Most people believe that the key to big arms is with bicep training but they’re sorely mistaken. The triceps make up 2/3 of the arm and are located on the back of the upper arm running from the shoulder joint down to the elbow.
Sure, you can get good results from tricep extensions and skull-crushers but you can get great results from adding in some variation to your training. The more ways you find to stimulate your muscles, the more your body has to adapt.
Dips are a brilliant way to build up not only the triceps but the chest and shoulders also. If you want to get a big upper body, weighted dips are the way forward.
The reason they’re so good at stimulating size and increasing muscle mass is that you can really load up the weight on this bodyweight movement. Most people stick to just the simple bodyweight movement. Except the more weight you add on then the harder your muscles have to work to complete the movement which therefore stimulates more growth.
Aim for 3 sets of 8 reps. Once you can complete all of these sets with the full range of motion then add on 1.25kg.
2.Bodyweight Smith Machine Triceps Extension
Another great exercise that only requires your bodyweight at the basic level and requires a degree of core control in order to stabilise the body. The interesting movement involved in this exercise is fairly different to any other exercise you have in the gym which therefore adds another stimulus to your training.
In order to make the exercise harder, you can change the position of your feet. This also makes it easy to transition between easier and harder resistances for supersets/drop sets.
When you start with this exercise you need to keep close to the bar as well as positioning it fairly high on the smith machine. Only lower the bar once you’re able to complete 8 consecutive full reps without losing core stability.
3.Close Grip Bench Press
A simple change in grip on a staple exercise such as the bench press can change which muscles are placed under stress more. Moving the grip wider places more emphasis on the chest and shoulders whereas moving the grip inwards puts more stress on the triceps.
Instead of grabbing the barbell at just wider than shoulder width, grab the bar at shoulder width or slightly closer than. Lower the bar to your sternum and then press back up.
You won’t be able to lift as much weight as your arms aren’t as strong as your shoulders or chest but it will translate to a bigger, stronger overall bench press.
4.Rolling EZ Bar Extensions
Adding in a small roll to your triceps extensions means that your arms get a little rest between each rep meaning you can lift more weight or crank out more reps leading to greater muscle and strength gain.
All you need to do for this exercise is lay on the floor with the EZ bar on the floor above your head. Roll the weight towards you until you have a full bend in your elbows. Lift the weight up with your arms until they are completely vertical. Once you can do 10 reps then move up the weight by 1.25kg on either side.
5.Lying Dumbbell Tricep Extensions
Similar in nature to the skull crusher but stimulates the triceps more in order to stabilise each individual weight. It’s great for eying up any imbalances you may have in either arm which affects your more compound lifts.
All you need to do is lie on a bench face up with a dumbbell in each hand. Hold each dumbbell above your head with straight arms and both palms facing one another. Lower the dumbbells to your head by bending at the elbows until your elbow is at 90 degrees. Then, lift the weights back up to start again with straight arms.
As you can see, there are plenty of interesting ways to train your triceps that aren’t the basic movements. The standard exercises work well when you’re just beginning but after a while your body needs new, different and fresh variations in order to adapt.
Not only is it important for adaptation but for excitement, too. We tend to get bored with certain exercises if they’re overdone so hopefully this article has also provided a way to get you reinvigorated for your training.
All of these exercises, whilst targeting the triceps, will translate over to the compound lifts such as the military/overhead press and bench press which require a large amount of strength in the arms. Test out these exercises for yourself to see which work for you best. You never know, you may find that you have a new favourite exercise.