Total Triceps Training - by Nelson Montana

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The Secret to Becoming "Well Armed"

Go to the mirror and straighten your arm down by your side. That's right. Right
now. Take a look at your triceps and you'll notice three distinct "heads." Can't see
them? We better get to work.
Nothing looks more impressive in its relaxed state than a meaty pair of triceps.
When the arms are hanging loosely at the sides in a short sleeved shirt, it's the
triceps which dictate the overall appearance. All too often, novice trainers work
the biceps to death in an effort to increase arm size. It would make more sense
to put the emphasis on tricep training since they comprise the majority of the
arm's potential size. If the tris look good, your arms will look good.
As indicated in their title, the triceps are made up of three separate muscles.
Although these muscles work in tandem, certain movements will stress one more
than the other. It's nature's way of assuring efficiency. Even though the muscle
moves in one direction, at various points, if one part fails, another picks up the
slack. (The body's an amazing mechanism, isn't it?) If bigger muscles are your
goal, you have to hit them from all angles.
It's important to note that proper form is essential to effective triceps training. A
common mistake when working the tris is the practice of using too much
momentum. Controlled steady movement is a must. If there's one lesson that
should be required to comprehend before proceeding with this exercise program,
it should be: "yanking" a weight from point A to point B is not the goal! Working
the muscle through the full range of motion is.
A good time to work triceps is after working the chest or shoulders. Any pressing
movement utilizes the triceps, therefore, they'll already be warmed up which
allows you to approach your first tricep set with full intensity.
The following routine is designed to hit all three heads of the triceps.

Let's start with the first exercise.
Standing Tricep Pressdowns: Emphasis -- The Lateral Head
This exercise is a favorite for bringing out detail and separation. Begin by
grabbing the pushdown bar with an overhand "false" grip. That means the
thumbs remain on top of the bar. In this way, the hands become extended
"handles", eliminating the tendency to squeeze the bar too tightly. Keep the
hands 12 inches apart.
Start with the bar level with the lower pec line and in a smooth controlled
movement, press downward until the arms are fully contracted.
Return to the original position in a slow, steady fashion.
Stay conscious of keeping the torso upright. It's natural to want to use body
weight to assist in pushing the pulley down. Make the triceps do the work! After
the first set of 10-15 reps, rest one minute and repeat for as many reps as you
can manage. You should already be feeling a pump in the tricep muscles by this

Single Dumbbell Triceps Extensions: Emphasis -- The Medial Head
MRI studies have shown that tricep extensions are an extremely effective
movement when it comes to recruiting the muscle fibers of the medial head
which creates that coveted "horseshoe" appearance. It also allows for a greater
stretch of the triceps than almost any other exercise.
Grasp a single dumbell firmly with both hands and place your palms flat against
the underside of the upper plates.
Bring the elbows close to the sides of your head and lower the weight slowly.
Allow the dumbell to extend behind your head until the hands go as far down
your back as possible.
Lift the bell back upward to full extension.
There's no need to "jam" the elbows at the completion of the movement. Once
the arms are straight, the triceps have worked to full extension. Forcing the
elbows into a locked position will only cause unnecessary stress to the joints and
Executing this movement in a seated position will prevent cheating, since you
won't be able to spring the weight up by bending and straightening your legs.
Single dumbell extensions are outstanding for accentuating the sweep
throughout the lower portion of the triceps. Do 2 sets of 10-12 reps.

Kneeling Rope Pulls: Emphasis -- The Long Head
The kneeling tricep extension with a rope pulley requires intense concentration.
It's all triceps!
This exercise requires a bench approximately 16" high, positioned sideways, and
a rope pulley attached to the upper section of a cable station.
Facing away from the pulley, grasp the rope behind your head.
Kneel down on the floor. (You may want to brace your feet back up against the
Place your elbows on the bench in front of you, shoulder width apart.
Keeping your head down, extend the rope forward.
When returning the rope to the original position, be sure the hands go back as far
as possible (your hands should almost touch the back of your neck) while
keeping the elbows on the bench.
Push forward in a smooth controlled motion.
Contract hard at the full extension point.
Go heavy! This is a terrific mass building exercise and in order to derive the most
benefit, it's imperative to use substantial resistance.
Shoot for 2 sets of 8-10 reps. Once you've reached failure, continue with a few
partial reps at the extended portion of the movement. Don't quit until it burns. By
the time you finish the second set, your tris should be cooked. But the fun isn't
over yet. For total obliteration, you'll need to do one more exercise.

