As expressed by most athletes, flexing your biceps after you win or make a big play signifies your strength and dominance.
The lump of yours bicep and the size of your arms prove your quality training, but here’s a secret – your biceps don’t make your arms look big – your triceps do!
What is the Triceps Muscle?
The triceps brachii muscle group is the muscle down the rear of your arm.
When you hold you arm straight with your fist clinched, extended all the way, the cutout looking triangle that bulges in the back is your tricep.
The triceps are responsible for the extension of your elbow joint.
How To Build Your Triceps
Exercise #1 (superset)
Skull Crusher (set 1 – 12 reps, set 2 – 8 reps, set 3 – 8 reps)
I like to start my triceps workout with the most awkward exercise, the skull crusher. You can use a barbell, a smaller curl bar, or dumbbells.
You lay on your back on a bench, extend your arms out in front of you, shoulder length apart. With bar in hand, you then bend your arms towards your forehead, coming as close as you can to your forehead.
You then extend your arms back up straight, stopping at the vertical nipple line.
Reverse Grip Bench (12, 8, 8)
Next you do reverse grip bench (I superset these with the skull crushers). You lay a little further up on the bench to where your head is on the end of the top of the bench.
You grip a little bit closer than regular grip (little closer than shoulder length), but the key is to go reverse grip (hands backwards). You then treat the exercise like a bench press.
Exercise #2 (superset)
Rope Push Down (12, 8, 8)
Rope push down really gets blood into the muscle. You use a rope attachment for the push/pull down machine. You take your hands to the bottom of the rope, above the ends, to push down. To begin the exercise, you push down until your arms are 90 degrees with your elbows in. Bend your knees slowly. You then push down until your arms are fully extended. They key is when you come back up, to stop at 90 degrees, keeping your elbows in to your body the entire time.
Reverse Single Arm Push Down (12, 8, 8)
Use the attachment for a single grip on the push/pull down machine. You then reverse grip and extend to 90 degrees, where you’ll begin the exercise. Much like the rope push down, you’ll go from 90 degrees to fully extended, keeping your elbows in.
Seated Dumbbell Tricep Press (12, 8, 8)
You sit on a bench with your back straight. You take a dumbbell overtop of your head, extended upwards. Your hands are triangle shaped on the dumbbell with your hands up towards the ceiling.
Beginning the exercise, bend your arms down to above your shoulder blades, and then extend your arms back up to the top, repeat.
Exercise #4 (Triset)
Straight Bar Push Down (12, 8, 8)
Using a straight bar, you attach it to your push/pull down machine. Much like the rope push down and the reverse single arm push down, you begin the exercise at 90 degrees. You push down until your arms are extended and come back up to 90 degrees. Slight bend in the knees, keeping elbows in the whole time.
Bench Dips (20, 15, 15)
On the bench, put your body out to the side of it, leaving only your hands on the bench. You then dip your body down until your glutes almost hit the floor, with your legs all the way extended. You push back up to where your arms are nearly locked, and repeat.
Close Grip Dumbbell Push Up (25, 20, 20)
You lay one barbell on the ground, standing upright. You then grip the dumbbell on the top and do push ups. This allows more weight to be put on the triceps, with core work involved in the exercise. Using only body weight, repeat push ups extending to almost full arm lock extension.
Take Home Message
If you’re looking to add definition or size to your arms, use this ultimate triceps exercise to your training plan. The triceps will add size to your arms overall, as triceps allow your arm to look bigger through mass than biceps do.
If you’re looking for more definition, less weight more reps. If you’re looking for size, more weight less reps. Good luck!