In the past year, I’ve lost an inch on my arm size. The good news is, I know how it happened and I can make sure it doesn’t happen to you too. In this video, I’m going to show you the single exercise that accounted for this extra inch of triceps mass. Beyond this, I’m going to show you the science of how it works and the right way to perform this triceps exercise.
First, it helps to understand the back story. Back when I was with the New York Mets, I made a friendly wager with Carlos Beltran that I could throw a ball from the rightfield corner to third base on the fly. I lost more than the bet. I wound up tearing the labrum in my right shoulder and spent years having to train around the injury without surgery. Last year, when trying to brace a fall and not land on one of my infant sons, I landed awkwardly on my outstretched left arm and did the same damage to my left labrum.
During this time, I have had to make modifications to my arm training. These modifications, while allowing me to heal my shoulder once again without surgery have not come without some repercussions. Mostly, I have experienced a drop in about an inch of the size of my arms, and I can attribute it to not doing a single exercise.
The exercise I stopped doing the way I normally do, or even all together, was the lying triceps extension. Some call this a nosebreaker or a skull crusher. To understand how significant this triceps exercise is to the overall mass of your arms it helps to look at the anatomy. Different from the other two heads of the triceps, the long head has an attachment at the shoulder blade. This bodes differently for how you want to train it.
In order to work the muscle through it’s full range of motion, you want to find some movements that place the triceps on stretch. In order to do this you have to raise the arm overhead to create more distance between the elbow and the point of attachment on the back of the shoulder blade. This is easily accomplished with exercises like the seated overhead dumbbell extension and the more effective lying triceps extension.
The issue is, not only does this position place the most amount of stretch on the triceps but it also places a shoulder that has issues in a compromising position. With the injury to my labrum, I was unable to reach the same levels of depth on the exercise or even the same range of motion without feeling discomfort in the shoulder joint and labrum. I stopped doing the movement because of this.
What resulted, was a decrease in the size of my arms. The good news however is, I did train smart and gave my arm a chance to properly heal without needing to resort to surgery to fix it. Now, with the arm feeling good again, I can already see a return of the size of my arms by getting back to the staple bicep and tricep exercises I used to build up the arm size in the first place.
If you want a complete program that shows you how to train hard and smart without having to set yourself back forever when injuries or issues come up, head to athleanx.com and get the ATHLEAN-X program that best matches your current goals. See how to build your arms fast and build ripped athletic muscle in just the next 90 days at the link below.
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Jeff Cavaliere M.S.P.T, CSCS
Jeff Cavaliere is a Physical Therapist, Strength Coach and creator of the ATHLEAN-X Training Programs and ATHLEAN-Rx Supplements. He has a Masters in Physical Therapy (MSPT) and has worked as Head Physical Therapist for the New York Mets, as well as training many elite professional athletes in Major League Baseball, NFL, MMA and professional wrestling. His programs produce “next level” achievements in muscle size, strength and performance for professional athletes and anyone looking to build a muscular athletic physique.