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What would you say if I told you that there were only two tricep exercises you need to do? In this video, I am going to show you the two triceps exercises that should make up the bare minimum of your tricep workouts. Not only are these two exercises great for building big triceps, but they are the two exercises that will cover all 3 heads of the triceps fully.
Some might tell you that you only need two exercises total in order to build a muscle group. I disagree. I don’t think anyone should be limited to picking just two exercises for a muscle group because in the case of a muscle with multiple heads or bellies, the functions that can be targeted individually through exercise selection are going to factor in.
The triceps is a great example of this; it has three heads as well as two separate functions. The first is to simply extend the elbow fully. That’s an easy one. Every single triceps exercise you do is going to put that function in focus. What people miss however is the importance of the additional role of the muscle in shoulder extension, or bringing the arm back behind the body.
It is here that one head in particular stands out most – the triceps long head.
In order to fully develop the triceps you’re going to want focus a majority of your effort on this head since it makes up two thirds of the size of the muscle. Consider further that the triceps accounts for two thirds the size of the overall arm development and you see just how quickly this is something that you don’t want to overlook.
Well, as with any muscle, we know that we can stress it via a stretch tension and by also putting it into a fully contracted state under load. For the triceps the stretch on the long head comes when we place the arm over head and apply tension to the muscle. When we talk about putting it into its fully contracted state, we are going to need to get that arm all the way down at our sides and back behind our body as far as we can with the elbow fully straightened.
The tricep exercises chosen for my “only 2” are going to compliment each other perfectly here.
Big triceps are achieved very nicely with this one two combination of tricep exercises. It starts with a lying triceps extension performed with heavier weight than you might be used to. Too often, people treat this as an isolation exercise for the tris. This is not the case. It involves movement at both the shoulder and elbow joint and allows for the handling of pretty significant loads.
If you perform the lowering of the bar slowly, you can get a great eccentric stretch on the triceps which is known to be a great driver of hypertrophy in and of itself. Full extension of the triceps is going to occur when the bar is extended at the end of the rep. Just make sure to not allow the arms to drift completely over the body since this will take tension away at the top of the rep.
Once reaching failure, don’t put the bar down just yet. Take the set to and through failure by performing a mechanical drop set immediately into a close grip bench press with the EZ bar. Make sure to target the lower chest line and keep those elbows tucked tight so you can fry those triceps one more time to failure.
The next exercise is a variation of the triceps pushdown.
Rather than perform a traditional rope pushdown which has some limitations due to the physics of the exercise, we can opt for a rocking pushdown. It is easy to learn once you understand the goal of what you are trying to achieve for your triceps. The goal on any pushdown is to try and keep the line of resistance (the cable or rope) perpendicular to the moving segment (in this case your forearm) for as long as possible during the rep.
This will make the triceps muscle have to work the hardest and keep the most amount of growth producing tension on the muscle at all times.
Varying your body position in space as shown makes it easy to do that and allows you to most importantly, get those arms behind the body to get that long head in its fully contracted state.
Now, if you want to take your tricep training to the next level that hits every head of the triceps from different angle, there are many exercises to choose from. I don’t think we should ever be limited to just two exercises for a muscle group, the triceps included. But you should at least start with these two exercises to build the foundation of your upper arm growth.
If you are looking for a complete step-by-step training program that will take your workout to the next level, be sure to head over to athleanx.com and find the workout program that matches your goals.
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