Sunday, August 11, 2019

Triceps - Gunnar Sikk

Whether it's punching, pushing or shoving, supporting our bodies for prolonged periods, or pushing downwards, the triceps are of paramount importance in day-to-day functioning. Or, put another way . . . without triceps we'd be lousy fighters and lovers, and sliced bread wouldn't have been invented. And that's just in the real world. Let's take a look at triceps in the world of bodybuilding. 

Note: I can't resist including the full title of this article: 


Much better. 

Continuing . . . 

Thick triceps are to an upper body what wide tires are to a race car. They impart a powerful and serious look when viewed from the front. Almost mean. 

When seen from the side, well developed triceps have the cosmetic role of balancing out the pec thickness, making the waist appear smaller, and also the nifty effect of making your head appear dwarfed, like someone removed it, shrank it down and then put it back on.

When viewed from the rear, thick triceps contribute to giving more V-taper, even out the cantaloupe shape of the delts, and make the back appear thicker and more visually interesting. Hey, and that's just in the relaxed position! Once you start flexing, all your side views are framed by the triceps. They count for 2/3 of the upper arm girth. When built to the max the final effect looks wicked. Sergio Oliva never really has chiseled biceps, but his triceps were so monstrous they made his arm look like a battleship. You could have landed helicopters on his arms. So the point's clear: triceps are definitely the lucky horseshoe of upper body development. I've outlined six triceps-trasher routines that have been specifically designed to suit your particular requirements.

Triceps That Need Pure Mass

Bodybuilders in this category typically have one of the following: peaky biceps that need to be balanced out with more triceps size, very large deltoids sitting on a wide shoulder frame, or an upper arm that when flexed reveals the biceps-triceps relationship to be somewhere around 50% for each muscle. If any of these sound like you, or if you have your head set on building more basic triceps size, follow this dandy of a triceps destroyer for a few two month runs and reap the rewards.

1) Lying Triceps Extensions supersetted with Close Grip Low Rib Press.  

Making sure to keep the elbows parallel and pointing to the ceiling, lower a straight bar behind your head while you lie on a bench. Use a 14-inch grip, and you'll get better isolation if you use a thumbless grip (your thumbs are on the same side of the bar as your fingers are). After you perform the correct number of reps you immediately bring the bar over to your chest, pause the bar as it's resting on your chest, narrow the grip to about 8 inches, and then slam out the desired reps from a position low on the rib cage, keeping your elbows flared outwards. Here's the set/rep scheme: 

Lying Extensions - 15 reps
Close Grip Presses - 15 reps

Lying Extensions - 12 reps
Close Grip Presses - 12 reps

Lying Extensions - 10 reps
Close Grip Presses - 12 reps

Lying Extensions - 8 reps
Close Grip Presses - 12 reps

Lying Extensions - 8 reps
Close Grip Presses - 12 reps

Lying Extensions - 20 reps
Close Grip Presses - 25 reps.

You'll notice that no matter how fatigued you get in the lying extensions, you can always have something left for the close grips presses, as it's a power-type movement. Next, move on to . . . 

2) Seated French Press

Using a barbell again, with a 14 inch grip you press the bar overhead and lower it to the base of the neck. Be careful not to flare the elbows way out to the sides like 95% of people who do this movement. Again, use a false grip, lower the bar slowly and raise it to just below lockout. Sets and reps are as follows: 

Warmup set - 15 reps
2nd set - 12 reps
3rd - 10
4th - 10 (heavy)
5th - 15 reps. 

It's absolutely imperative to keep the motion fluid, never jerky and rushed; otherwise, you'll multiply the joint stress and that could spell trouble over time. So make the exercise go up and down like a smoothly functioning piston. 

3) Dips on Narrow Parallel Bars

To execute this exercise correctly, take a grip that stays close to your body and have your feet held slightly forward. As you descend, let the elbows roll out wide and somewhat away from your body. When you push up, squeeze down hard on the heel of your palms and push the elbows back in. Doing dips in this fashion creates maximum contraction on the inner triceps head, and that's where much triceps size is realized. Do not lock out completely at the tops. 

