The official start of tank top and racerback season has commenced! Sporting defined, strong triceps not only looks good, but they also improve your overall performance in other upper-body exercises, such as the bench press and pull-ups. Looking to improve your strength and get defined triceps? You've come to the right place!
This four-move routine will help you sculpt your triceps. But first things first!
Warm-up | Spend 3-5 minutes walking/jogging on a treadmill or elliptical to get the blood flowing. From there, head to a wall — stand an arms-length away, hands just below shoulder height. Slowly bend your elbows, so that you're performing a wall pushup (see image). Wall pushups are a great exercise to loosen up your arms and chest — and just what you need to get through the next few exercises!
Rest | Resting 30-45 seconds between sets will provide enough time for the body to recuperate.
Days | Add this workout to your current program, performing 1-2 times per week, for four weeks.
Weight | Select a weight that allows you to complete all the reps with perfect form. You should not reach failure before the last set of the last exercise.
TIP: If you need to move your upper arm continuously to control the weight, the weight may be too heavy.
If you're looking to gain mass, the "skullcrusher" is among the best exercises out there. This exercise can be performed a couple of different ways. The ways we suggest, are by either lying directly on the ground or on a bench. It is vital to keep your elbows shoulder-width apart, not allowing them to flail out to the sides. Moving your elbows during this exercise would work your lats, rather than your triceps. Your grip on the bar should be a little less than shoulder-width apart.
Use an EZ-Curl bar, as using a straight bar causes extra tension on the wrists and elbows. If an EZ-curl bar is not accessible, you can perform this exercise with dumbbells.
- Starting Position: Lie on your back, knees bent, with feet flat on the ground. Start with arms straight, palms facing away from you and the bar raised at eye level.
- Ending Position: Allow the bar to slowly descend, with your elbows bending pointing toward your feet. It should take a count of two seconds to bring the bar down, and one second to bring back up. It is very important to keep the elbows close together in this exercise, don’t let them flail out to the sides. If done correctly, the elbows should not have moved at all, only the forearms.
Triceps Kick Back
What's great about this exercise, is that you can still get a great workout with or without a great deal of weight. This exercise allows isolation of the triceps. Do this on a bench, or if you're not in the gym, go on the lawn or a carpet to protect your knees and hands.
- Starting Position: If you want to start by working your right triceps, kneel on your left knee — or vice versa. Your elbow should be just above your back, so that the upper arm points upward at a 45-degree angle. The forearm holding the weight is vertical. Note: The position of your shoulder will stay stationary throughout the duration of the exercise.
- Ending Position: Slowly raise the dumbbell up so the arm is straight. The raise should be done slowly, roughly a two second count. Try to hold this top position shortly, before lowering the weight back down. Shoulders and torso should remain completely motionless as you lift the weight upward. Do not swing the weight.
Chair dips are a great exercise, because you can do them just about anywhere, with little to no equipment required. A bench, a chair, a table — really anything level and stable! Just make sure the piece is on a carpeted surface, so it lowers the risk of slipping.
For those of you that find that chair dips are not challenging enough, increase the toughness of the exercise by holding a dumbbell between your thighs. If you are a beginner and can't yet do a dip under your own power, use your legs to get into the “up” position, then slowly lower yourself under your own power and use your legs to get back up. These are called "negative reps". Don't worry, it won't be long that you're doing them!
- Starting-to-End Position: Arms straight, but not locked. Slowly lower yourself down, so that your elbows are at a 90-degree angle. Hold that position for a moment before coming back up to the start. As with the other exercises performed, try to make sure your elbows stay tucked at or close to, shoulder-width apart.
Overhead Dumbbell Press
As was urged before, keep your elbows tucked! This exercise can be performed seated on a bench or chair — any steady surface, that allows for over-the-head motion. Start out with light weight, until you get the swing of things. To get started, hold the dumbbell in front of you or on your lap, with both hands underneath the top stack of weight. Carefully press it up, so that it is now overhead, with elbows straight, but not locked. From there, feel free to re-adjust your hand positioning or grip, so that it remains comfortable.
- Starting Position: Sitting up tall, abs tight, with your feet on the ground, slowly let the weight come down behind the head — stopping briefly at comfortable, yet slightly strenuous point.
- Ending Position: Keeping your elbows shoulder-width apart, slowly push the weight up, stopping briefly before performing the exercise again.
Each exercise should performed at a 8-10 rep, 3-4 set clip. As the weight gets easier to move, add additional weight to not only make the exercise tougher, but to get that much closer to strong, defined triceps!
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