Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Triceps -- Charles Coster (1957)

Zabo Koszewski 

The triceps is the largest upper arm muscle. Therefore, if you want bigger arms, faster -- specialize on your triceps and see your upper arm measurement go up, Up, and UP! 

This is especially important if you have been committing the common error and concentrating on the biceps more than the triceps.

Naturally the biceps is an important and interesting part of the human body. At its best -- it strikes awe and admiration into the heart of the onlooker, and we have only to look at some of the ancient Greek and Roman statues with their superb contours, to understand the glorious significance of massive, rugged, sinewy, biceps development. 

This muscle has always been more popular than the triceps, possibly because the biceps is situated in the "front" and can be more easily and more often seen both by the onlooker and the owner. 

The triceps hang to the "rear" of the  upper arm and the owner doesn't get a chance of viewing this  portion of his anatomy unless he stands at an angle in front of reflecting mirrors (are there non-reflecting mirrors?) -- and this can happen only occasionally, and may be one of the many reasons why the possibilities of intense cultivation of the graceful and powerful three-headed triceps region have been overlooked until comparatively recent times. 

When a youngster flexes his biceps . . . he can look downward or sideways and see it. When someone flexes his triceps, however, the effect is only seen by an onlooker -- unless the all-important mirror happens to be handy.

For a long time it was assumed that the possibilities of development were greater for the biceps than for the triceps, but modern research and modern training principles have proved the fallacy of this belief. 

Broadly speaking, the biceps can be described as a pulling muscle, whilst the triceps are designed to perform pushing movements from many angles. 

The biceps involve the bending of the elbow joint when contraction takes place . . . but when the triceps are contracted the entire arm has to straighten out.
Just why the triceps should have had to play a secondary role for so long is difficult to say, for old-timers like Hackenschmidt, Sandow, Maxick, Grimek

Alan Mead

have all amply illustrated the immense possibilities of this particular muscle, and more recently physique stars such as  

George Paine (above) and Marvin Eder have made phenomenal progress in strength and development by applying modern techniques of weight training to their triceps. 

However, there is no doubt that apart from the "stars" of the muscle world, the average enthusiast needs a little help and advice, and maybe a little inspiration on how to overcome these sticking points. 

As that is the object of this article, perhaps a few words on the anatomical construction of the triceps muscle would not be out of place. 


The term triceps indicates a three-headed muscle, and when it is well developed and held in a state of tension with the arm straight, it has a horseshoe appearance. 

There is an inner, and an external head, in addition to the long head, and when this muscle has attained all-around thickness and shape its appearance make a pleasing compliment to the biceps on the opposite side of the arm. 

When the arms are hanging by the sides, the possession of thick, ropy triceps will cause them to be pushed outwards, for the internal head will be pressing against the Bill Pearl patented tennis ball, er, latissimus dorsi,  and this will add to the depth and general muscularity of the arm from all angles.

Not only is it possible to develop phenomenal triceps strength, it is also possible to combine it with amazing shape and definition . . . 

. . . and these are attributes that all weight trainers want to possess.

In fact, in common with the deltoid and abdominal regions, it is practically impossible to overdevelop the triceps, irrespective of the size of the individual.

Muscle building just cannot be overdone in this part of the body, and even the stars who are most lavishly endowed want more. 

Influence of Work and Exercise

Unfortunately the One Arm Bent Press is no longer a popular lift. I mention this point because in the olden days, and in many respects the golden days, the Bent Press was widely practiced by weight trainers and it was responsible for some terrific triceps being developed. 

There were drawbacks of course: the main one being that few people could perform equally well with either hand (and some could only make a bent press with one hand) -- a state of affairs that often led to a lopsided musculature, since not only were the triceps uneven, but the Deltoid growth and Serratus regions likewise received unequal exercise -- and reacted accordingly. 

Some of the best "old time" triceps belonged to professional gymnasts and hand-balancers, a fact that is confirmed by modern examples we see around us today. Hand-balancing and general gymnastics involve the most strenuous type of triceps muscle work that it is possible to imagine, and it involves the continuous tension principle which can be responsible for producing a very impressive type of muscle that is famed for both quality and definition.

There is a big difference between the effect of weight training and herculean hand balancing. When barbells and dumbbells are in use -- there is a tendency for tension to decrease at the end of each rep -- but with hand balancing and gymnastics tension is maintained all the time, and sometimes for a considerable period -- with marked effect and resultant muscle growth. 

Of course, different types of persons react differently to certain types of training. Some belong to anatomical types that make muscle and sinew easily, and these types will thrive on almost any system. Likewise, these lucky people do  minimum amount of work, but get maximum results. 

