Triceps are not always appreciated as much as biceps when people think about the arms. But, from a logical standpoint they should be twice as important. Ideally the triceps should make up two-thirds of your overall arm size. So while focusing on bigger biceps might make you think you are building big guns, it is truly the triceps work that lays the real foundation for arm size.
A Three-Headed Problem
The triceps are a three headed muscle and need to be trained appropriately. Usually any exercise will activate and stress at least two heads on the muscle. But because there are three heads you need to incorporate multiple exercises to hit the muscle properly from all angles. Basically your wrist position and elbow position denote which part of the triceps is being worked by a particular exercise.
So for this program we have two different workouts each comprised of three exercises. Ideally you want to alternate this program each session to not only surprise and confuse the muscles but also really hit things from all angles.
The Horseshoe Workout
Form is a big key to triceps work. You want to use a slower pace, squeeze the muscle at full contraction, and get a nice stretch to really get the maximum benefit. The elbow joint can be easily injured so make sure to warm up sufficiently and then go all out on the final work set.
- Dips (weighted or machine) – 3 sets of 6 to 10 reps – Do these with palms facing your body. Make sure to go as deep as possible.
- Incline EZ Curl Triceps Press – 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps – Set a bench at 45 degrees and basically do skull crushers. Your elbows should point to the ceiling and you lower the weight to your forehead.
- Rope Triceps Pushdown – 2 sets of 10 to 15 reps – Use a rope extension, keep your elbows tight to your body, and use the full range of motion.
- Close Grip Bench Press – 3 sets of 6 to 10 reps – Use a Smith Machine for these and place hands about 8 inches apart.
- Tricep Extensions – 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps -Hold a single dumbbell behind your head by grabbing the end of the bell with both hands. Lower the weight behind your head, keeping elbows tight by your ears.
- Single Cable Kickbacks – 2 sets of 10 to 15 reps – Attach a single handle to a high cable. Keep your elbow in a fixed position and have your palm facing your shoulder to start. Keep your wrist flat as you extend and kick back to really flex both the long and short heads.
Basically each program uses a heavy exercise to target the middle range, a stretch exercise, and a peak contraction exercise. We also are targeting a varying repetition range to ensure we work both strength and endurance. Overall the set count is low because the triceps get a lot of work from chest day. If you are doing chest with triceps then subtract a set from the first two exercises; the triceps are warmed up enough.