All of the presses performed for your upper body (bench press, shoulder press etc.), use your triceps to a great extent, not just the chest and the shoulders. This is a good enough reason to take care of the triceps and pay good attention to their development.
We have heard all kinds of names given to impressively sized arms, starting of course with “guns”, “cannons” and all the way to “pythons”, for some reason. This just shows how much attention bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts dedicate to the arms, but a lot of people seem to neglect the importance of the triceps in this equation.
The biceps are important but so is the triceps, even more so, if you think about it. The upper arm is made out of two muscles (biceps and triceps), and the three heads of the triceps compose about two thirds of the upper arm, which means there can be no big arms without a big and well developed triceps.
The triceps is used for pushing, and it’s the main pushing force behind the upper part of the arm. It helps your chest do presses, including but not limited to the barbell bench press (both incline and decline and flat), dumbbell bench presses and shoulder presses. All of these exercises are impossible to perfect without a strong and well developed triceps.
I would suggest that you don’t make any long, unproductive pauses during your workout on this routine. Go to the gym, warm up on an elliptical machine or a treadmill, relax for a minute and then begin the workout shown below.
There should be no waste of time – perform as efficiently as possible for best results. Also, make sure you’re always lifting your optimum weight and get to muscular failure on your last set.
Before the workout, you’ll want to eat something. A small meal with about 20-30 grams of protein and 50 to 60 grams of carbs about 2 hours before the workout is just fine. You can use steak, chicken, egg whites or even whey for the protein part, and you can use oats, whole grain bread or a small piece of fruit for your carbs.
Drink a glass of water and you’re good to go. If you can, grab a nitric oxide drink before your workout – the timing should be about half an hour before going to the gym. When you get there, do your warm-ups and perform the following exercises for a quality triceps routine.
1. Close-Grip Bench Press
Begin this exercise just like a flat barbell bench press, but with a closer grip. Your hands should be at least six inches apart, and at most the width of your shoulders. If you put them closer together, you’ll put unneeded tension on your wrists and your elbows, but on the other hand, if they are wider apart than your shoulders width, you’ll put tension on your chest.
Grab the bar and lower it down while counting back from three until it touches with your chest. Then, in one swift motion lift it up back into the starting position. Congratulations, you just did one repetition.
You’ll need to do four sets of 10 to 15 reps with about a minute of rest between them, but make sure to do two light warm-up sets before starting with the heavy stuff.
2. Lying Triceps Extensions With EZ Curl Bar
Lie down on a flat bench with an EZ curl bar at arm’s length. Your hands need to be about six inches apart to get the best effect on your triceps. Bend your arms at the elbows while keeping everything else tight and static, including your upper arms.
Lower the EZ curl bar until it almost touches your forehead – it needs to be about an inch away. Remember to lower it down slowly, so count back from three to get it done right. Then, just like with the previous exercise, lift it back to its starting position in one swift motion.
Three sets of 10 to 15 reps with about a minute of rest in between should be enough. People with bad elbows sometimes can’t do this exercise right, but they can always try with dumbbells. If you are one of these people, hold your dumbbells with your palms both pointed inwards and then do the same movement as with an EZ curl bar.
3. Parallel Bar Dips
Put your hands on the parallel bars and push yourself up until your arms are straight. Bend your elbows and start going down slowly. It should take you about three seconds to reach a point where your upper arms are completely horizontal, and when that happens you need to push yourself up with an explosive movement.
When you get back at the top, clench all of the activated muscles. If you feel too light, put on some weight in the form of a vest or dangle weights from your belt.
Three sets of this exercise will do the job, with 10 to 12 reps per set and a minute of rest in between.
Also, you can do some bench dips simply by putting two flat benches next to each other. Put your feet on one of the benches and your hands on the other, facing the ceiling. Counting backwards from three, lower yourself to the floor until your upper arms are completely horizontal, and then explode upwards in one swift motion. You can also add weight if you feel too light – just put it in your lap.
4. Triceps Rope Press down
Find an available cable station that has a rope on a high pulley. Grab the rope and make sure your hands are facing inwards (towards eachother). Your upper arms should be static at your sides, so you only work the elbows on this one.
Bend your elbows, lowering the rope and raising the weight until your arms are completely straight. Clench all of your activated muscles for a second and then relax and let the rope go back to its original position as you count down from three.
Do two medium-heavy sets of 20 reps each with a minute of rest between the sets.
Be sure to lightly stretch and flex the triceps in-between the sets on all exercises. This will keep the worked muscles warm, help the recovery process and also decrease the risk of injury.
After your workout is finished, do some more stretching and make sure you eat some carbohydrates and protein. Your muscles, including your triceps, need the right nutrients to stay healthy and to develop properly. This means that you should eat something with about 30 to 40 grams of protein, 60 to 80 grams of carbs and at least 12-16 ounces of water. Here is what you can eat before and after your workout.
Also, to aid in your recovery and to further boost your gains, I would suggest that you use some supplements as well. Supplements like creatine, vitamin C and branched-chain amino acids. Armed with all of this information, you should be well on your way to creating a formidable upper arm and an even more formidable triceps. Remember, the three heads of the triceps compose more than two thirds of the upper arm!