Lagging triceps are a common issue for many bodybuilders, and the main reason for this can be either not hitting them enough or constantly overtraining them. Since the triceps take a beating as secondary muscles in all of your chest and shoulder exercises, by the time you focus on isolating them, they’re already dead.
According to bodybuilding legend Dorian Yates, when you notice that your tri’s are reluctant to grow, take a closer look at your program – are your tricep exercises last on the list?
Because if they are, you can’t expect to see any substantial gains. Every muscle group requires a sufficient amount of stimulus to occur and force them out of their status quo and directly into a new level of growth. If your triceps are lagging, try to focus on them more – actually, make them the centerpiece of your workout for a while and make sure to hit them as hard as you can before moving on to bigger muscle groups. Or even better, train them on the same day as legs and biceps. If you want to prioritize your triceps, you will need to make them the centerpiece of your workout, as Yates suggests. Rather than training triceps after chest and shoulders, set them apart from your other pushing movements. Train your tris on the same day as legs and biceps. This way, your tris will be fresh when you hit them.
Start your triceps workout with lying triceps extensions and pushdowns – perform three sets per exercise, treating the first one as a warm-up set of 12-15 reps, while taking the other two to failure. On the lying triceps extensions, use a cambered bar because it’s easier on the wrists and elbows. Make sure to lower the bar to your forehead and keep your elbows stationary all throughout the movement. Don’t trade good form for heavier weight – that’s always a bad idea and could get you seriously injured at the very least. On the pushdowns, make sure to perform the motion on a controlled way and don’t let your elbows flare out – keep them rigid at all times. Finally, stop the motion only when your hands reach the midpoint of your chest.
Once you make triceps growth your first and foremost priority and once you start pushing every second set to failure, we guarantee that you’ll start seeing some amazing changes. Remember, you need to aim at full exhaustion of the muscles – to really grow, you need to push a set until you can’t go anymore. That being said, avoid overtraining by hitting your triceps only once or twice per week, and on different days from those when you train chest and shoulder. So, up the intensity but decrease the total volume, and you will start making some decent progress. Good luck!