5 sets of 10-12 reps. 

4) Bench Dips

Place two benches of equal height parallel to each other, and several feet apart. Next, put your open hands behind your back so they rest on the one bench, and rest your straight legs on the top of the other bench. Start to dip downward until your glutes almost hit the floor. Get a full stretch. Too many people perform this movement as a half stroke. You'll find you may be pretty strong in this position, so add weight by putting plates on your lap and fire away. 

4 sets of 12-15 reps. 

Triceps That Need Outside Development

Physiques in this group can be immediately spotted. After their deltoids finish curving into the arm, a straight line can be seen right down to the elbow on the outside of the upper arm. We're looking for that little triangular portion of the triceps that blips out and creates instant beauty, size, and completeness to the upper body. If you don't have that blip, don't flip; try this trip: 

1) Behind the Neck Dumbbell Triceps Extension

Similar to the barbell extensions you do when seated, except that you do them with a dumbbell. To hold it correctly, the palms should be flat against the inside portion of the dumbbell against the plate. Do this movement slowly and deliberately. 

5 sets of 10-12 reps.

2) Behind the Neck Cable Extensions 

Not all gyms have this piece of equipment, but you can improvise. Starting with a V-shaped short bar, you begin so that the bar is brought to a point that is well behind your head. Make sure you use a cable-pulley setup that will allow a full stroke of action. You then extend the bar fully so that it ends up somewhere out in front of your eyes, making sure that the thumbs are up toward the ceiling. Brace yourself firmly, otherwise you'll shift around too much and lose the desired effect. Ideally, your lower back will do most of the bracing. Here's the sets/reps: 

1st set - 15 reps
2nd - 12
3rd - 12
4th - 15
5th - 20

3) Special Lying Triceps Extensions

This is done by using a dumbbell and instead of lowering it behind your head, you lower it to the opposite deltoid of your body - between your neck and shoulder. To do this movement properly, it's important that your elbow point straight up to the ceiling and remain braced. Always do this movement slowly and deliberately. 

5 sets of 14 reps with no rest between arms, just keep going back and forth between arms like a machine. 
A smart machine, that is. 

Note: The desire to control the minds of men by seeing the brain as an advanced computer has been going on for quite a while now. Right back to the earlier binary, on-off experiments in the 1930s, through to the extended and in many ways still undisclosed programs of MK Ultra, continuing to move into the digital era of connectivity leading to behavioral modification and finally, now, behavioral prediction through the widespread use of data exhaust collection. Big bucks in this ugly game! I watched a very long, very good documentary, The Minds of Men, the other night and day. It can make for a great drinking game. Every time you notice yourself shuddering in disgust, well, you has to take a belt. Anyhow, once it gets past the first 45 minutes of its run-time of just under four hours, you begin to see it's something of a video reference page, whether you're drink-gaming or not. I was not familiar with a lot of the earlier books and journal articles these gov- and corporate- sponsored ya-hoos and monsters put out. Nor was I aware of just how depraved the experimentation became. Whoa Daddy! No need for anything as silly as "consent" from subjects, my friends, we is in charge here! People in falsely labeled experiments, wandering around various hospitals with electrodes implanted in their brains and a handful of whackjob docs diddling around with them via switchboxes etc. So, what we see is massively invasive experimentation on pretty large numbers of unsuspecting people who gave no consent and in many cases had no ailments to begin with, fully condoned by both North American governments for the sake of "improving" society. Garsh, I thought I were watchin' one-a them Nazi nutjob or Japanese army McScientist concentration camp doctor docs. Ooops, wrong nations, eh. You can get the damn video online. Remember, the references are where the real weird stuff and brain-based psychic savaging can be found. I was a little drunk in the later sections, and more than a little disappointed, though, considering the doc was put out in 2018 after more than three years of research and info gathering on the part of its creators. Really thought they would've taken the leap from "then" and followed government/corporate's (is there a difference there?) progression in their little control experiments. But hey, the doc-makers give you credit for being able to put together a full historical picture of how we got from there to here, still centering the focus on the partial MK exposures. Tough to top those assholes (CIA, now known as, give-it-a-name) and their "work" - although I've always been very fond of Bernays and the whole wave of snakes that crawled out after that particular era. God, nowadays the progression is so intense and rapid it's hard not to see Goebbels as a childlike naivete manipulating the people with near-nursery rhyme techniques. But hey . . . you know what they say. Live and Learn, eh. Gettin' better at it all by the decade, ain't we! 

