Triceps Workout Guide! Build Massive Triceps With These Tips
Those on a quest for big arms often spend far too much time performing set after set of bicep curls and tend to often neglect the triceps which believe it or not make up two-thirds of your arm… just because they’re out of site it doesn’t mean you have an excuse not to hit them hard.
Triceps are one of my strongest built muscle groups, so it’s not particularly uncommon for me to get asked ‘What’s the best tricep exercise?’
Let it be known that there is 100% no ‘best’ exercise for anything, read on and allow me to explain how to build bulging triceps forged of steel.
The biggest triceps training tip I can give you is to understand how to hit the 3 different heads of the triceps (yes, it is a 3 headed muscle) a strong, balanced arm will always have triceps that are developed evenly.
Before I explain the breakdown of the triceps muscle check out this anatomy chart:
- The Long Head
- The long head of the triceps is visible from the back (it runs down the back of your arms) the long head is the largest head of the triceps.
- The Medial Head
- The medial head, also known as the middle head of the triceps is located deep within your arm around the midline of your triceps.
- The Lateral Head
- The lateral head is known to produce the ‘horse shoe’ shape on the side of your arms, hence why it’s also often called the outer head.
Targeting Each Head Of The Triceps
Changing the angle of your arms changes the stress and intensity placed on each head of the triceps, There’s no magic tricks here… different angles focus on different heads.
This is where most guys go wrong, they’ll focus on one triceps exercise such as the straight bar pushdown which emphasizes the long head of the triceps, while they leave the medial and lateral heads of the triceps lagging behind in terms of both size & strength.
I recommend starting big and working your way small…
What do I mean by that?
Start with your long head, the largest head of the triceps.
Choose one of the following exercises:
- Skull crushers
- French press
Move on to the medial head, the second largest head of your triceps.
Choose one of the following exercises:
- Close grip bench press
- V bar push down
- Reverse grp push down
Finish off by training the lateral head, the smallest portion of your triceps.
Choose one of the following exercises
- Rope extensions
Perform 4 sets of 6 – 8 of each of your chosen exercises.
Additional Triceps Workout Tips
Ensure you’re not sacrificing form for weight, perform a full range of motion on each of your triceps exercises, don’t do half reps as all you’ll be doing is neglecting full activation of your triceps throughout the movement.
The weight you are lifting should be as heavy as your form allows for 6 – 8 reps, if you’re hitting 8 reps comfortably the weight is too light, up it until you’re grinding out 6 reps and stick with this weight until your pushing out 8 solid reps with full range of motion.
Utilize a thumbless grip (often referred to as suicide grip) when training triceps. From my experience I always get a better contraction when I tuck my thumb into the side as opposed to using it to hold onto the barbell or dumbbell.
Note: If you’re doing close grip bench press with a suicide grip ensure you’ve got a spotter on hand (or use the smith machine if absolutely necessary).
Train your triceps directly once per week, you don’t need to go overboard with 10 reps of 10 different exercises, I used to fall victim to these ‘typical’ arm workouts – they’re crap. Train your triceps directly with 3 – 4 heavy exercises once per week and you’ll be laughing.
Don’t just go through the motion of each rep, actively squeeze and engage your triceps throughout the movement.
Putting Your Triceps Training Tips All Together
- Choose one exercise for each head of the triceps
- Perform 4 sets of 6 – 8 reps for each of these exercises on your arm day
- Add in a ‘burn out’ exercise at the end such as diamond push-ups if you wish.
- Perform this routine once a week (ideally not the day before or after chest day as your triceps will already be fried from your bench pressing, or you’ll have a lousy chest workout the following day due to tender triceps).