Everybody wants big biceps. But if you have just started training, you need to be aware of the importance of triceps too. This will teach you about the triceps, and the best way to train them!
By just training the biceps, your arms will not be as big as they can be, and they will look out of proportion. 2/3rds of the arm are made up of the triceps, so it makes sense that you are need to focus on training them to stimulate maximal arm growth.
Bits of the Triceps
There are three sections to the tricep that you should be aware of. Those are the long head, the medial head and the lateral head. We aren’t going to go too much in the anatomy of these things, but let’s give a brief description of what training each of these things will do for you.
Long Head – This part of the bicep that is on the outside of your arm. This is the muscle that gives you the peak to your bicep.
Short Head – The inside of the bicep. When you do the traditional bicep flex, this is the part that is most visible.
Brachialis – This small muscle is located underneath the long and short head. This needs to be trained to “push up” the rest of the muscle. Small but important.
How To Train
The Whole Body. Firstly, it is important to note that if you are hoping to train properly, focusing just on your arms, or on any one group of muscle is a bad idea. You need to first make sure that you have an overall balanced program for making your whole body grow. This way you will look good overall, and it will help you increase your arm size long term. You are not a Frankenstein monster, your body is one piece, so train is like that.
Compounded. When training the triceps, don’t fall in to the trap of trying to use too many isolation movements. Yes, isolation movements are tempting, they give you a great pump, and they are easier than compound. However, to truly strengthen and make the area grow, you have to put it through adequate simulation. This means plenty of compound work.
When to hit. It is generally accepted that hitting the triceps after another “pushing” body part is good. The triceps will be recruited during chest and shoulder work. This is then a great opportunity to push them further and training them after. This has worked for years, and it helps your triceps grow at a fast rate. This “pre-fatiguing” method can push the muscles into territory where they are forced to grow.
Exercises for Each part of the Triceps
For the long head of the tricep there are several moves that directly target this area. Some of the most effective moves for targeting this area are:
- Lying EZ bar extension (skullcrusher)
- Overhead Dumbbell extension
- Overhead EZ bar extension
A few exercises to target this area of the tricep include:
- Close grip bench press
- Parallel bar dips
- Semi-Supinated Dumbbell Press
For the lateral head try a few of these:
- Close Grip Bench (there is a crossover)
- Lying down Dumbbell extension
- Overhand grip pushdowns
Moves that work all or multiple heads of the triceps. These are possibly the most beneficial for your overall physique are good to use. With compound movements, your triceps will be handling more weight, becoming stronger. A stronger muscle is generally a bigger muscle.
Moves that are very effective include:
- Close Grip Bench (Yes, we have said this three times, but it really is important)
- Dips (Any variation)
- Variations on pushdowns (change your body position, hand position, and how far from the pulley you are)
Putting the Training Together
So what is the starting point for training the triceps? As mentioned above, these will be part of an overall training regime you are doing for your whole body. These are the laws to follow
- Don’t neglect the Lateral and Long head.
- Do compound moves before isolation
- Vary the rep ranges.
- Train with intensity
So a sample triceps session would be:
- Close Grip Bench – 4×8
- Dips – 3×10
- Skullcrushers 4×10
- Pushdown variation – 4×12
Shocking. Every few weeks, you should change the selection of exercises. This means that you are going to be continually shocking the muscles into new growth. Emphasize different heads at different times.
Elbows. During many triceps exercises, it can be a temptation to let the elbows flare out. This is to be avoided. Make sure that with every rep you are controlling your arm position. If you cannot control the elbows flaring, maybe lower the weight and master the form first.
SETS AND REPS
With your training, you always need to vary the sets and reps that you use. Sticking to one scheme of sets and reps can be very beneficial for a certain period of time. However, if you are changing the weights and reps that you are using, your muscles will be constantly out of their comfort zone. This means that you are constantly growing.
This is something, that if used properly can boost your ability to grow. Remember, that the “pump” can be used to flood the muscle with blood, and has been proven to increase size. This is not a tactic to be used all the way through your session, but at the end to finish the muscles off. One way to do is is by Drop sets. The weight gets lighter every set, and the reps get higher. The only rest you need is to reduce the weight.
This should give you a good foundation by which to train your triceps. The things that are going to help you the most in the long run are hard work, consistent effort and smart tactics. So have at it!