Best Exercises for Triceps Mass

Posted: 29th September 2010 by Darren in triceps training
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The triceps are one of the most underrated muscle groups.   After all, they contribute a lot more to your overall arm size than your biceps, and they are an important muscle group in all pressing exercises.   Is there a lifter out there who doesn’t want bigger arms and a bigger bench press?With this is in mind it should seem obvious that building your triceps should be a priority if you want to get bigger and stronger.   The problem is that most people do not know how to train their triceps properly.   You will often see bodybuilders wasting away valuable energy on things like pushdowns and kickbacks. Now, there isn’t anything bad about these exercises, but the majority of your time would be much better spent on compound exercises which allow for heavy weights to be used. In fact, you simply can’t properly stimulate all of the muscle fibers in the triceps without using some exercises which allow for heavy loads to be used.   In general it is best to hit 1 or 2 heavy compound exercises and then move on to an isolation exercise to squeeze the last little bit out of your muscles. With this in mind let’s take a look at three fantastic exercises for your triceps:Close grip BB Bench PressIf this isn’t the undisputed king of the triceps exercises, then it is pretty close.   The ability to use heavy weights due to contributions from your chest and front deltoids allows you to really overload the triceps and force them to get bigger.   While you want to work on continually getting stronger, you should never sacrifice form for weight.   With this exercise it important to keep the elbows near your body throughout the movement in order to keep as much stress as possible on the triceps.   Even with a narrow grip the stress can be taken off of the triceps muscle and onto the elbow joints if you do not keep the elbows tucked in tight. This obviously not only diminishes your muscle growth, but can lead to elbow and wrist problems as well. Parallel Bar DipsThis is the classic triceps builder.   Dips are probably responsible for building more triceps muscle than any other movement.   This is due to the combination of heavy weights and targeted stress that they provide to the triceps.   When you first begin lifting you may have difficulty performing more than a couple of these, but as you progress it is important to continue adding weight by using a dumbbell between your feet or a specialized dip belt.   The addition of weight will allow you to continue to progress in this movement once you are capable of easily handling your body weight. As with most triceps exercises, the key to proper performance is to keep your elbows close to the body.   This means using a narrow grip on the dip bars.   It also means that you should use an upright posture without too much forward lean.   Leaning forward shifts more of the stress to the delts and pecs, which is not what we want for our goal.   Optimally, you should descend into the bottom of the exercise until your upper arms were parallel with the ground. However, this may cause shoulder pain in a good percentage of lifters, and in this case you should either shorten the range of motion or discard the exercise altogether. Triceps SkullcrushersThis is probably the lifting movement with the scariest moniker.   After all, who wants their head crushed?  But the exercise is aptly named because it is performed lying down on your back on a bench with a barbell at arm’s length.   You will then bend at the elbows and lower the bar until it touches your forehead. Obviously if you do this in an uncontrolled manner it will hurt your skull!The key to this exercise is to make sure the stress stays on the triceps.   To do this you want the elbows close to the body and pointed towards the ceiling. It is important that you only flex and straighten the elbows and that you do not move them forward or backward, or you will shift the stress off the triceps. While this exercise is usually done by touching the bar to the forehead, you can vary the point at which you touch in order target specific sections of the triceps.   In general, shifting lower on the body, such as the chin, will hit the medial head harder, while shifting higher on the body will hit the long head harder. As you can see perfect form is crucial to your success with triceps exercises, just as it is with all exercises.   You can perform exercises poorly and still get some of the benefit, but you will never see great results and you may just injure yourself in the process.   Because of this it is highly recommended that you learn how to do these exercises properly from an expert in the field.

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