Triceps Pressing

A recent article mentioned that board presses were the best triceps builders anywhere. If I’m not mistaken, close-grip bench presses are also highly recommended for triceps development.

So, how do these different exercises hit the triceps, and how optimal are they for triceps development? Specifically, I’m curious about:

Close-grip bench-presses
Board presses
Close-grip board presses

Since I usually train alone, I have improvised the board press into a “pin press”, where I just set the power rack pins to be a few inches above my chest, and do presses down to the pins and back up. Not exactly a board press, but it should be an adequate improvisation, shouldn’t it?

when I do board presses I secure the boards to my chest by looping an old bicycle tire tube around my back and tying the ends on top of the boards. Works well for when I don’t have a training partner.

A pin press is a different exercise altogether. I’ve read that the board press recruits more muscle fibres than a pin press, as the triceps are “loaded” on the way down. However, when using a pin press, you are starting from a static position, and therefore not recruiting as many muscle fibres.

I really, really like board presses. I gaffer tape the boards together and then strap the boards to my chest using two jean’s belts. Set your pins below this level for extra saftey if you lose it.

same here, I don’t understand how pinpresses are that much different than board presses…

With pin presses you can rest the barbell on the safety pins between each rep. With board presses you have to have more contol and if you rest the bar on the boards, the weight will dig into your chest which is not a fun feeling. Thus you have to hold the bar in position on the boards and maintain full control on each rep.

Mike Mahler

Yeah, Mike, that’s the one thing that concerned me, that the BB can rest on the pins with less control required. I guess I just try to make sure I don’t let it rest on the pins. When I feel it hits them, it does a little bounce, and I try to hold it for a fraction of a second, bounced off the pins.

So it’s the same thing in the range of motion, and even in the control required throughout the range of motion, until it gets to the bottom. Not a huge deal, I don’t think.

Anyway, I was mostly interested in how the different variations compared to each other for muscles worked. Especially close-grip board/bin presses. Is close grip required or helpful with board presses? Or are board presses useful without close grip?

Just curious. Thanks.

Other writers on this site have recommended doing close-grip lock-outs on the pins, and letting the weight sit on the pins for 3-4 seconds between reps, to negate any stretch reflex.

[quote]notafob wrote:
same here, I don’t understand how pinpresses are that much different than board presses…[/quote]

I felt the same until I tried boardpresses for the first time. With board press you “feel” the weight on your chest, just like a full ROM benchpress.

Thanks deansumo. I’ll search for those posts when I get a chance.

Board presses are much different from pin presses in the weight is distributed to your pressing muscles when the bar hits the board instead of the pins. It’s very difficult to do pin presses and be in the same groove as you bench in, while board presses are natural. Pin presses tend to aggravate my shoulders much more than board presses. I recommend making some different sets of boards, buying a bungee cord, and doing board presses. You will notice a difference.