Big arms are one of the emblems of the committed lifter. They signify strength and easily attract attention. Biceps seem to hog all the attention, but undeservedly so. Triceps too, are worthy of the spotlight and for good reason. They are essential in performing a range of other movements. You cannot increase your bench or shoulder press without strengthening the triceps first. The good news is this muscle group responds well to exercise.
The triceps are comprised of three muscles heads- the lateral, medial and long head. They serve to extend the arm, and adduct it, or bring it towards the body. For the latter, the lats are also involved. Any free weight routine will usually recruit the triceps to some degree. This is why, when targeting the triceps, you should ensure they haven’t been previously fatigued. In other words, they should precede chest and shoulder workouts, not follow. This will ensure you have enough energy reserves to take you through a full intensive workout.
The triceps are admittedly, an awkward muscle group to train. While there is an abundance of exercises that target them, there is only so much weight you can throw at them without losing form, or risking injury. That said, there are a few proven ways to force them to grow.
Train them twice a week – Triceps benefit from increased training frequencies. This allows you to target the different heads with varying intensities. Ideally, you should choose an arms-only day where you can give your triceps undivided attention.
Start with the big weights – Some exercises, such as the close grip bench press, lying triceps extensions and weighted dips allow you to move heavier weights. They are the mass builders of the triceps as they recruit the most muscle fibers go to failure and past to ensure that the muscles are fully worked out.
Prioritize the long head – It is ultimately, the hardest one to work out, and that is why it should come first. Overhead extensions and cable push downs are some the best isolating exercises for this particular part.
Shocking strategy – Shocking the triceps with dropsets and forced reps has been proven as a successful strategy. Get a spotter, if you must to ensure you explore the full capacity of your triceps. The intensity of the next day soreness is a good indicator of whether or not you trained them sufficiently.
Don’t forget about those isolation exercises – These are crucial in achieving that idyllic horseshoe shape that is revered as the end goal. Overhead dumbbell extensions, cable extensions and pushdowns and kickbacks are some of the best isolation exercises.
The above are some of the best strategies for getting big triceps. While it’s easy to go online and find routines that promise quick results, they might not work for you. What works for another bodybuilder might not work for you. This underscores the importance of first learning on how to target the triceps, and then working towards your desired end goals.
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