Muscles and tendons seem to sprout out overnight, for the chosen few, but most of us have to put in the full amount of effort before getting what we want - the hard way.

"Occupational muscle" provides us with some interesting evidence if we care to open our eyes in this respect. It also gives us some wonderful examples of daily toil that involves "muscle spinning" which is supposed to be so bad for us.

Muscle spinning is a term denoting an incomplete muscular movement and has come under fire from the critics of the bodybuilding world from time to time. 

And yet, there are many curious parallels of this kind of movement being made during the course of a man's daily toil, for many years, without it having any ill effect, and curiously enough, the triceps are often used during these movements. The act of using a pick-axe involves an incomplete range of movement for the  back, the deltoids, the abdominals . . . and the triceps -- during the downward sweep. Similar remarks apply to the use of a 14-lb. hammer. 

The act of using a hand-saw on a wooden plank [where in hell is he going with all this side topic] is even more noteworthy in this respect for the shoulder and triceps muscle . . . but nevertheless we notice that the muscle groups just mentioned are quite strongly and sometimes outstandingly developed.

Many other examples might be quoted in this respect, but let the above suffice [whew]. 

Industrial occupations can often be useful for building both health and strength in some instances, but where special muscular proportions and specialized muscle groups are expected . . . then scientific methods and sometimes unusual procedures must be adopted. 

Stubborn triceps can be made to grow with persistence and the  right program, but certain essentials must be followed. 

It is essential to proceed methodically and logically. It is important to get plenty of "tone" and quality, before asking for the impossible. Triceps of insufficient size and quality if worked too violently will only become strained and sore at the start. 

Remember that Rome wasn't built in day [two?] and if it were possible for you to have what you want in seven days, then everyone else could get it, and the value would be much less. 

Above all else, don't allow yourself to get into a rut in your triceps training habits, for that is the surest way to failure. 

Try and keep a sane mental view of your problem and progress . . . don't force your triceps to perform advanced work before they are ready for it, but keep rotating the grouping of the triceps exercises in such a way that they affect the muscle differently each week. You will know when they have had a real workout. They will feel tight and somewhat swollen, and sometimes they will burn a little. 

To get really outstanding general arm development you not only have to alter the shape and design of your body, you must somehow strive to bring about an improved quality to grow and maintain much more tissue, which in itself is a difficult thing to do.

One of the byproducts of a triceps specialization program will be improved deltoid shape, for the upper regions of the triceps are closely connected with the posterior deltoids, and prominence in one part is bound to be reflected in the other. 

In addition, I have noted that when really heavy triceps are present, the appearance of the biceps, viewed from the front (when the arm is hanging at the side) becomes much enhanced. 

This is really an illusion, but it it brought about by the thick internal and external heads, which create the impression of abnormal biceps thickness and depth.

For anyone having ambitions to reach a certain arm measurement, the obsession on biceps alone means an incomplete understanding of the subject. About half of the possible girth of the entire arm can be composed of triceps muscle and obligingly, when the biceps are flexed, a good thickness of triceps muscle glides into position, almost immediately underneath, to considerably enlarge the circumference. 

Mental Attitude   

Your mental approach to bodybuilding problems is all important. If your requirements are high, then they will have to be matched by great determination, endurance and tenacity of purpose.

You will have to make up your mind just what type of triceps growth you want. Do you want bulk, do you wish for power, or if you already possess these things, do you wish to concentrate upon definition. Get your real aim firmly fixed in your mind, and then go all out for fulfillment.

Bulk weight training routines are necessarily specialized, and much has been said during the past few years about this important aspect, but briefly put: 

For bulk, concentrate upon a few exercises for the part of parts concerned. Use substantial poundages, cheat when you have to, perform up to 5 sets on each exercise, according to whatever suits you personally, keep the repetitions between 5 and 8, and don't train more then three times per week.

The entire body can be catered for, and if found beneficial the body can be "divided" into two parts and worked on different nights. But be sure not to expend energy too freely, otherwise you will run into difficulties. 

Definition: All types of training re linked up with food problems to a greater or lesser extent in a different way. Those wanting more definition however can win half their battle if they adopt a firm stand with solids and liquids . . . especially liquids. 

Get up from the table feeling that you still want more, and let's face the fact squarely that you may have to lose some bodyweight in order to gain definition more effectively.

You will find yourself working on your "nerve" to a certain extent as the mental and physical effort necessary will probably drain you of much energy, according to the personal effort you find yourself able to make. 

Although you may want definition in a certain place, you will be well advised to include all sections of your physique. 