Continuing with the article . . . 

4) One Arm Cable Pressdowns

Grab hold of a one-arm cable handle, rotate the palm so that it's facing up, bring your elbow tight into the body and slam the think down! Remember to keep the elbow close to the body throughout the movement. Don't let that elbow float away like a helium-filled balloon. At the bottom portion of the movement, squeeze the triceps and make weird faces; it's okay - you're going for that blip. 

5 sets of 14 reps.

5) One Arm Dumbbell Kickbacks
(if you're not completely shot)

Bend over so that your torso is parallel to the ground, bring the elbow up to your side, and start to kick the weight back in a fluid and uniform manner. Make sure that you don't whack someone with that dumbbell, because you're in a position that's easy to get whacked back. Here's the master plan: 

5 x 12 reps, isotension at the top portion of the movement during the last set only. Trust me, those exercises will, over time, give you that blip big-time. 

Triceps That Need Lower Development 

If your triceps are generally attached slightly short of the elbow, there's really not much you c an do, but you can still thicken it down there. Enough to notice less of that gap. If you feel you just need general thickness down there, this one will do it. 

1) Weighted Dips

Perform your basic dipping motion on the bars but only come up 60% of the way and then go back down again. Use a heavy enough weight to ensure this concept takes place. 

5 x 8-12 reps.

2) One Arm Dumbbell Triceps Extensions

While seated, press a dumbbell overhead with one arm, lower it behind your head and try to avoid the dreaded elbow flare that spells exercise ineffectiveness! However, in this instance and for this particular purpose, you come up to just slightly past your head, that is, nowhere near the completed, locked out portion of the movement.  

5 x 12 reps. 

3) Triceps Pressdowns Using a Rope

Snap a rope on the overhead cable machine and start pressing down, keeping the elbows at your sides, hands close together, and on the upward portion of the pressdowns come only up to the bottom of your pectoral line; then ram it back down again. Yes, short stroking is permitted here, so go to town.  

5 x 14 reps, mini-pause at the bottom for all the sets. 

Stick these three exercises into your other preferred movements and they'll definitely blow out the bottom portion. Hey, ever heard of Esiclene?  

Triceps That Need Inner Development

Few bodybuilders are astute enough to know if their inner development even needs work at all. For those of you who do, you've come to the right place, because the following routine makes that inner triceps so big, it'll look like you're carrying bowling balls underneath your armpits.

1) Standing French Press

Using a straight bar, do the French Press as previously described, except that you perform it standing. Only when you're in serious trouble of not getting the reps out can you bring the slightest of leg action into it. 

4 x 10 reps.

2) Close Grip Bench Press

Using a 16-inch grip on an Olympic bar, lower to your mid-chest, keeping the arms close to the sides. Think heavy and good form as you work away on this one.  

1st set - 15 reps
2nd - 12
3rd - 10
4th - 8
5th -8

3) Triceps Pushdowns

Using a straight bar attachment, start the movement with the bar at your chin area, press smoothly until bottom lockout, and return upwards. Think heavy and purity of motion. Don't attempt to slam the bar down with the aid of your upper torso by jumping on top of the downward motion. Quite uncool. Make it pure if you want a massive inner triceps. 

