The Best Tricep Exercises – Guide To Big Arms
Building muscular and big arms is certainly one of the most wanted goals for every man that’s working out on a regular basis. Here you’ll find the best tricep exercises to really take your arms to the next level!
One of the most common error people make when they want to build muscle to their arms is that they end up doing very specific concentrated work on the biceps. But when we look at the anatomy of the arm roughly 2/3 of the mass is located in the tricep! So naturally if you want bigger arms you should pay more focus to triceps!
When you look at the guys who have great arm development 99% of the time they’re well build overall not just their arms. If you try to train your triceps or arms in general by doing very concentrated work you’ll just end up over training your muscles and possible start to experience all kinds of aches and pains in your elbows and wrists.
So let’s look on a couple of things right away…
Building big triceps or arms in general will be the most efficient when you structure the workouts around heavy compound exercises such as Dips or different variations of Bench Press with barbell or dumbbells and different variations of overhead press either with barbell or dumbbell and on top of that we add some specific tricep exercises.
The heavy compound exercises will give you the biggest anabolic response and your body will produce the most of the anabolic hormones after a workout where the focus is on the major pushing movements what was just listed above.
This is a very important point to keep in mind. Doing the exercises with proper form not only decreases the risk of injury, it will also work your wanted muscles (triceps) better since you can get better feel for the muscle you’re trying to work since your body is in a natural and strong position.
Everytime you’re doing presses ON a bench be it flat, decline or incline you should pull your shoulder blades together. This puts the stress off of from your shoulders and the “pressure” of your barbell or dumbbells will rest on your back. That is exactly what you’ll want to do.
Also you should aim to do the same thing when you’re performing any of your overhead presses.
So let’s look at the exercises now…
In my opinion the best mass builder for triceps are dips. Try to take about shoulder width stance when perfroming the dip. What we don’t want to do here is take a wide grip since the movement will go more to your chest that way. So stick to the shoulder width or even narrower.
Start with your bodyweight and as you progress use a weight belt and add some weight between yuor legs. A good idea for people who cannot perform even one dip with their body weight is to do negatives. This means you jump up to the top position with your arm locked straight and just descend down and slowing the movement as much as you can.
Try not to go any lower than 90 degrees since this will put unnecessary pressure to your shoulders.
#2 Narrow Grip Bench Press With Barbell or Dumbbells
Another great exercise for really working that tricep. Even when the name is Narrow Grip it doesn’t mean that you should take any more narrow than what your shoulder width is! A lot of people make the mistake that they will take too narrow grip and then their elbows and wrists start hurting like hell. Just take as narrow shoulder width grip as you can. A good cue is to put your elbows touching your sides and forearms straight to the barbell.
Benching this way you’ll engage way more of you tricep than benching with you regular form, assuming that your regular form is not narrow grip due to shoulder issues or body mechanics.
#3 Overhead Press With Barbell or Dumbbells
Another great movement to consider. Overhead pressess are great because they require a lot of whole body strength to keep your body in proper posture and not shaking all over the place. They teach you how to keep your upper back tight and how to flex your lower body to stabilize unnecessary movement.
A good idea when really targeting the triceps is to lower the bar only to your eye level or even higher like the top part of your forehead. Try this one out and you’ll notice a big difference for sure.
Now that we got our all compound movements covered let’s move onto the secondary movements. You should do these compound movements first and after completing them follow up with the secondaries. But don’t crank all of these compound movements to your workout, instead alternate them. For example for the first two months, pick 2 of them like Dips and Overhead presses with Dumbbells and do them for two months, then switch up and take close grip bench with barbell and overhead press with dumbbells.
In fact it could be wise to target only one of these at a time, for example on your pushing days you’ll do your basic Barbell Bench Press first and after that target only triceps with dips. But if you complete all of these three exercises after your heavy bench you’re just making unnecessary work because you’re taxing your body too much as a natural lifter.
So let’s look at the secondary movements now:
#1 Triceps Pushdowns
You’ll probably seen people do this either with straight bar, curved bar or ropes. This is a good isolation exercise for the triceps but not a good mass builder. Keep your elbows close to your sides and push down with your triceps and try to eliminate involving rest of your body as much as you can. I’ve found this exercise to be great with different kind of variations. If done with both hands try to use rope since it proves a bit more natural movement since your wrists are in natural position compared to palms up or palms down. One good idea also is to use one arm at a time with the one arm handle and palm knuckles facing down. This also works great for isolating the triceps!
#2 Skullcrushers with Dumbbells
Great assistance exercise. Involves heavily on triceps and you don’t have to use lot of weight to get it feel right. I’d advice you to perform this movement with dumbbells since they offer more natural range of motion compared to the EZ-bar or straight bar. With the dumbbells you can keep your wrists neutral and doing this you won’t place unnecessary tension to your elbows and helps you to stay injury free. On top of that you will work both arms without the assist of the other and this will prevent any strength or muscle inbalances.
So here we have our necessary secondary movements for triceps. It would be a good idea again to choose one or the another per workout and alternate between them. You don’t have to exhaust the muscle to absolute failure by working everytime both of these movements.
So here you have a great blueprint for really exploding your triceps to a new level. For example I’ll give you a basic workout template for triceps. But bear in mind that you can also combine these if your workoutsplit is so that you’ll do chest & shoulders & triceps on the same day.
So here are the examples:
- Overhead Press with Dumbbells
- Tricep Pushdowns
Chest / Shoulders / Triceps
- Barbell Bench Press
- Incline Bench with Dumbbells
- Overhead Presses with Dumbbells
- Skullcrush with Dumbbells
- Lateral Raises
Again as mentioned earlier you can change the exercise after 1 month or 2 month OR even every week. It’s totally up to you and feel free to mix them and find out what exercises work the best for YOU. Nobody of us is built the same and every people responds different to different exercises.
So to emphasize the main points here let’s highlight the crucial information once again:
- Build your routine around compound exercises and perform them first
- Use proper form to avoid injury and gain the best feel for the muscle
- Don’t train yourself to failure
- Do the assistance exercises after compounds
- Alternate the exercises preferably after 1 or 2 months
So here you have it. Be sure to try these exercises out and you can be rest assured that you’ll be putting your triceps to serious growth with these!
Train hard and train SMART!