Be prepared for considerable ache to take place, as the reps will be high at 12 to 15, and the number of sets will range between 3 and 5. Lighter poundages re used, but with correct form and no cheating. Mental concentration, peak contraction, and continuous tension are all valuable when definition is the main objective.

Muscle control is also useful for getting that edge, but these things, either separately or collectively, will sap the energy of the individual to a most unexpected degree for will-power is the only force that puts these things into effect, and we can guarantee that there will be no sleepless nights.

Power training principles are in many ways similar to the remarks made about bulk. The sets are higher, but the reps are lower, and less exercises are performed per workout, generally speaking. Concentrate upon power, all the time. When training for power for any particular part of the body, include the rest of the body also, but you can always specialize upon one particular muscle group, or feat of strength, if it is considered advisable.

Power training  will take it out of you to the same extent as training for definition, but in a different way.

By reason of the mental effort involved, rest in between times is essential, and this should be combined with a carefully considered food program. Some people can train this way only three times per week, but it is best for the individual to test himself out by actual experiment, and this can be done more effectively if he makes regular log book entries of the weights handled, and sets and reps performed, and the number of exercises used.

Only in this way will he be able to accurately summarize his bodily reactions and requirements, and only in this way will he possess a permanent record of all that transpires, and be able to learn the lessons of his weight training life the most economical way. 

Note: What's this about testing yourself with actual experiments up there? Heaven forbid! Don't! Instead, just do whatever some guru tells you to. I mean, experiment? That's madness!

It would be possible to go into much greater details in many respects, but time and space forbid. 

Note: The book published by the Weider outfit, "Massive Arms for You" goes into bulk, definition, and power training explanations and methods in more detail. It came at about the same time as this article. Starts with the bulk deal in Part Eight, then deals with definition, and power, in the following parts.  

However, all these things depend on the intelligent application of the weight-trainer's conception of his own anatomical type, which will be the key, nay, the master key to any success he may be striving for. 

Not to be too scientific -- humanity falls mainly into three categories: a la Sheldon. There is the Ectomorph, who is often tall and thin and a difficult gainer, but not always . . . then there is the Mesomorph, so often distinguished for good musculature and athletic ability. There is also the Endomorph -- chiefly noticeable for his smooth, rough, fatty physical appearance.

Whatever your chances of success are in the weightlifting and bodybuilding world, they will be immeasurably enhanced if you succeed in making a correct survey of your own particular "type" in advance, as a just appreciation of these things will put you on the right trail from the start, and probably will save you much heartache. 

A just appreciation of your type will prevent you from under-training or over-training, etc., as you will be able to know the kind of work that suits you . . . the kind of food that you must eat, as well as avoid.

You will realize why a heavy workout leaves you comparatively fresh, or makes you weary, and instead of being puzzled by these things you will draw upon the correct conclusions and be able to make the necessary correctives. 


I know that I shall be letting myself in for trouble if I say that there has been more special type triceps machinery invented for these muscles than for any other part of the body, but that's the way it seems, and I don't think I'm far wrong. 

During the last seven or eight years the art of modern bodybuilding has really blossomed and with it -- special new types of exercise for the triceps have been thought up, most of them novel, and some of them sensational. 

It seems that suddenly the weightlifting and weight-training world got triceps conscious overnight, and then, whoosh . . . things commenced to happen with a vengeance. 

Quite apart from weight training for the triceps, cable strands and steel spring equipment form a useful supplement or variation in training  methods,  and in some respects rubber cables or steel springs have an advantage, insofar that as the triceps movement nears completion -- the tension and general resistance is greater, instead of(as in the case of weights) tending to decrease in pressure.

Among the odd movements invented for specialized triceps development is the "bow-man exercise" which can be performed with opposing wall pulleys -- but is usually done with the use of cable equipment.

Working one arm at a time, the hands are extended at shoulder level sideways, and from this position one elbow is bent until the ball of the thumb touches the chest. From this position, the forearm is straightened again, and it is important to take are that the upper arm remains absolutely stationary throughout. 

Exercise the arms alternately this way, and when the initial toughening up process has been completed, try to conclude several sets of 8-12 reps (include and conclude!) with each hand, no cheating.  

This type of work can also be worked in with dumbbell and barbell work [that's a lotta the work words there, C.C.] for the triceps at times, as it will add both effectiveness to the general workout, and help to keep staleness at bay.

The French Curl (or overhead triceps curl) can also be performed with springs or cable equipment . . . and yet another triceps variant can be performed by a downward movement from the chest or shoulder, to the side of the thighs, with the opposite hand holding the other end of the cable equipment at arms' length. If the disengaged hand is "rested" against a wall or something, it will be much easier to concentrate upon the downward triceps reps being made with the other arm.

