How Do I Build Up My Triceps?

I train my entire body during my weekly workouts and I'm quite satisfied with the progress, except for my triceps. Every time I train my triceps, they tire out quickly and I can't seem to make them grow and get any bigger. Can you suggest some training tips to help me add more size to my triceps?

When a person's triceps burn out during a workout session, there is usually a direct effect on prior training of the chest and shoulders which use the triceps as a secondary muscle group. A great tip is to train your triceps along with your biceps in an independent workout which will allow you to train them when you have the most amount of energy which will allow you to use the heaviest amount of weight possible and results in more muscle growth. Avoid training your chest or shoulders on the same day as your triceps or you will simply tire them out before you can overload them. You might even try taking a few days of rest after training your chest or shoulders, just to make sure your triceps are fully recovered and ready to go before training them.

Now lets move onto some training tips. I am going to share with you 3 of the best exercises for building massive triceps. Keep in mind, you can alter or modify these exercises as you see fit. Just remember that proper form is the most important part when doing any of these exercises. If you aren't using proper form, you won't get the results you are after. Let's get started!

Close Grip Bench Press
build huge triceps armsThis exercise one of the best mass builders for your triceps. In order for your muscles to grow you must add resistance and overload them. This movement is just like a regular bench press with a few minor modifications. The only difference is how you grip the bar. Your hands should be no more than a foot apart and your elbows should stay close to your body. When doing this exercise you should start with your arms fully extended. Slowly lower the barbell down towards your chest. Do not allow the bar to touch your chest. Once you get close, push the weight back up and return to the starting position and try to flex your triceps at the top.

Rope Push Downs
This is a great exercise to build up your triceps and hit it from different angles! It can be performed using a variety of different attachments such as the straight bar, v-bar and ez-curl bar. No matter what attachment you use the idea is to try and do every repetition with proper form. Proper form means your arms are locked at your sides and your back is straight. You want to feel the burn with every push down. If you don't use proper form, most of the tension will be on your back and shoulders instead of the triceps.

Weighted Dips
When doing weighted dips you will be relying heavily on your own body weight. However, you can add extra weight to make the exercise more difficult. There are two ways to do dips, you can use the regular dip machine or use two benches to perform the exercise.

With the dip machine, simply grip the 2 handles of the machine and raise your body up into the air. Keep your elbows in close to your body and slowly lower your body down and then back up. By keeping your elbows closer to your body, you will place maximum tension on your triceps. If you let your elbows flare out, you will be working your chest more. You can wear a weight belt and attach weight plates and a chain to it for more resistance.

For the bench dip version, place two benches about 3 feet apart. Adjust the width based on your height. Sit on one bench and rest your heels on the other. Put the palms of your hands on the bench you are sitting on and slide forward. At this point your arms will be supporting your entire body weight. Slowly lower yourself down until your arms are bent at a 90 degree angle. Push yourself back up and flex your triceps at the top. If you aren't strong enough to handle your own body weight then only use one bench and place your feet on the floor instead of being elevated.

Sample Workout
Here is a quick workout you can do with the exercises listed in this article:

  • Close Grip Bench Press: 3 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Rope Push Downs: 3 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Weighted Dips: 3 sets of 15-20 reps

If you want a super intense triceps workout, try doing these exercises in a circuit. Do one set of each without any rest in between. Once you have completed one full circuit, rest for 2-3 minutes and do it again. Doing it this way will absolutely overload your triceps and force them to grow!

Nutrition
Anytime you are trying to build muscle, nutrition is vital. If your diet is not spot-on you won't get the gains you are after. Make sure you are eating plenty of lean protein, clean carbs and healthy fats. You need to eat to get big, so your overall calories are super important. Keep a food journal and track the amount of calories you consume over the course of a week. If you're not making gains, always look at your diet first!

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