T Nation

Triceps Mass & Strength?


At the moment i'm following a 5x5 program and won't be changing what i'm doing just yet but have a question for when I do.

I would like to build both mass and strength in the triceps and apart from when I train my legs I train at home.

I would like to stick with big basic compound type movements mainly and was wondering which people recommend the most out of the following

Weighted Parallel Dips
Close Grip Bench Press
Close Grip Floor Press

Any suggestions on rep ranges, how many times a week to work them in and with what other body part do you find it best to work the triceps with etc would also be welcome.

At this point in my training i'm hoping to increase my bench press and so i'm using Close Grip Bench Press for 5x5 with 2 of the sets being warm ups just to give you a bit of background.


They're all good. I like dips best, no real reason though. But here's some advice: do not add stuff to your rest days. just do a few sets of dips on bench day after you're done with the compulsory stuff. It works nicely.


Whilst not really sure about the exercise choice yet I was perhaps thinking about using the 10x3 protocol as this seems to be popular for both size and strength.


I like CGBP not for any reason, I think it's just because I miss benching.


Why do you want to stick to only compound movements? Not suggesting that you don't do some, but what is the aversion to isolation movements?


Keep in mind that, as long as you follow a 5x5 routine, anything you add should not take up too much space. So no, don't do 10X3. Do something like 3xmax, 3x10 or - if you must - 5x3.


Nighthawkz I think you may of misread what I wrote or most likely I didn't make it clear lol I won't be adding anything to my 5x5 program and I don't plan on changing what i'm doing for a while yet as I think I can still get another month out of it at least, I was asking for when I finish the 5x5 program.

Sentoguy the reason I prefer compound movements is its quicker and easier to adjust a barbell rather than two dumbells espercially if i'm trying to keep the rest periods low, I can only three times a week so want to get the most bang for buck as the idea is to be done in an hour, finally I read the heavier the weights used the more muscle and strength you gain as a rule of thumb and when ever I read about gaining mass and strength it virtually always says to choose compound movements over isolation exercises.....oh plus lfting heavier weights is for my ego too lol.

Thanks again for your input :slight_smile:


I've had goodluck of doing two max sets of closegrip at 80 percent of your heaviest set of bench for the day. Seems to serve both purposes of 1.supporting and increasing you bench 2. Building some good size tris.


Don't try and reinvent the wheel bro, your on a real solid program, and hopefully it's worked well. If your ready to move to somthing different, try and find another program that suits your goals. I personaly don't like jump[ing from one program to another, better to let your program grow with you, as your body, and knowlage gets bigger.

"Evolution not revolution", so with the program your on you press 3x a week, probably day 1 bench--day2 incline--day 3 military, all 5x5, somthing like this I asume. So when your done with your 5x5 pressing drop the weight, and add in some tri's. On bench day, 3-4 sets of close grips seems easy, On incline day, 3-4 sets of incline skull crushers, after your pressing, and on military day you could do french press, but this is where I'd put dips (military, and dips work well togeather) somthing like this wouldn't tax your recovery or time frame, and will add growth to your tri's, a couple sets, before the next exercise.

The point is this is how training evolves, you have a goal, and make ajustments to your current routine to find the most efficant means to reach your goals, with out "A" adding to much volume, and "B" completly reinventing your program every time an idea pops in your head. goodluck


barbedwire wrote ;

I've had goodluck of doing two max sets of closegrip at 80 percent of your heaviest set of bench for the day. Seems to serve both purposes of 1.supporting and increasing you bench 2. Building some good size tris.

This is good advice, along the lines of what I was saying without all the babble :slightly_smiling:


You can use a barbell for some tricep isolation movements (Overhead Extensions, Dead stop extensions, Skull Crushers) so that wouldn't be an issue.

Again, I'm not suggesting that you skip the compound movements, but I would suggest that you incorporate at least one isolation movement for each major muscle group if you are training specifically for mass. This whole "avoid isolation movements" phobia that has seemed to being spread lately is ridiculous. Plenty of big (huge even) powerful arms were built utilizing a combination of compound and isolation movements.

But hey, it's your body, train it however you want.


Good points made Sentoguy... i'm not against isolation exercises as such in fact only last month my kids got me a triceps bar for my birthday :slight_smile:

At the moment my 5x5 program that i'm following is more to get my strength up than anything else.....but i'm just looking a head for the next phase of my training, that might be quite a good option ie one good solid compound followed by one isolation exercise per muscle group.


Sorry Barbedwire and Anytimejake I missed your posts and once again some good points made just to clear things up a little i'm not following the stronglifts 5x5 program its more like a variation of Stuart McRoberts big bench routine which was put together by Brooks Kubik and is as follows

Bent-over rows 5x5
Bench Press 5x5
Deadlifts 5x5

Squat 5x5 followed by 2x10 with a lighter weight
Rear Shrugs 5x10 done on a chest supported rowing machine ( I may do wide grip upright rows on this day aswell or instead of shrugs )

Weighted Pull ups/chins 5x5
Close Grip Bench 5x5
Barbell Curls 3x5

This consists of 2 warm up sets and 3 work sets although I tend to do a few extra warm up reps and sets for Squats and deadlifts as 2 warm up sets wasn't enough for my old bones.

As you can see I like the abbreviated style of training as it allows me plenty of recovery and I can get everything done with in an hour.


JM press or reverse grip...


also get some bands and do some high rep pressdowns 5x20 -can be surprisingly helpful


thats funny, I've followed McRoberts my whole lifting career, and had good strength, and size gains. The problem now at 40 is I'm having to play catch up with my arms, and shoulder's, because for 20yrs I did no isolation for those areas. I believed (was told) they would grow from all the heavy pushing, and pulling (didn't happen). I'm not making this up bro, you can check my log, Anytime's come back, I didn't realize the program you were following, better to add stuff in now than to play catch up latter. Shoulders, and bi's, as well as tri's 2cents


Thanks for those RampantBadger oh and great name lol...That's a good point Anytimejake as you can see the program I've been using does include close grip bench plus barbell curls so at least i'm getting some arm work in but as you say I do need to work some shoulders in there too.

As you said before I just need to add a few tweeks here and there so the routine meets my goals :slightly_smiling: which at this moment is focusing on my bench and also my triceps for the time being anyway, thanks again for the advise.


agreed. It will put on tricep mass and strength and wont really interfere with the program.


Dips are excellent but you have to be careful with them or your shoulders will pay for it. It will take a lot of practice to get the movement down. Stick with BW and add reps at first, add weight when you can do sets of 10-15 no problem. You can always add BW exercises to your 5x5 routine at the end of the workouts without interfering with the progression


+1. Dips in the 1-5 rep range can kill your shoulders. It's a great movement but it is not meant for really low reps IMO.


I've read that dips can be bad for shoulders however if you make a point of lowering your body slowly and under control whilst at the same time restricting the range of motion so that your shoulders do not go any lower than your elbows, would this not be a safe method ??