T Nation

How Do You Train Triceps?


It seems triceps are overlooked when it comes to building big arms, as biceps usually have the majority of the focus.

For me I can’t seem to get any growth out of them unless I do skullcrushers or 12-15 rep pushdowns. All in all it seems that triceps are a bit like forearms/calves, where it takes lots of time to finally get size on them.

So how do you guys train your triceps? Any big guys have anything they used that sparked noticeable size?

[quote]Goodfellow wrote:
It seems triceps are overlooked when it comes to building big arms, as biceps usually have the majority of the focus.

For me I can’t seem to get any growth out of them unless I do skullcrushers or 12-15 rep pushdowns. All in all it seems that triceps are a bit like forearms/calves, where it takes lots of time to finally get size on them.

So how do you guys train your triceps? Any big guys have anything they used that sparked noticeable?

[/quote]

What are your tri-attachments like…
And how much have you progressed on your tri-work?

[quote]Cephalic_Carnage wrote:
Goodfellow wrote:
It seems triceps are overlooked when it comes to building big arms, as biceps usually have the majority of the focus.

For me I can’t seem to get any growth out of them unless I do skullcrushers or 12-15 rep pushdowns. All in all it seems that triceps are a bit like forearms/calves, where it takes lots of time to finally get size on them.

So how do you guys train your triceps? Any big guys have anything they used that sparked noticeable size?

What are your tri-attachments like…
[/quote]

Quite high up, like my biceps. My lateral head is about 2 inches up from my elbow.

[quote]Goodfellow wrote:
Cephalic_Carnage wrote:
Goodfellow wrote:
It seems triceps are overlooked when it comes to building big arms, as biceps usually have the majority of the focus.

For me I can’t seem to get any growth out of them unless I do skullcrushers or 12-15 rep pushdowns. All in all it seems that triceps are a bit like forearms/calves, where it takes lots of time to finally get size on them.

So how do you guys train your triceps? Any big guys have anything they used that sparked noticeable size?

What are your tri-attachments like…

Quite high up, like my biceps. My lateral head is about 2 inches up from my elbow.[/quote]

Mh… How’s your long head?
Got a picture of a side tri and back double bi for reference?

This is gonna be a good thread. Im waiting patiently.

This is gonna be a good thread. Im waiting patiently.

Make sure your incorporating exercises to target all 3 heads. The lateral or ‘lazy’ head normally gets underlooked as is only stimulated under heavy loads.

Dips or close grip bench and its variations comes to mind or seated ez bar french presses.

Triceps are typically slower twitch muscle fibres so respond better to an extended time under tension.

[quote]Cephalic_Carnage wrote:
Goodfellow wrote:
Cephalic_Carnage wrote:
Goodfellow wrote:
It seems triceps are overlooked when it comes to building big arms, as biceps usually have the majority of the focus.

For me I can’t seem to get any growth out of them unless I do skullcrushers or 12-15 rep pushdowns. All in all it seems that triceps are a bit like forearms/calves, where it takes lots of time to finally get size on them.

So how do you guys train your triceps? Any big guys have anything they used that sparked noticeable size?

What are your tri-attachments like…

Quite high up, like my biceps. My lateral head is about 2 inches up from my elbow.

Mh… How’s your long head?
Got a picture of a side tri and back double bi for reference?

[/quote]

long head inserts at my elbow… I’m holding off on photos for a later date! (30lbs or so lol)

Arm Day “A”

bent extensions

pushdowns

Arm Day “B”

Closegrip benchpress

rolling extension & press

post anyways so we can see what your working with.

If you still need another 30lbs to post, it sounds like you need to improve more than just your triceps.

What has worked for me in the past is training triceps on back day. On chest or your deltoid day, any presses recruit the tricep as a secondary muscle, so you shouldnt train them on these days.

[quote]Goodfellow wrote:
Cephalic_Carnage wrote:
Goodfellow wrote:
Cephalic_Carnage wrote:
Goodfellow wrote:
It seems triceps are overlooked when it comes to building big arms, as biceps usually have the majority of the focus.

For me I can’t seem to get any growth out of them unless I do skullcrushers or 12-15 rep pushdowns. All in all it seems that triceps are a bit like forearms/calves, where it takes lots of time to finally get size on them.

So how do you guys train your triceps? Any big guys have anything they used that sparked noticeable size?

What are your tri-attachments like…

Quite high up, like my biceps. My lateral head is about 2 inches up from my elbow.

Mh… How’s your long head?
Got a picture of a side tri and back double bi for reference?

long head inserts at my elbow… I’m holding off on photos for a later date! (30lbs or so lol)[/quote]

Sure it’s not your medial head that you’re talking about? :wink:

Anyway… Tris aren’t really any different from other major muscle-groups… You need to find exercises that hit your tris well and get strong as fuck on them.

If you do close-grips and primarily use your shoulders and even chest, well, that’s not going to do much for tris.
Sometimes all you have to do is “re-learn” an exercise or tweak your technique/grip/setup/form for it to become effective…

If you like, try close-gripping with a suicide grip, hands far enough apart to allow you to tuck your elbows completely (that’s in line with your shoulders or a little further apart).
Standard PL bench setup otherwise (arch, but not an extreme one of course, leg drive, scapulae together, chest out, delts stay on the bench at all times…).
Bar comes down at nipple line, roughly.

If you have a smith machine, then you can use that instead and press towards your feet (against the smith rack) as well as up for quite a bit more tricep involvement (check the t-cell thread on which exercises everyone likes for which bodypart for a description on some great smith exercises for the tris).

