Today I'm going to talk about triceps, and give you some tips for some bigger guns!! When it comes to triceps it's as much about the stretch as it is with the contraction.
Movements such as skullcrushers, overhead db extensions, single arm overhead extensions, and tricep dips are all about the stretch.
Most guys simply do not stretch their arm back far enough, because if they did they'd be using a lighter weight and they don't want to do that. When I do overhead db extensions I stretch until the db just about hits my back, often it does.
A typical set is usually started with 20 lb db's, maybe 25's, and I'm topping out with 40 lb db's for 12 reps slow and controlled (single arm db extensions) I rarely use both arms at the same time, usually single arm extensions. So next time you're in there drop the weight and focus more on stretch.
The top 5 triceps exercises for bigger arms
Tricep pressdowns – Here is a little something I do quite often actually. Depending on how far back you stand, the angle of the pressdown changes and actually hits your triceps in different areas, top/middle/bottom. So sometimes I'll do 3 reps standing close to the stack (where cable is straight up and down) take 2 steps back and another 3 reps (cable probably a 70 degree angle) then another 2 steps back and 3 more reps (maybe a 60 degree angle)… repeat pattern until I fail. The hardest position is standing closer to the stack, but sometimes when I take a couple steps back it seems to release the burn a little and I go for more reps, then step back in and hit it 90 degrees some more. It's kind of cool really, it's like a way to recover briefly within the set but not stop.
The 1 minute dip – This is great for a finisher, and grueling. But I like intensity so I love them. Boyer Coe used to do these, and damn if they don't work well. Start at the top of a dip motion and descend down slowly counting to 30 seconds, then ascend up counting to 30 seconds. You want to time it so you hit the 30 second mark right at the bottom most stretch, and the next 30 second mark at the peak when your arms are straight again. So your arms are under a load for a total of a minute. I'm at the point where I can do a 30 second negative, 30 second positive, 30 second negative, 20 second positive, I give out on the 2nd rep as I'm about 3/4 of the way up. Try this as a finisher sometime if you've never done it, it's great for muscle control and hitting those fibers really deep.
The skullcrusher – Ok, a little tip for the skullcrushers. First off, take a look at your tricep. What you're looking for is how far from the elbow your tricep starts at. The closer it is to the elbow the bigger you can get your arms genetically, same with biceps. I honestly have about 3-4″ from the elbow before my tricep starts, I have a “high tricep.” Therefore. when doing a skullcrusher it benefits me more going slightly behind my head with the bar rather than to my forehead. I just feel it much more, it also gets that deep stretch, the negative to the forehead just feels like it's all joint/elbows and less triceps. See if you feel them a little better stretched out behind your head a little more.
Also, on the contraction, try stopping the bar before it gets straight over your face (as if you were in the position to start a bench press). That's a relaxation point and benefits you none, but if you stop short with your arms still straight (maybe in line with the point where the top of your head meets the back of it, instead of above your eyes) you'll feel your tricep contract the entire time, even locked out. This is working smart, it's maximizing your contraction and time under tension to the fullest degree.
The skullcrusher/close grip bench combo – It's easy. You do a skullcrusher with a close grip on the ez curl bar, followed by a close grip press. That's 1 rep…repeat until you get to at least 12 reps!!! Do these for awhile, then when you go back to just skullcrushers you'll probably be much stronger.
Rope extensions – Great exercise. You bring a shoulder press chair over to the cable cross, use 1 side of it with the pulley at the bottom, and rope attachment. Now simulate an overhead db extension only using the rope. The cable allows for a nice and deep, controlled stretch and rep, they feel good and will pump up the arms very nicely!!
Now, you probably are not going to use all of these exercises on a single workout, but here is a sample of something I would do.
Triceps thrashing routine for bigger arms
ROPE PRESSDOWNS – 2 sets to warm up my triceps 40 lbs for 12 reps, 50 x 12 reps
SKULLCRUSHERS WITH DB'S – 3 sets of 12 reps, 20 lbs, 30 lbs, 35 lbs
ROPE PRESSDOWNS WORK SETS – 3 sets of 12-15 reps, 60 lbs, 70 lbs, 80 lbs utilizing the angle method for each set
HAMMER STRENGTH TRICEP MACHINE – (arms on pad like preacher curls and handles in a hammer grip position) 3 sets of 15 reps, 80 lbs, 110 lbs, 140 lbs