MISTAKE No. 4: Your Form Is Wrong!
When you put a lot of pressure on your triceps, your elbows need to stay locked. This means that when you move your elbows in literally any direction, you transfer some of the pressure from your triceps to your shoulders. If you do this, you can lift more weight and perform more reps, but it’s still counterproductive – when you’re not putting all of the pressure on your triceps, you are practically turning that exercise into some partial pullovers, which takes the pressure off the triceps and puts it on the shoulder. This will result in an ineffective workout.
Here’s how to correct this flaw:
- Make sure that your elbows do not move from their intended place until muscle failure. If you’re doing pushdowns this shouldn’t be a problem because all you need to do is press your elbows down by your sides and locking them there.
- When you’re doing strict reps and you get to muscle failure, loosen up your form so that you can do some more reps. This can be achieved by shifting the position of your elbows forward when you’re in the negative half of the rep, and back again when you’re in the positive half of the rep. Cheating is okay sometimes, but don’t overdo it – it should be just enough to allow you to keep going.
MISTAKE No. 5: Overtraining
People that want to make their arms huge know that the triceps are far larger than the biceps and they want to take advantage of that, so if they’re doing ten sets for their biceps, they’ll do fifteen for the triceps. This is why the triceps is the one muscle in your body that is much more susceptible to overtraining.
There is another reason the triceps are being overtrained – when you’re doing back workouts your biceps come into play and they get a bit stressed as well, but when you’re doing chest or shoulder workouts (consisting of pressing movements or dips in the case of your chest), your triceps are activated instead. The worst case scenario is the most common one – training your chest, triceps and shoulders on different days. If you do this, your triceps are getting pummeled every day without any time to recover, which means that they won’t grow at all.
Here’s how to fix this:
- Twelve sets are all you need for training muscles as small as your triceps. However, if you’ve got chest and shoulder exercises which include pressing, you should think about lowering that number down to less than ten because of the pressure that your triceps are put under when they lock out your presses.
- Your muscles need some rest! Make sure that you have at least two days between triceps exercises and shoulder or chest exercises. Switch up your routine – it will do you good.
So, all in all, make sure that you hit all three heads on the triceps – the medial, the long and the lateral head. Also, modify your routine so that the first exercises you do are compound lifts, the next triceps exercises are two-hand free weight lifts and ending with cable exercises or one-arm movements.
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Furthermore, you need to know when to drop the cables and pick up some free weights. It’s not always about the machinery – some simple block of steel will help you achieve just as much progress. Another thing to remember is that when you’re doing triceps exercises, you will need to lock your elbows in place until you reach muscle failure with strict reps. This is extremely important if you want to have any progress for your triceps. And finally, don’t perform more than twelve sets when you’re working on your triceps and always have at least 48 hours between triceps and chest and shoulder exercises.