Building Big Triceps

One of the prime goals for bodybuilders and weightlifters is to build big triceps.  By developing huge triceps, your arms will really stand out.  There are a variety of exercises you can perform to increase the size of your triceps using different apparatuses.  Some of the exercises usually recommended to build big triceps are tricep pushdowns, bench presses, parallel bar dips and lying tricep extensions.

Tricep pushdowns are one of the older and more common exercises for building big triceps.  This exercise places more emphasis on the lateral head.  Begin by facing a high pulley, the bar level with your chin, your hands close together and your feet should be spread about 10 inches.  With your arms at a 90 degree angle grip the bar with your palms facing down.  Push the bar down and flex your tricep.  At the end of your reps (usually 12 -15) your arms should feel very tired.  Make sure you elbows don’t go too far forward or you will be using your back muscles to lift the weight.

You can also choose to use single arm pushdowns which isolate the medial and outer heads of the triceps. You can also vary this exercise with a reverse grip, where your palms are facing upwards.  The remainder of the exercise is the same as tricep pushdowns and you should also do 12 – 15 reps and 3 sets.

Bench presses are another great exercise to build big triceps.  This exercise concentrates on the medial and lateral heads of the triceps. You lie on a bench but you can very your position between flat, decline or incline.  Bring the bar down towards the lower part of your sternum.  To increase tension and gain better results for your triceps, keep your elbows from locking.  Also, if you have your hands too close together, you’ll add pressure to your wrists and elbows.  Normal exercise routines will incorporate 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps.

To work all three heads of your tricep at in the same exercise, you can do parallel bar dips.   These are also referred to as upper body squats.  As you “dip,” remain as upright as you can to build the most mass.  Don’t lean forward, which puts some of the work on your pectorals.  Also, as you move down between the two bars, go as low as you can, try to have your tricep touch your arm.  Typical exercise would be 8 – 10 reps for 4 sets.

The long head of the tricep benefits most from lying tricep extensions.  Lie on a bench with your head dangling over the end in either a flat or declining position.  This allows you to get a full stretch without hitting your forehead. With an upward motion, lift the bar towards the ceiling until your arms are fully extended and then slowly lower the bar until it is above your head.  Flex the tricep muscle at the end of each rep. people typical.  Bodybuilders typically use heavier weights for lying triceps.

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