brah that is performing cable triceps extensions and his elbows aren't remaining stapled to the side of his torso.
What's the first thought that pops into your head?
Your form sucks!
This is not bad form. The long head of the triceps is involved with both extension and rotation. Basically, driving the elbow down is a natural function of the triceps.
This small degree of downward rotation is working your triceps. It's OK to let your elbow "ride up" a bit during extensions.
It's also OK to let the elbow ride back a little during skullcrushers. I try to bring the bar to the middle of the top of my skull.
By using "bad form" and allowing the elbow to ride slightly on these exercises, you will actually be able to use slightly more weight and please less direct stress upon the elbow.
Of course, you'll have to deal with every scrawny gains expert hounding you about bad form. Won't matter though. Your triceps will be bigger and your elbows healthier.
Tip #3 - Bash Closegrips, Then Do a Mic Drop
Close grip benches tend to the first triceps exercises we use. Instead of smashing the closer grippers right after your bench and chest work, instead, crush them after your other triceps work.
Yes, you heard me correctly.
I really like ending my triceps workout with three to five sets of 10 reps. The back of your arms will feel swollen like sick water balloons. Scratching your nose will be difficult. Combing your hair will be difficult. Driving your car will be difficult.
Just don't blame me. Uber home if you have to.
Before we close this article, let me leave you with a beat down.
- Skullcrushers - 2 sets x 12
- Cable Triceps Extensions - 3 sets x 15 reps
- Close Grip Bench Press - 4 sets x 10 reps.