Goals: Size & Strength
Bodypart: Triceps, long head
Ask a guy to flex his arms and you're more than likely going to receive an enthusiastic, front double biceps pose. But if he really wants to show off, maybe he should be hitting a side triceps pose. No matter how intimidating a guy's peaks are, his biceps are going to be overshadowed by his triceps which possess more mass gram for gram. Many people don't think about it or realize it, but your triceps account for some 2/3 of your upper arm sinew.
Still, biceps get all the glory. That is, until you have a set of triceps that you can't help but show off. By training the the long head at the beginning of each triceps workout, you give yourself a healthy head start on bigger arms. This meaty, inner portion of your tri's, when bombarded regularly with heavy weight, will help you stretch the tape measure to sleeve-busting proportions.
To emphasize this area of your triceps -- you can't truly isolate any one head of your triceps -- you need only to perform exercises where your arms are elevated above your head. This puts a deeper stretch on your long head, making it work harder to complete each rep. Each of the following exercises focuses on this area in a slightly different way. If you're long head challenged, start each of your triceps routines with one of these mass-building moves in the 8-12 rep range.
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Advantage: Free-weight training with barbells (or an EZ-bar) allows for greater weight loads to be used.
Start: Lie faceup on a flat bench with your feet flat on the floor. Have a partner hand you a straight bar (or EZ-bar) and grasp the bar at full extension with an overhand grip.
Move: Squeeze your triceps as you slowly lower the bar down toward the top of your head. When you reach a 90-degree angle in your elbows, pause for a moment then forcefully extend your arms and press the bar back to the starting position.
CABLE OVERHEAD ROPE EXTENSION
Advantage: Cables provide constant tension throughout the entire movement.
Start: Attach a rope to a low-cable pulley, then grasp it with a neutral, shoulder-width grip and face away from the stack. Take a step out with one foot and lean forward at the waist 30-45 degrees, keeping your abs tight, eyes forward, back straight and upper arms almost parallel to your torso.
Move: Keeping your elbows stationary, flex your triceps to extend the weight overhead until your arms are straight. Squeeze hard and slowly return to the start.
TWO-ARM LYING DUMBBELL EXTENSION
Advantage: Dumbbells allow you to snuff out strength imbalances that may exist between arms and require more muscle to control the weight.
Start: Lie face-up on a bench holding two dumbbells above your chest, with a neutral grip, at full extension.
Move: Keeping your elbows stationary, lower the dumbbells in a small arc toward the top of your head. When you reach a 90-degree angle in your elbows, reverse direction with both dumbbells by forcefully contracting your triceps until the dumbbells reach the starting position.
Alternatives: Single-arm overhead dumbbell extension, two-arm overhead dumbbell extension, 45-degree French press, single-arm overhead rope extension, incline overhead cable extension, standing overhead triceps extension (barbell or dumbbells).