#3. Bent-Over Rope Triceps Extension Cluster Sets
Cluster sets are sets with built-in, intraset rest periods that have been successfully used for decades by powerlifters, strongman and other athletes such as IFBB pro’s Johnnie Jackson and Cory Mathews, who are looking to increase force production.
The reason why strength-focused athletes love them so much is because they allow for more weights, reps and total tonnage lifted than traditional sets. By optimally manipulating the rest and workload, cluster sets will also provide insane intensity to a workout, and it’s rather obvious how intensity directs muscle gains. For example, instead of doing a set of 12 straight reps, you will do a set of 3+3+3+3 reps, which allows for very short rest periods within the set, resulting with more total weight lifted and a greater anabolic stimulus.
For ultimate arm development, apply this technique to the bent-over rope triceps extension, a tremendously effective move for isolating the triceps muscle that will also spare your elbow joint.
For better balance, take a split stance. You need to start each set by bending over and elevating your upper arms so they’re beside your head, in order to most effectively train the tri’s long head. Use the same weight that you would use for 3 traditional sets of 12 reps, but this time perform just 5 reps, then rest exactly 15 seconds and perform another 5 reps, aiming to maintain a steady tempo. Repeat this sequence for a total of five minutes straight. If you’re not hallucinating from the pain by the end of the session, you’re doing something wrong!
If you want truly brutal gains, make sure to perform all of your arm exercises in a cluster fashion twice per week for 3-6 weeks. Whenever you find yourself unable to complete 5 consecutive reps, slightly reduce the weight.
#4. Weighted Dip and Triceps Extension Giant Sets
Rightfully named the upper body squat, the dip is a highly efficient exercise for training a big number of muscles, including the triceps, chest, shoulders and core muscles. More importantly, studies have shown that weighted dips maximally target all three heads of the triceps, and when used correctly will tax all types of muscle fibers, which is why top bodybuilders have been relying on them to make ground-breaking progress in arm development.
To use the maximum of their mass-building potential, combine them with a powerful triceps tri-set to create a triceps-terrorizing giant set. Giant sets build giant guns, so prepare for some brutal action.
Start your giant set with dips, using the highest weight possible that allows you to perform 5-8 reps. Then, grab a pair of dumbbells that are preferably about 30% of the load you would use on dumbbell bench presses for 10 reps. Lie down on a flat bench and perform these movements in a consecutive order without taking any rest:
- Neutral-grip dumbbell close-grip bench press: 1 rep
- Skull-crushers: 1 rep
- Pull-over: 1 rep
These three performed together equal one “super rep”. On each set, you’ll be doing 10 of these super reps, which amounts to an overall of 30 reps. Perform 3 giant sets in total, each of them consisting of 1 x 5-8 dips immediately followed by 10 super reps, taking no more than 2 minutes of rest between each giant set.
When performing the dips, try to control elbow flare and keep your body vertical as much as you can. On the skull-crushers, start from the top locked-out position and hinge at the elbows until the dumbbells are next to your head. For the pull-overs, start from the locked-out position and go slightly behind your head. As fatigue increases, reduce the weight gradually (about 10-15%) so you can still complete the prescribed reps.
Now that you know how pro’s build their Hulk-like physiques, it’s up to you to dial in the required amount of work. Nobody said it will be easy, but you can be sure this program will make you a true beast sooner than you think. Good luck!