Top 5 Triceps Builders
By Todd Bumgardner, MS, CSCS | Wednesday, September 30, 2015 11:27:02 AM America/New_York
For Building Massive Arms
Immense, robust triceps rule. Whether you’re a powerlifter questing after a 400-pound bench press or an every day Joe that wants his shirt sleeves to pop, building respectable triceps is a must.
Problem is there are a lot of triceps training time-wasters that obstruct lifters on the way to their large-armed goals. Let’s cut the malarkey. Here are the five most potent triceps builders.
1. Triceps Death
Look beyond the insidious name. This barbell triceps builder is as impactful as it is challenging. You will, however, need bench press boards—a one-board, a two-board, a three-board and a four-board—and a trustworthy training partner.
Starting at either the top or the bottom, you’ll do five reps on each board while progressing up or down. Once you’ve risen to the four-board, or descended to the one-board, you’ll return to your starting board—hitting five reps on each board along the way. Be sure not to re-rack the bar. You’ll hold it in the lock out position as your partner switches boards to and from your chest.
It sounds crazy—but you’re daring. You can handle it. But you must be honest and smart with your weight selection. Load the bar with a weight that you can full-range bench press for about fifteen reps.
Use triceps death to finish off a bench press session or as a main exercise on an arm-specific day.
2. Decline Dumbbell Skull Crushers
Gravity, as much as it holds us down, is a lifter’s best friend. But few exercises optimize its muscle-building effects like decline dumbbell skull crushers.
Point the elbows straight to the ceiling and lock them there. Extend the elbows and lock them. You just took the triceps through a big, tension-filled range of motion. Big range plus lots of tension equals muscle.
Use these in the eight to fifteen rep range and as your triceps-assistance work on a bench press training day. Or, if you so fancy, intermingle them in your arm specific training day.
3. Heavy Three-Board Press
Want big triceps? Train for strong triceps. Want to bench the barbell equivalent of a Tibetan Yak? Train for strong triceps. There’s no greater strong triceps tool than the heavy three-board press.
The three-board’s shortened range of motion does a few solids for those questing after big ‘ceps. It allows for heavier training loads and demands that the triceps do most of the work. The result is dense, powerful elbow extenders.
Perform three-board presses in the three-to-eight rep range. These reps ensure that the weight is heavy enough to train for dramatic triceps strength. You’ll likely be able to use significantly more weight than you do with a full-range bench press.
Use the three-board press as a main, or first level assistance, bench press training movement. I’ve found it works well as a heavier, main movement earlier in the week, keeping the reps between three and five. Then, to continue triceps transformation, program it later in the week as a first level assistance exercise at the upper-end of the rep range.
4. Floor Press
Like the three-board press, the floor press’ partial range of motion keeps the tension on the triceps and overloads the top of the bench press movement. Use it similarly.
Keep the reps between three and eight and program it as either a main bench press exercise or a first level assistance movement. You may, however, consider using it in close-grip fashion to bump the triceps loading up a notch.
5. Close Grip Bench, DB Skull Crushers, Pushdown Mechanical Drop Set
Mechanical drop sets progress muscles and movements from the strongest to the weakest mechanical advantage. The outcome is a great process for inciting lots of muscle-building fatigue.
To perform this drop set, plan ten to fifteen reps for each exercise, using a weight that keeps you a rep or two shy of failure. Once you finish an exercise rest for fifteen to thirty seconds. If you’re feeling heroic, skip the rest. Add this drop set to the end of a bench press or arm specific day and crank out one to three rounds.
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There are a lot of triceps time wasters out there. Skip those lack luster poverties of production and use these five powerful exercises. Hit them heavy, hit them for reps and watch your triceps grow.
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