If you’ve tried everything but your triceps just aren’t growing, you’re going to want to watch this. Here, I’m going to show you how to get bigger triceps by focusing your attention on the right area of this three headed arm muscle and the best triceps exercises for getting them to grow faster. I promise you, if you follow what I’m showing you then you will finally get this stubborn muscle to start packing on some mass.
ANATOMY OF THE TRICEPS
To begin with as always, it helps to review a little bit of triceps muscle anatomy. The triceps, as the name implies, is a three headed muscle comprised of the lateral head, medial head and long head. The lateral and medial head make up just one third of the overall mass of the triceps. The long head, all by itself, is responsible for two thirds of the overall size of the back side of that upper arm.
THE ABSENCE OF THE LONG HEAD
Most often, it is the long head that gets neglected when it comes to exercise selection. Despite the use of big compound movements like the bench press and close grip bench press, the triceps just won’t grow as much as they should. This is because the lateral and medial head of the triceps are most responsible for extending the elbow under load. This is exactly what these popular pressing exercises do. Without a significant focus on getting that arm up overhead (to place an extra stretch on the long head) or back behind the body (to get a tighter contraction on the long head) you simply won’t maximize the overall development of the arm.
That is easily fixable however. In this video, I’m going to show you three popular tricep exercises that can be improved to get more recruitment of the long head. Three of these are going to occur by taking advantage of more stretch while the other is going to help you get a stronger contraction.
LYING TRICEPS EXTENSION + STRETCH
The first is the lying triceps extension. It doesn’t matter if you are using a straight bar or an EZ bar to do this. The key is twofold. First, you have to make sure that you keep your arm angled backwards even at the top of the movement. This helps to keep tension on the tricep throughout the entire exercise. The second is the level of stretch placed on the triceps muscle at the bottom. If you stop short, and don’t allow your arms to travel back far enough at the bottom then you are going to lose the ability to tap into an extra stretch reflex for a more powerful contraction. This is something covered in a recent video but needs restating.
UPRIGHT TRICEPS PUSHAWAY
The next exercise is the triceps pushaway. This is often performed with either a cable or band setup. The key is not to angle your body too far forward when doing this. What happens is first, you limit the amount of stretch placed on the triceps once again. Standing more upright can greatly increase the elevation of the arm overhead. The second is the line of force of the cable becomes far less perpendicular to the forearm in the traditional version (which places less tension on the triceps muscle).
PLATE OVERHEAD EXTENSION
Third exercise that you will want to improve is the dumbbell overhead extension. Once again, this is popular because of its ability to get a great stretch on the long head of the triceps. The problem here is the dumbbell can be both limiting in terms of the depth of the stretch and harmful to the shoulder joint in the process. If you switch out to a plate, you’ll not only get a deeper stretch but you will put your shoulders in a more biomechanically favorable position.
Finally, if you want to get a stronger contraction on the triceps to assist in helping to grow bigger triceps then you want to do this last exercise. Instead of focusing all of your attention on performing standard triceps rope pushdowns with your elbows in front of your body you will want to figure out a way to get your elbow behind your body. This can be done with the offset pushdown shown. The longer rope on the working side will give you a chance to get more extension of the arm behind the torso. The non-working hand allows you to get a heavier load than a kickback while assisting with the eccentric overload as a self-spot on the way back.
All of these exercise swaps will help you to build bigger triceps. You won’t be saying “My Triceps Aren’t Growing” anymore if you try these. If you are looking for a complete program that will help you to build your best arms ever, be sure to head to athleanx.com and check out the Ultimate Arms program. In just 6 weeks, build ripped muscular arms that get attention while still training the rest of your body.
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