5 x 12, followed quickly by a pump set of 25. 

Triceps That Need Upper Mass

Quite often I see bodybuilders with nice triceps, but nothing really exciting is visually on them. It's usually the case that their upper triceps need mass to really give that pulled off the bone look to the muscles. This one is sure to make those upper shirtsleeves bunch up like a bushel of bananas. 

1) Dips

Using no weight, dip down to slightly below halfway and come completely up while at the same time exerting a mini-pause/flex at the top portion. 

5 x 12 reps. 

2) One Arm Cable Pushdowns

Making sure your palms are facing down towards the ground, perform one arm cable pushdowns slowly and deliberately, making sure you come up all the way at that top of the motion as though you couldn't possibly come up an higher.

5 sets of 12 reps, back and forth between arms without rest. 

3) One Arm Dumbbell Extensions

Perform these as previously described, except that you come up all the way to the top, and don't go much lower than your ear on the down portion of the movement. Go heavy but keep the style strict. Sets and reps are: 

4 x 10, plus one pump set of 15. 

4) Dumbbell Kickbacks

Again, done as previously outlined, except that for every rep of every set you briefly hold the dumbbell at the top portion of the movement. 

4 x 10 reps. 

Take your time on this one, as rushing through will prove fruitless; you also may have to use a lighter weight to allow for all those isotension reps. 

Triceps That Need That Chiseled Look

Unlike other muscles of the body that are typically rounded and swoop this way and that, the triceps have all these weird angles on them because they're always so busy receiving stress from all sorts of directions. Consequently, they need to receive a multitude of exercise variety. If you feel you have good enough size, and even development, but require more of a 3-dimensional look, here's the blueprint for you.

1) EZ-Bar French Press

Resting your fleshy outside palm on the inner bends of the cambered bar, perform French presses as mentioned but with a very exaggerated range of motion while leaning on an incline board set at a 60-degree angle. 

4 x 12 reps. 

2) 3-Phase Dips

Three parts exist to this exercise. First you dip with the hands very close to the body for the first set. On the next set you flare the grip slightly away from the body (which is more easily done if your dipping bars are shaped like a V instead of parallel), and on the third set you move even further away from the proximity of the body. 

3 x 20 reps, not weighted. 

3) Reverse Grip Bench Press

Use a shoulder width curl grip (palms toward your face as you grab the bar). Experiment with several different hand spacings within the desired width range until it feels comfortable. It will feel awkward at first, but you'll soon settle into the groove. 

5 x 8, and make it a point to go heavy with good exercise form. 

Get a spotter for this movement. 

4) One Arm Cable Pressdowns

Do this one as mentioned earlier. It's such an effective shaper that it must be used. 

4 x 12. 

5) Lying Pulley Triceps Extensions

While placing your elbows on a specially shaped V-type mini bench, you start the cable pull from a point behind your head until full extension out in front. At the fully extended position, make a deliberate attempt at separating the palms away from each other as you hold onto the rope. The tension from such an arrangement will cause you to manage a very small amount of deliberate hand flaring, but the effect on the triceps will give some serious shaping benefit. 

5 x 12-14 reps. 

Closing Commentary

As you've noticed, I've deliberately left out biceps movements, and how to schedule these exercises into your other muscle groups. That depends entirely on what your needs are. Say, for example, you're really missing a portion of triceps development; that will determine your plan of attack. Work them first in your workout, and then you can place your biceps, back, or shoulders next, depending on how you usually like to arrange it. 

If, however, you simply need a bit more size on one of the areas I've outlined, just discard your previous triceps exercises and slip in the ones that suit your desired goal. Then train them along with your biceps or any other muscle group of your preference. You see, it really depends on how badly you need a certain portion of your triceps to grow. Severity determines the muscle priority; it's that straightforward. Check your triceps from a very honest state of mind, from all angles, and then decide.   




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