When training with a regular bb routine, my tricep work usually looks like:

-1 big pressing exercise. CGP’s (elbows tucked), IH presses, Smith wide-grip-RGB’s (special way of applying the grip), or so.

-1 extension or pullover/extension hybrid. Skullcrushers give most people tendonitis at some point, sometimes sooner, sometimes later. I prefer Scott Extensions or the PJR pullover/extension variant (the latter hits the long head insanely well as it trains the function of the long-head that other tri exercises usually neglect) and allows for good poundages/progression.

-If I’m bored or need a third exercise on a split with a 1/week/muscle-group frequency, then I’ll just do some EZ bar pushdowns or flatbar pressdowns (like a standing extreme-decline bench, more of a press than the regular pushdown motion).
This last exercise is really not where to focus lies, though. The first two are what’s important in my case…

No matter what you do, you gotta be pushing some weight on some of those exercises to actually develop outstanding tris.
Or have Paul Dillet genetics.

Consider how much work sets of pressing you do in general though… I don’t usually do more than 1 top set per exercise and rarely more than 1-3 exercises per bodypart.

So if you do 4 sets at the same weight for each of the following:
incline
flat bench
decline

overhead press variant 1
ohp variant 2
dips

… then different rules apply when it comes to pressing for tricep training… Also affected by whether you lock out all chest and delt presses or not, esp. if you go high-volume.

[quote]duhast234 wrote:
post anyways so we can see what your working with.

If you still need another 30lbs to post, it sounds like you need to improve more than just your triceps.

What has worked for me in the past is training triceps on back day. On chest or your deltoid day, any presses recruit the tricep as a secondary muscle, so you shouldnt train them on these days.[/quote]

X2. Train the antagonist. Chest/back, bis/tris, chest/bi’s, back/tris

[quote]Cephalic_Carnage wrote:
If you like, try close-gripping with a suicide grip, hands far enough apart to allow you to tuck your elbows completely (that’s in line with your shoulders or a little further apart).
Standard PL bench setup otherwise (arch, but not an extreme one of course, leg drive, scapulae together, chest out, delts stay on the bench at all times…).
Bar comes down at nipple line, roughly.
[/quote]

One thing I’ve wondered is how do you bring a bar down to nipple level if your elbows are tucked? If I do that it just turned into a JM press… I have to bring it down to my upper abs to keep my forearms straight.

Damn I did some over head cable extensions using the v bar, I have always used the rope but the v bar was a real good pump.

[quote]Vegg wrote:
Cephalic_Carnage wrote:
If you like, try close-gripping with a suicide grip, hands far enough apart to allow you to tuck your elbows completely (that’s in line with your shoulders or a little further apart).
Standard PL bench setup otherwise (arch, but not an extreme one of course, leg drive, scapulae together, chest out, delts stay on the bench at all times…).
Bar comes down at nipple line, roughly.

One thing I’ve wondered is how do you bring a bar down to nipple level if your elbows are tucked? If I do that it just turned into a JM press… I have to bring it down to my upper abs to keep my forearms straight.[/quote]

That’s why I said roughly :slight_smile:
Depends on how long your torso vs. upper arms are etc… If it’s a bit below the nipple line, that’s fine.

McGrath here doesn’t tuck his elbows and has more of an armpit-width grip (same grip-width as one would use on an IH press), but otherwise the vid is a good example:

I used a tri-set system as a way to stimulate some growth

A1 - Low Decline Close Grip Bench Press - 6 reps

A2 - EZ Bar Extension to Nose - 12 reps

A3 - Rope pushdowns - 25 reps

High density, 10 secs rest between A1-2-3 and then after 3 rest 2 mins then repeat.

[quote]smiffy983 wrote:
duhast234 wrote:
post anyways so we can see what your working with.

If you still need another 30lbs to post, it sounds like you need to improve more than just your triceps.

What has worked for me in the past is training triceps on back day. On chest or your deltoid day, any presses recruit the tricep as a secondary muscle, so you shouldnt train them on these days.

X2. Train the antagonist. Chest/back, bis/tris, chest/bi’s, back/tris

[/quote]

i work my tris with chest…and my bis with back

[quote]HolyMacaroni wrote:
smiffy983 wrote:
duhast234 wrote:
post anyways so we can see what your working with.

If you still need another 30lbs to post, it sounds like you need to improve more than just your triceps.

What has worked for me in the past is training triceps on back day. On chest or your deltoid day, any presses recruit the tricep as a secondary muscle, so you shouldnt train them on these days.

X2. Train the antagonist. Chest/back, bis/tris, chest/bi’s, back/tris

i work my tris with chest…and my bis with back[/quote]

You’ve got some nice tri-attachments too, from the looks of your avi… I hate you :wink:

I just started giving triceps their own day. I figure it made little sense to give biceps their own day but then group tris with chest when the triceps are the larger muscle group.

I do pressdowns until they warm up enough then go heavier for following sets.

Then: HS Dips, kickbacks, triceps extensions on a machine.

Hopefully in a year I can say this worked and they are now bigger.

Haneys (overhead dumbell extension to get loose), then i’ll choose between heavy press downs, close grip bench, or weighted dips…i’ll switch on certain weeks and choose one or two as primary heavy movements.

Add reverse grip press downs to hit the other head(s), then add rope press downs to burn it out.

i rest for a longer time period during heavy movements, i’ll go lighter and superset at the end sometimes or throw in a drop set of press downs at the end.

i like arms as a total day (get the blood in the arms and keep it there) sometimes i’ll alternate between sets one bi, on tri but usually i’ll do one first then the other prioritizing movements based on how i feel.