The Key to Bigger Arms: 5 Exercises for Beefy, Bold Triceps
Summer time is coming. This means your wardrobe is about to be dominated by tank tops, muscle tees, or no shirt at all. This also means your arms are about to be fully exposed to bask in that summertime sun.
So, roll up those sleeves and take a quick look at your arms: Are those guns locked, loaded, and ready to fire at a moment’s notice? Or are they more reminiscence of your niece’s pool noodles that she’ll be floating around on all summer?
If you want to turn those noodles into cannons you need to remember one of the most important rules regarding arm training: Focus on your triceps. Too often in our pursuit of bigger arms we get caught up in this notion that thousands of bicep curls will produce large, full arms.
While bicep work is important in developing your arms, it’s only half of the equation. Developing a set of strong, shredded triceps is key when it comes to producing bigger fuller arms.
When it comes to triceps training, the rope pushdown seems to have a stronghold on the triceps market. This is one of the most common movements individuals use to train their triceps, from beginner lifters to pros. But, for many people it tends to become the ONLY exercise they use to train their triceps.
Don’t get me wrong, the pushdown should be a staple exercise in everyone’s workout routine. It’s an extremely effective movement in helping to develop the long and medial head of your triceps. But, if you really want to blow your triceps up it’s time to step out of the box and takes your triceps training to the next level.
The key to developing bigger, fuller triceps is to train them from all angles. With these 5 triceps movements in your exercise arsenal you can revamp your arm training and blow up your triceps.
Build Bigger Arms Using These 5 Triceps Exercises
#1 – Close Grip Bench Press
Your triceps are engaged when performing a medium or wide grip bench press. However, with the wider grips, your triceps become more of a secondary muscle group; the chest being the primary muscle group engaged.
Moving your hands closer together takes the focus from your chest and places more of it upon your triceps. Your hands should be about a foot apart from each other, bringing the weight down to the lower part of your sternum and pushing up, as you would with a normal bench press.
This exercise helps add strength and thickness to your triceps. Perform these at the beginning of your triceps exercises when they are the least fatigued so you can hit these hard and heavy to develop that savage triceps strength.
Building shredded triceps using the reverse grip push down.
#2 – Reverse Grip Pushdowns
Reverse grip pushdowns are going to be a crucial movement in developing aesthetic horseshoes on the back of your arms, as they place the emphasis on the lateral head of the triceps.
Similar to a regular straight bar pushdown, attach the bar to a cable machine. Instead of gripping the bar with your palms facing down, grab the bar from underneath with your palms facing up. Pull the bar down until your arm is almost completely straight while feeling the squeeze on the back part of your triceps with every repetition.
You can also perform this exercise as a single arm exercise by attaching a D-handle attachment to the cable machine. Grab the handle the same way, with your palm facing up, and pushdown while turning your hand out towards the outside of your thigh.
If your triceps are stronger or more defined on one arm compared to the other this exercise allows you to focus on isolating a single arm at a time so you can perform more reps or add more weight for your weaker arm.
#3 – Double Cable Kickback
Kickbacks with dumbbells are great, but many of us tend to use the momentum of our body to swing the weight back when performing this exercise. By performing this movement on a cable machine you ensure the tension stays on your triceps.
Set up the cables so that they’re slightly below where your hands will end in the flexed position. This allows you to extend the arm in a more natural upward movement as your approach the end of the range of motion. Make sure you’re bent over about parallel with the ground, focusing on keeping your back flat, and not rounded.
Don’t worry about not being able to use a lot of weight with this exercise; the idea is to do slow, controlled reps, really focusing on the contraction and squeeze of the triceps at the top of the movement.
#4 – Incline Bench Tate Press
Set up a bench with a moderate incline. The idea here is to fully extend your arms at the top of the movement and exercise through a full range of motion through the elbow joint.
Hold two dumbbells above you as if you were going to do a dumbbell press. Instead of pressing, bend at your elbow, bringing the weight down towards the top of your chest. As you bring the dumbbells down to your chest, actually let the weights touch just briefly on your chest before starting the next rep.
This forces you to start each rep from a dead stop while allowing you to train through the longest range of motion possible. Be sure to keep your upper arms locked in place as you perform each repetition.
#5 – Body Weight Triceps Extensions
This body weight movement is great because as long as you can find any sort of bar or handle, you can perform this movement. I’d recommend performing this exercise on a Smith machine bar if possible.
You can easily change the resistance and difficulty of this movement by adjusting your feet, making it a great choice for supersets and drop sets.
Make sure you start close to the bar and position it fairly high to get comfortable with the movement. Keep your head neutral and your elbows tight throughout the movement. You should move back and lower the bar only when you’re able to complete a set of 8-10 repetitions without breaking form.
Blow Up Your Triceps
The next time you think about building a bigger set of pipes remember that training your triceps is just as important as training your biceps. Bigger and stronger triceps will not only improve your arm strength and size, but also help srengthen your pressing movements as a whole.
So, let’s get to work because summer is here and the sleeves on that T-shirt aren’t going to fill themselves.
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