T Nation

Arm Training for the Powerlifter

if you want big arms you need to remember that your tris are a larger muscle than your bis so you have to get your tris larger.
the bes way for that is the close grip bench press, tri pull downs, dips but not weighted dips, pullovers, and kickbacks

dont forget about your bis but train your tris hard and they will grow

Honestly my forearms and biceps have grown more from indirect stuff and compund movements than from anything targeted- think deads, rows, pull ups, etc.

In terms of triceps training- I suspect that you will get relatively little out of things like kickbacks and pushdowns. The reason to do them is to add more volume after you are gassed from benching. Every powerlifter I have known with truely massive tris- did a lot of close grip and medium grip benching. Personally, I have had great luck with close grip floor presses in the 3-5 rep range on my light bench day.

[quote]sailortom wrote:
dips but not weighted dips[/quote]

Why no added weight if you can rep in the appropriate range?

[quote]IronAbrams wrote:
The simple approach seems best.

My main problem with tricep training is the fact that I can’t do any type of extension without horrible elbow pain. This has been around from long before I started lifting or benching or doing pushups- it’s kind of a mystery.

I’ve had ART done before but it was only temporary relief. No pressing or pushing exercise that I’ve tried yet has given me any, so I need to experiment and see what I can do that is mainly triceps but doesn’t aggravate it or is taken over by shoulders/chest.[/quote]

Sounds like you should take steps to fix/improve the elbows.
I’d get a deep tissue massage and then some more ART and look up some of the elbow pain threads .My elbows aren’t great either, I’ve found rope pressdowns to be the easiest on them.

Also whatever you do stretch the tris a ton after pressing days

[quote]Cprimero wrote:
IronAbrams wrote:
The simple approach seems best.

My main problem with tricep training is the fact that I can’t do any type of extension without horrible elbow pain. This has been around from long before I started lifting or benching or doing pushups- it’s kind of a mystery.

I’ve had ART done before but it was only temporary relief. No pressing or pushing exercise that I’ve tried yet has given me any, so I need to experiment and see what I can do that is mainly triceps but doesn’t aggravate it or is taken over by shoulders/chest.

Sounds like you should take steps to fix/improve the elbows.
I’d get a deep tissue massage and then some more ART and look up some of the elbow pain threads .My elbows aren’t great either, I’ve found rope pressdowns to be the easiest on them.

Also whatever you do stretch the tris a ton after pressing days[/quote]

If it started long before his training career (the same is the case for me), then nothing will make it go away…

It doesn’t bother me whatsoever unless I actually do certain kinds of extensions… So it’s no big deal.

Individual structure, tendon length or whatever I guess.

Since were talkin powerlifters…

Would you guys say reverse curl is the most beneficial one for benching?

or is there no carry over?

Reverse curls and heavy cheated hammer curls seem to prevent injury for me.

I am also very torso-dominant in all my lifts. I started westside and I found that the focus on triceps/hams through supplemental similar exercises was immensely beneficial.

It’s really just as simple as training with more focus on your arms, or adding in compounds with specific emphasis on your arms.

For example, on a ME bench day, I would do the regular series of heavy singles for bench, followed by close-grip bench, rows, etc.

Also, establishing a clear mind-muscle connection was very useful, as I was more able to feel when I was contracting and how hard.

That all being said, genes and structure play a big part, but aestheically, adding more emphasis on the limbs during compounds is effective for me. If you’re not a high-volume type of guy, perhaps consider switching to a narrower bench grip for a while, doing more chins instead of pull-ups, etc.

Now, as far as elbow pain, I can’t relate in the least; However, I’m under the impression that elbow-wrapping effectively takes the strain off the elbows.

[quote]Cephalic_Carnage wrote:
Cprimero wrote:
IronAbrams wrote:
The simple approach seems best.

My main problem with tricep training is the fact that I can’t do any type of extension without horrible elbow pain. This has been around from long before I started lifting or benching or doing pushups- it’s kind of a mystery.

I’ve had ART done before but it was only temporary relief. No pressing or pushing exercise that I’ve tried yet has given me any, so I need to experiment and see what I can do that is mainly triceps but doesn’t aggravate it or is taken over by shoulders/chest.

Sounds like you should take steps to fix/improve the elbows.
I’d get a deep tissue massage and then some more ART and look up some of the elbow pain threads .My elbows aren’t great either, I’ve found rope pressdowns to be the easiest on them.

Also whatever you do stretch the tris a ton after pressing days

If it started long before his training career (the same is the case for me), then nothing will make it go away…

It doesn’t bother me whatsoever unless I actually do certain kinds of extensions… So it’s no big deal.

Individual structure, tendon length or whatever I guess.

[/quote]

These issues can sometime come from childhood from stuff like falling off a tree -knots and tweaks in the muscle and joints stay dormant and only arise when excercised in very specific ways.

If extensions give him “horrible pain” personally I would say that’s a warning sign and with time and bigger weights this will eventually start to manifest itself in other lifts.

Saying that it could just be part of his inherant strucure like you say, and nothing to worry about

I’m surprised kickbacks have even been mentioned, much less recommended.

They’re usually rated as THE worst exercise, because they aren’t effective.

[quote]Cprimero wrote:
Cephalic_Carnage wrote:
Cprimero wrote:
IronAbrams wrote:
The simple approach seems best.

My main problem with tricep training is the fact that I can’t do any type of extension without horrible elbow pain. This has been around from long before I started lifting or benching or doing pushups- it’s kind of a mystery.

I’ve had ART done before but it was only temporary relief. No pressing or pushing exercise that I’ve tried yet has given me any, so I need to experiment and see what I can do that is mainly triceps but doesn’t aggravate it or is taken over by shoulders/chest.

Sounds like you should take steps to fix/improve the elbows.
I’d get a deep tissue massage and then some more ART and look up some of the elbow pain threads .My elbows aren’t great either, I’ve found rope pressdowns to be the easiest on them.

Also whatever you do stretch the tris a ton after pressing days

If it started long before his training career (the same is the case for me), then nothing will make it go away…

It doesn’t bother me whatsoever unless I actually do certain kinds of extensions… So it’s no big deal.

Individual structure, tendon length or whatever I guess.

These issues can sometime come from childhood from stuff like falling off a tree -knots and tweaks in the muscle and joints stay dormant and only arise when excercised in very specific ways.

If extensions give him “horrible pain” personally I would say that’s a warning sign and with time and bigger weights this will eventually start to manifest itself in other lifts.

Saying that it could just be part of his inherant strucure like you say, and nothing to worry about[/quote]

Well, I was mainly giving you my perspective since I have the (probably) same issue on both elbows with no tendonitis or some such present, it’s just been that way since the beginning.
And to this day it hasn’t given me trouble on any other lifts… And neither have I been able to get rid of it.

Oh well… Interestingly, some extension-movements don’t cause me pain usually. PJR pullover+extensions are one, as are EZ extensions where you lay down on the bench and lower the bar behind your head (as long as I stay in the 8+ rep ranges). Scott Extensions also work just fine…

Now if he were to try those and find that they give him pain, then at least we’d know that his issue is different/more severe than mine.

There are several other people on this forum with the same problem, btw, none of it tendonitis-related it seems.