When it comes to building muscle and getting stronger, there is a belief that all you have to do is lift heavy and eat.
Anyone who’s been in the lifting game for longer than a day knows that it isn’t that simple. You need to have a plan and be patient enough to execute that plan without trying to skip steps.
Let’s use triceps as an example.
You know that it makes up the majority of the upper arm and they’re a primary player in pressing. But there’s more to effective tricep workouts than pushing the most weight. You need to make sure you target all three heads of the muscles, you need to make sure you don’t put too much pressure on the elbows and wrists, and you need to make each rep count.
This plan is one that will help anyone looking to make major improvements to the back of the arm. Is bodybuilding and physique improvement your focus? Cool. This will help you improve those tris and make that upper arm #FlexFriday worthy!
The Triple Header Triceps Workout Overview
There are three things you should focus on when it comes to triceps training – preparing the elbows and feeling the muscles working, heavy pressing for power and hypertrophy, and pumping the muscles with blood so they create an environment for long-term growth.
In other words, primer, power, and pump.
This is the first exercise you do in each workout. The movements selected are in place so you can establish the mind-muscle connection and feel the muscles working so you’re able to maximize the quality of each rep throughout the workout.
You’ll also need to warm up the elbows. They’re going to be bending and straightening a lot so they need to be warm as well as the ligaments and tendons around that joint. If you stress them out with heavy lifting without doing this first, you’ll suffer later in the form of nagging pain or serious injury. The rep range for this exercise will be anywhere from 12-15.
This is the heavy hitter exercise of the workout. You’re going to be doing a big lift with big weight for few reps.
I’m talking like 5-8 per set. We don’t necessarily need to focus on singles or doubles here. 5-8 is going to force you to work hard but also provide opportunities for hypertrophy.
If you’ve been to a fireworks show, then you know when the show is coming to a close they have the grand finale. That’s when they put off a hundred or more at once and it lights up the sky.
The pump portion of these workouts is the grand finale for the triceps. We’re going to knock out lots of reps and send a lot of blood to the back of the arms to maximize that pump before we call it a day.
Reps are going to vary with each workout because we don’t want the triceps to adapt to anything. This increases the chances of them improving and growing.
Triple Header Triceps Workout 1
|Single Arm Cable Kickback||3||15, 12, 10|
|Close Grip Bench Press||5||5|
Single Arm Cable Kickback – You’ll be working one arm at a time so each side has to work on its own. The cable will also provide constant tension throughout the entire range of motion. This movement will also be a great way to warm up those elbows. Rest for 45-60 seconds between sets.
Close Grip Bench Press – You need to use a shoulder-width grip on this. Otherwise, it will take a toll on the wrists. To keep constant tension on the triceps, stop an inch short of your chest when lowering the bar before you press it back up. Rest for 90 seconds between sets.
Rope Pressdown – This will blast that big head of the tricep and give you that horseshoe look that everyone wants. Spread the ends of the rope at the bottom so you can get a better contraction. Even though you’ll be finishing with this, take your time with these. It will be worth it. Rest for 30 seconds between sets.
Triple Header Triceps Workout 2
|Close Grip Push Up||3||15|
|Weighted Triceps Dip||4||8|
|Overhead Cable Extension||3||Failure|
Close Grip Pushup – Bodyweight exercises are always a winner. If you struggle with your bodyweight, place your hands on a bench and do them that way. This will be less resistance. Like the close grip bench, don’t place your hands too close together. Rest for 45 seconds between sets.
Weighted Tricep Dip – You can either use the machine or do the bodyweight version. If your bodyweight isn’t enough then take a dip belt and add weight to it. Let’s be clear here. If you can do four sets of 8, add weight. You want to reach failure here. Just don’t go too heavy that you struggle on the first set. Rest for 90 seconds between sets.
Overhead Cable Extension – This gives you an opportunity to improve flexibility and work the muscles in a way that they stretch at the bottom. You can use whatever attachment you want on the cable. You should reach failure around 15 reps before dropping the weight to continue. 2 drops per set will set the triceps on fire. Rest for 45 seconds between sets.
Triple Header Triceps Workout 3
|Kneeling Overhead Tricep Extension Over Flat Bench||3||12|
|Lying Tricep Extension||4||8, 8, 8, 6|
|Banded Tricep Extension||-||100 Reps|
Kneeling Overhead Tricep Extension Over Flat Bench – This is an advance level move but it’s one that you can use to feel the triceps working throughout the rep without the possibility of getting resistance from other muscles. There are some gyms that have machines that allow you to do this. If your gym has it, use it.
Lying Triceps Extension – You also know these as skull crushers. When you press the weight up, go up and back like you’re trying to touch the wall behind you. This is going to get you a better contraction than going straight up. Try to add weight each set – even if it’s five pounds. If you have trouble doing these with a bar, opt for dumbbells.
Banded Tricep Extension – The band is a different type of resistance that can really activate those triceps. You’re doing a lot of reps so make sure you use a light band. You’re going to go for 100 total reps. Start counting and rep out until you reach failure. Subtract the weight from 100. That’s the rest in seconds. So 100-30 reps = 70 seconds rest.
When you resume, start with the number you left off at. Go to failure again and subtract that number from 100. That’s your new rest time. As the rep count gets higher, the rest gets shorter. Repeat this until you reach 100 reps. The burn and struggle will be real but so are the gains you’ll see.
The idea is you’re supposed to train the triceps once a week – either with biceps or chest. The muscle you pair this with is up to you. What is required is that you rotate the workout you do each week.
Workout 1 is on Week 1, workout 2 the next week and workout 3 after that. On Week 4 the cycle starts again.
This program will last you 12 total weeks so each workout will be used 4 times over that period.