Everybody loves the bicep curl, but what people often overlook is the roll that the triceps play in developing large, muscular forearms. Your triceps are larger muscles than your biceps, and what’s more, they’re functional muscles; they play a key role in such basic compound exercises as bench-pressing to pushing back an opponent in a football game. Just because you can’t see them when you stare in the mirror doesn’t mean you should be ignoring them-much the opposite, in fact. So here are five triceps exercises for you, each designed to get your tri’s ripped and powerful.
Half of these exercises are multi-joint exercises, and even the isolation moves are designed to shock your muscles into growing bigger and stronger. Thus dumbbell kickbacks aren’t included, because while it’s not a bad exercise, it won’t provide the most returns for your investment. Also, try to train your triceps with different muscle groups each time-always focusing on the chest or biceps will get you in a rut, so try to incorporate your legs. Finally, pick 2 of these exercises, and perform 3-5 sets of each. Each set should be 6-20 reps, but keep them in the 6-12 range if you want to build size. Perform this workout twice a week-more than that is overtraining.
Use this variation to gain more strength on different angles of the pushdown. Face the cable stack, lock your elbows to your sides, grab the rope or handle attachment, palms down. Do eight reps standing straight, squeezing your tri’s at the bottom, and then take a step back so you’re at a 45 degree angle. Do another eight reps, then take second step back, so that your back is parallel to the flood, and do a final eight. That’s one rep.
This variation on the classic dip will keep you from using your stronger side to compensate for your weaker side. Grab the dip bars and begin with your body extended, arms straight, and then lower yourself down, shift your weight to the left, and rise back up, then back down, shift to the right, and up. That’s one rep. Make sure to keep your elbows over your wrists.
Bandit Loop Plank Extension
Grab the handles of a Bandit Loop cable, each about 20 inches off the floor, and get into a plank position, on your tip toes, back straight, arms extended, core tight. Lower yourself, elbows in, till your head reaches your hands, and then extend back out. This exercise is excellent for bringing into play key stabilizer muscles that normal triceps exercises don’t use.
Close Grip Medicine Ball Push-Up
This exercise forces you to use your stabilizer muscles once more, given the medicine ball’s uneven surface and tendency to roll. Place the ball beneath your sternum, grip it with both hands, fingers spread. Lower yourself, spreading your elbows out wide, and then push back up, squeezing your triceps.
Uneven Over-Head Triceps Extension
Grab an EZ-curl bar with an uneven grip, one palm grabbing the vertical part, the other the horizontal. Lower it the bar behind your head, keeping your arms close. This overloads one arm while keeping the other engaged, which is better than a single arm-arm extension.