My Favorite Tricep Exercises

My Favorite Tricep Exercises

Triceps are my favorite muscle to work out. They’re also my strongest and most developed. They are a unique muscle because all 3 heads of the muscle respond to different rep ranges, tempos, angles, and hand positions. The triceps are the power house of your arm. You know if someone knows what they’re doing when they have impressive looking tris. Here are my favorite exercises with some cool tips.

1. Weighted V Bar Dips- these are so damn hard because your hands are so far away from your body and you need to be in complete control of the movement. Did you know that the further your hands are away from your belly button, the more the medial head of the tri cep gets targeted? The medial head is located right above your elbow and in my opinion is the coolest looking part of the arm. If it’s well defined it gives it a razor sharp look that gives your arm lots of detail. TIP- as you get to the bottom of the movement, pause for 2 seconds, I repeat 2 full seconds, and then slowly come back up. This places an extreme amount of trauma on the muscle and will call upon all the little fibers in the muscle. I like 4-6 reps of 3210 tempo, that’s three seconds down, two second pause, one second up, and no pause at the top.

2. Close Grip Bench on pins- watch this video to see what I mean. By stopping on the pins, you remove all momentum from the equation, and increase neural activation and overload the CNS. What does this mean for mass and size? Well, the tri’s are primarily made up of fast twitch muscle fibers, and they respond VERY well to lower, very heavy reps. Is pausing in the pins easier? Yes and no. You can handle more weight because once you pause on the pins, you have a little bit of time to recharge and then lift. It’s harder for your nervous system because momentum is removed. The nervous system monitors all traffic going on in your brain and is responsible for of hypertrophy in the body. I’m a fan of going really heavy, 2-3 reps of a 4 seconds negative, 2 second pause, and a powerful press back up. TIP– 14 inches is ideal, not TOO close and don’t lock your arms out when you reach the top, keep the tension on the tri’s for utter destruction of the muscle fibers.

3. Reverse Grip Dumbbell/Barbell Skull Crushers- this is a new favorite of mine. It’s simple, imagine doing skull crushers with a barbell but reverse your hands. The beauty of the triceps is just a quick change of a hand position will target different muscles. Reverse grip will target the lateral head, which is the outer portion of the arm. Be careful, your grip won’t be as strong so don’t go too heavy in this instance if you have a weak grip. TIP– do this on an 30 incline bench and keep your arms closer to your belly button,  the exercise is easier so you can heavier and do more reps. But it’s still tough, because of the awkwardness of the reverse grip. Try 8 reps of a 3 second negative, 1 second pause, and then back up.

4. Lying neutral grip skull crushers- done on an decline bench with your hands far back is a killer exercise. It’s hard to envision, but imagine lying down on a decline bench, and place your hands far back (remember away from the belly button creates more tension on the medial head) Your range of motion is limited in this instance, however, there are some major sweet spots. Go down all the way but don’t come all the way up. Stop before lock out and make the motion fluid. It burns like a mother. TIP– as with any skull crusher variation, you can either hold the dumbbell at the center, to the far left, or to the far right. Each places a different emphasis on the muscle. You could do one set with your hands in one spot, one set in another.

5. Standing Military Press– though often considered a shoulder exercise, which it is, it’s also a killer tricep one. Because your standing and your hands are over your head, you have much less control. You can go heavy, or you can go lighter for a pump. If done heavy, this exercise will pack major mass on your arms because of it’s compound nature. It also activates your shoulders, abs, and lower back. It’s an incredible movement. TIP- keep your elbows under the bar and don’t flare them out. Harder but less emphasis on the shoulders.