Training the Triceps for Maximum Size Gain – Part Two

When your goal is to build yourself some huge triceps, you’ll have to put in some extra work and effort. Simply doing the “Big Three” isn’t going to cut it this time; you’ll have to hit these muscles with some extra moves that specifically target the triceps. Since you learned about the anatomy of your upper arms and how the triceps works in the first part of this article, now you’ll read about what exercises you can do to really make some size gains.

Best Triceps Exercises

In part one we covered how the triceps extends the elbow and helps to extend and adduct your shoulder under certain circumstances. In other words, any exercises that make your arm work in this manner, like the bench press, lying triceps extensions, skullcrushers, weighted dips, and dumbbell overhead triceps extensions will work your triceps. If you do these moves properly and ensure you get the proper nutrition for building muscle, you’ll soon see significant size gains.

The tricep is one muscle that really sees a benefit from doing moves using cables, so make sure you incorporate cable pushdowns into your routine.

Triceps Building Routine

In the good-old days, most guys trained their triceps on chest days.  You’d do your bench press and whatever else, and follow up your routine with some triceps finishing moves.  A potential problem with this is your triceps are pretty much beat by this point and you can’t really do them justice the way you could if you saved your triceps workout for a day or time when they’re fresh.

When you use an optimal weight and exercise to really overload your triceps, you’ll see better results. For those that don’t want to devote a separate day, try mixing up the order of your routine and do the isolation exercises first.

Like everything else, intensity matters so chose a weight that will genuinely challenge you. You don’t want to just complete the set for the sake of getting it done. If you feel you could do more reps then add some weight, and if you can’t do the required number of reps in a set, you’ve got too much weight. I know it’s simple, but a lot of people screw it up.

Make sure you perform each movement with a full/proper range of motion to ensure all three heads of the triceps are involved.

Here are two routines you can do to really build some amazing mass in your triceps.

Always do your cable work at the end when the long and medial heads of the triceps are fatigued. This ensures that they won’t take over and will allow the lateral head to do some work.

Like I mentioned before, try these sessions on a day when you don’t do chest, or mix up the order of the routine. Another alternative for those who have the time is to separate your chest and triceps workouts by several hours on the same day to allow your triceps time to rest and recover before you hit them with these moves.

Do these sessions once per week for four weeks, then you can do two per week. Advanced lifters with some decent size may be able to start out with two sessions per week, but go by what feels best for your level and ensures sufficient recovery.

Beginners should do Routine #1 on weeks one and two, Routine #2 on weeks three and four, one each of Routines #1 and 2 on weeks five and six, two weeks of active recovery in weeks seven and eight, then start over again on week nine.

Routine #1

  • Close-grip bench press – do four sets: 12, 10, 8, 6.
  • Decline skullcrushers or lying triceps extensions – do four sets of 10.
  • Triceps pushdowns – do four sets of 12.

Routine #2

  • Weighted dips – do four sets: 10, 8, 6, 6.
  • Overhead EZ curl bar extensions – do four sets of eight.
  • Inverted Triceps Pushdowns (using seated cable row grip) – do four sets of 12.

Active Recovery

Basically, this is a week where you want to give your muscles time to rest, recover, and grow. Take this time to assess strength balances using single arm overhead dumbbell extensions – do four sets of eight and gauge if your arms are equally strong or if you need to work more on one side. Anything more than a one or two rep difference between them indicates an imbalance.

Medicine ball throws are a great active recovery exercise for the arms.

Injury Prevention

It is really important that you allow yourself those two weeks to recover. If you want to build size, you need to give those muscles time to repair. If you follow the plan as laid out, you could have some massive arms in just 16 weeks. Don’t rush it, or you’ll just end up with injuries and no size gains to show for your hard work.

Keep your form strict. This means when you’re doing cable pushdowns, use a straight bar. Push down with your elbows slightly pointed away from your body. Keep your shoulders over the bar; this will work the lateral heads of your triceps the most.

Conclusion

If you want some huge triceps that fill out your shirt sleeves, you have to be willing to put in the sweat and the pain for at least a few months. But if you do this, you’ll have the guns to show off all your hard work.

Ok, let’s get after it and let the gun show begin!

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