When it comes to training triceps, it’s all too easy to become a one-hit wonder. Many guys simply head over to the cable pressdown station and wail on their arms for 10, 15, or however many sets it takes them to get sore. What they don’t realize is that pressdowns only emphasize one head of the tricep, the lateral head, at the expense of the other two heads. If all you do is pressdowns, you’re never going to see the kind of growth you want.
Here are 4 top techniques that most people are neglecting when it comes to working their triceps. Incorporate these into your next arm day routine and you’ll be on the road to building balanced, thick triceps in no time.
1. Pay Attention to Your Pushes.
Let’s start with the premise that most people aren’t even doing their pressdowns properly. I always see people holding the bar like it’s a motorcycle handlebar, which results in them pushing with their fingers. This places more stress on the hands and wrists, and it reduces the amount of force that can be applied. When performing pressdowns, be sure to push with the heels of your palms instead. This will allow you to lift significantly more weight, thereby producing faster tricep growth.
2. Incorporate Some Pulling.
Every now and then, switch things up with an underhand grip when doing pressdowns. Flipping your grip to pull the weight down will put greater emphasis on the often-neglected medial head of the tricep instead of the lateral head. The only way to truly build bigger triceps is to focus on the muscle as a whole, so devoting time to hitting the medial head will definitely pay off. Using an EZ-bar attachment with a rotating collar to perform your reverse-grip pressdowns will remove some of the stress from your wrists for the greatest possible tension on the tricep muscle.
3. Take Advantage of Angles.
Most guys who’ve put effort into building their triceps are familiar with skullcrushers. While this move is typically performed on a flat bench, altering your angle by using an incline bench or even a decline bench can change which head of the tricep muscle you’re hitting. Performing skullcrushers on a flat bench primarily targets the long and lateral heads. Doing them at an incline puts greater emphasis on the long head, while doing them on a decline stresses the lateral head and to some extent the medial head.
4. Drop It Like It’s Hot.
Drop sets are an incredibly effective training technique not just for triceps but for all the muscle groups. To perform a drop set, simply do one set to failure, reduce the weight, and then continue the set to failure again. You can do this one, two, three, or as many times as you need to completely annihilate your triceps.
The best way to perform drop sets is to reduce the original weight volume by 20-30% each time. Generally you only want to do drop sets for the last set or two of a particular exercise to prevent overtraining. By taking your muscles beyond the point of failure, you’ll significantly increase your body’s release of growth hormone and stimulate muscle growth at a more rapid rate.