Skull Crushers
This movement is affectionately named because the range of motion looks as if it
comes precariously close to clonking you on the forehead. Try not to let that
happen, okay?
While lying supine on a flat bench, take an overhand grip on a loaded barbell.
Either a straight bar or an EZ curl bar will work well for this exercise.
Hold the barbell overhead at arm's length. Bend the elbows so the bar comes
down to the top of your head. Return to the starting position. The elbows, of
course, should be the only joints moving throughout the exercise.

Do 3 sets of 8-10 reps or until you reach failure.
Skull Crushers are tough but they may well be the best movement for packing
overall mass onto all three heads of the triceps.

Stick with this routine and before long you'll be sprouting hefty slabs of beef on
the backs of your arms. Then the only thing left to do is make sure you're stocked
up in short sleeve shirts.
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Hey Stone Cold. You do skull crushers last? I do them first. I do all the exercises that you have listed but I do them in a little bit of a different order. I do my skull crushers first, then my single dumbbell extensions, then my rope pull and then i finish of with the pressdowns. I find that the skull crushers are my weakest movement from the four, so I like to start with them first. I always like to start out with my free weight exercises and finish with my machine exercises. That seems to work well for me.
Nonetheless, great post as usual!
Hey Fyre......I used to do all my heavier excercises first, but since my little heart episode (LVH), I like to pre-exhaust my muscles first, allows me to get a better pump, without straining the old ticker too much.
i do pressdowns , skullcrushers , and reverse grip benches , the reverse grip benches will add mass to your triceps
Hey DADAWG.....I've never done reverse grip bench before, I assume it is a Close Grip Press, only with a reversed grip ??
house1 said:
reverse close grip gotta try that one.

That does work good. I try to mix my workout each time. I'll do many different routines. This is my favorite..

3 sets/10 reps/Standing Tricep Pressdowns(Heavy)
3 sets/10 reps/Skull Crushers(Heavy)
3 sets/12-15 reps/Dumbbell Kickbacks
house1 said:
reverse close grip gotta try that one.
not real close grip , you can experiment but the mechanics of reverse grip take the pecs pretty much out of it but you do get a LOT of front delt along with tris , if the front delt part bothers you , you can do partials top half only or you could just let your front delts blow up to :D , im serious about this take the time to experiment with this and YOU WILL SEE GAINS , dont give up if it seems awkward just experiment with the bar only until you find a groove TIPS = you bring the bar much lower to the chest than conventional bench , you dont grip the bar in a typical manner you turn the hands outward slightlt so that the index finger is pointing in the general direction of the plates , there is a natural groove in the handstarting at the base of the index finger running towards the center of the base of the hand , it is really hard to explain but like i said just lay down on the bench with the empty bar and experiment until you find a good hand placement and groove your delts and tris will thank you , the local bodybuilders used to tease me a little about doing this excercise until i threw a side tricep pose at them and even with my overweight powerlifting build it liked like a whole ham ,they shut up the teazing about my excersize and just call me TRIZILLA now :p , ps they dont like to let me catch them doing it but i see them sneaking around doing reverse grip benches
I use a little more than shoulder width with my rev grip, I do rev grip (90% as much as my bench), skull crushers but behind the head, and a set or two pressdowns.
Not much in the way of compound movements in there. This routine is what added the last few inches on my arms
close grip bench
weighted dips
skull crushers

Heavy and simple
needsize said:
Not much in the way of compound movements in there. This routine is what added the last few inches on my arms
close grip bench
weighted dips
skull crushers

Heavy and simple

Would you do them in that order? If I was doing those three exercises I'd probably go skullcrushers, close grip bench, then weighted dips.
What am I saying, I do do those exercises....hehehe...except the weighted dips. They are awesome though Needsize, you're right on there. I do reverse grip presses once in a while. Again, I'm a big fan of switching things up so I will alternate week to week. (one week, close grip, one week reverse grip....):D
I do them in that order, for me it goes in order of stress on my elbows. Skulls hurt my elbows even at the end of the workout. Plus I always like to put the heaviest exercises first
needsize said:
I do them in that order, for me it goes in order of stress on my elbows. Skulls hurt my elbows even at the end of the workout. Plus I always like to put the heaviest exercises first

Good enough, just wanted to know if u did them in that order.;)
What kind of range of movement are you guys using for close grip bench, I like to keep stress on the triceps and go a little slow on these, but I haven't done these in ages because they fuck up my wrists, if I go all the way down.

What kind of grip spacing would you be using also?
Does anyone not get shit out of close grip benches, i have done them at every stage of my tri workout and i don't get shit out of them.
Achilles said:
Reverse grip bench eh? Never tried that and I think I will...

Be careful.....these are very hard on your elbows. They are excellent for mass though. No bigger pump than from reverse grip benches

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