The mark of a dedicated gym goer is a massive set of arms. Rippling bicep peaks and a horseshoe tricep that pops.
We all want a great set of arms.
All of the classic fitness icons had them, from Arnold to modern day football players, muscular arms are in. And they always will be.
Most new gym goers make the mistake of focusing on their biceps when trying to grow their arms. They do endless sets of bicep curls and pullups. This is a HUGE mistake if you are trying to grow a respectable set of guns.
Focus on growing your triceps. Think about it, they make up 2/3’s the size of your arm. If you grow your triceps, your overall arm size is going to skyrocket. So, while growing your biceps is important for arm development, make sure to hit your triceps just as hard!
There are many different triceps exercises out there, I have boiled them down to a list of the most effective triceps exercises. These are the movements that I have found to be the best for adding mass to my triceps. I think you’ll find the same.
Before we get into my list of the best trip exercise, I want to go over overall training frequency. You can’t do the same workout everyday and expect to look like Arnold. Your muscles repair themselves and grow when you rest.
If you are focused on developing your arms, I would do two tricep workouts per week. The tricep muscle group tends to respond well to increased volume. My suggestion would be to hit your tri’s with a heavy, low rep day early on in the week, then to do a high rep day later on in the week. This way you hit all of the different muscle fibers.
Make sure to recovery and get optimal sleep. I put together an article going over how an athlete should optimize their sleep here. Getting ideal rest will go a long way towards helping you to make solid gym gains.
You’ll be giving Arnold a run for his money soon enough!
Ok, now we’ll get into the best tricep exercises below:
1. Close Grip Bench Press
The bench press. The king of upper body exercises. Benching is one of the best ways to add mass to your body. While the bench press is traditionally used to grow the chest, adding a small tweak can put the main emphasis on your tri’s.
Close grip bench is done with your hands placed about a foot apart on the bar. DON’T place your hands directly next to each other, this is too close and can make the lift dangerous. With your hands spaced a foot apart, slowly lower the weight to your sternum, and press up.
The close grip bench is an easy movement to do. You can go either heavy in weight and low in reps, or high in reps and low in weight. I would suggest trying it both ways. It’s a great way to add mass and really make your muscles work.
Pushups are the next best tricep building exercise. Pushups are amazing for overall tripe 9and chest) development.
Play around with different hand positions. If you put your hands right next to each other, it will shift the focus of the movement to your triceps (this is called a “diamond pushups). If you move your hands farther away it will move the focus to your chest.
I suggest trying different hand positions while doing pushups. Just make sure that you keep your elbows “tucked” next to your body while you do pushups. Don’t let them flare out to the sides (at a 90 degree angel). This will put focus on your shoulders, and will lessen the work that your arms have to do.
You can do sets of push-up at the gym as part of your routine, or you can do what I like to do. I finish most of my arm workouts with a “burnout set” of pushups. I’ll pick a number like 30, and then I’ll try and knock out 30 diamond pushups as quickly as possible. This get’s tough when your arms are already tired from the earlier portion of your workout!
3. Skull Crushers
This intensely named exercise is one of the best exercises for your triceps. Be aware, however, that it is more of a light weight exercise. The goal with this one is to be slow and controlled, start with light weights and then progress.
There are many different variations of skullcrushers. You can play around with your hand placement, bench angle, and rep schemes. You can also do them with straight bars, curls bars, or with dumbbells.
Once again, doing a mix of all of these will be best for your arm development. Try and do a slightly different variation each time you lift. That way your body will consult learn how to adapt to the stress that you place upon it.
Another great tripe exercise is dips. The dips hit both the chest and triceps (perfect if you combine tri’s and chest into one workout).
When doing dips, you can shift the focus to your triceps or chest depending on how you position your body. If you lean forward it will work your chest. If you stay back, it will shift the focus onto your tricep muscles. Once again, play around with it. Find what is comfortable for you.
You can do a lot of variations with dips. You can do them with weights, on dip bars, with a dip machine, etc…. My favorite way to do dips is to on a set of gymnastic rings. This makes it extra hard as you have to stabilize your body while you dip, this helps to build more overall muscle. Be aware that ring dips are WAY harder than normal dips!
So there you have it, these are the 4 best tripe exercises. Add these to your workouts along with fitness supplement and start making more gains!