These three NON-ILLUSTRATED cable or spring triceps movements can be made either with the palm facing in -- or with the palm facing out, and perhaps it is advisable to vary the direction of the hand occasionally. 

But the "palms in" position is the hardest, and most effective. 

Because of its genuine power-building properties, I am making my Number 1 triceps exercise the regular bench press (using normal to wide hand spacing). Not only will this renowned lift built muscle, it will also build power in the triceps in addition to improving the entire upper body. 

However, since this article specifically concerns the triceps, we cannot do better than to make exercise Number 2 the Reverse Grip Bench Press (with narrow hand spacing). 

This is a pure triceps exercise and one that is comparatively little used. It should be performed slowly, with no bouncing used, and the return movement should also be made slowly.

Although high reps are not practical for everybody, keep them as high as 20 if you can, and do as many sets as you feel able. The reverse grip bench press is a teaser for the ache that it will produce, but it gets results. It also affects the anterior deltoids to a certain extent. 

Number 3 exercise is the Seated Press from Behind Neck with Barbell. Proceeding in accordance with the requirements of your particular anatomical type, press the bar as far "backwards" as possible once the upward movement has been started, as this will give you a much better muscle workout in the part concerned. 

You can vary the width of the hand spacing from close to wide in order to get in as many angles as possible, and as this exercise is a difficult one, it is sometimes a good idea to decrease the poundage and increase the reps on the second and third sets.  


Number 4 exercise for the triceps is the Alternate Dumbbell Press which is of course not a pure triceps exercise but which is chosen because it will keep your deltoids and serratus up to scratch whilst powerfully affecting the triceps you are concentrating on. 

This dumbbell movement can be performed standing, with a sideways body sway which will tend to become pronounced as the last reps are ground out, and the fact that the trunk bends to alternate left and right like this will help to trim the waist and make your Illiac line more pronounced. 

Keep the feet about 18" apart, and keep the knees firmly braced.

Don't forget that this exercise, besides being good for the triceps, has powerful tie-in qualities also, as it will help to balance the overall appearance of our torso with the specialized triceps routines you are undertaking.

Our Number 5 triceps exercise is going to be a novelty maneuver which involves the regular Two Hands Press . . . but instead of the discs being on the bar in the usual manner, they will hang on two pieces of rope or chain so that their is a "loosening effect, as the repetitions and sets are performed, with varied hand spacings. 

The introduction of chains from which to suspend the discs, makes the overhead pressing movement much more difficult, as the hands will tremble, and the direction of the bar will be much more difficult to control, because the plates will tend to swing a little. 

It is important to remember NOT to try to minimize the swing and the trembling effect, because the more it is in evidence, the more effective will the continuous tension principle become.

This form of loose chain pressing can also be done from behind the neck, as well as from the front, and close, normal and wide grips should be experimented with. 

You may be astonished at the drip in the poundage you are able to handle -- especially if you try a combination of Behind the Neck, "Very Close" and "Very Wide" hand-grip for 15 reps, without taking any rest when the position is changed . . . it will make your triceps ache to the point where they start to burn, and once again we repeat, you will be very surprised at the reduction on the weights you are used to handling otherwise. 

They say that there is absolutely nothing "new" in the weight-lifting or weight-training world, and this may be true.

When I thought of the "rope and chain" idea many years ago, I thought I had invented something, only to discover that someone else had been thinking along the same lines on the opposite side of the earth. And since then I have come into contact with other people who thought they were the originators of the idea.

More here:

Some people are discouraged when they have to go to a little extra trouble to load and unload a bar. So if this remark applies to you, why not get a spare bar, or even a length of heavy gas tubing, so that it will always be prepared and ready for your use. 

It is well worth a little trouble, for the muscle-tension and "ache" principles are important, and it is a sure way to build increased power and the special type of  triceps muscle that you want. 

Exercise 6 is also an unusual tension triceps movement which takes in other parts of the torso also. It is our old friend the Handstand Press-Up. And as far as the purpose of this article is concerned it is better than if the hands are raised off the floor to a depth of about six or seven inches . . . so that the raising and lowering can be made as full as possible. 

If you happen to be an advanced or expert hand-balancer, then it will not be necessary to use a stabilizing device for the feet. But if you cannot hold a hand-balance comfortably . . . then the best way to proceed is for you to place your hands on stands of some sort . . . near a wall for preference, and then go up.       

When your arms are straight, in this upturned position, move your feet down, until the calves are roughly horizontal, with the toe tips touching the wall. Keep the tores against the wall at this point throughout the exercise, as in that way you will be able to balance yourself whether the arms are straight or bent, and it will enable you to concentreate upon getting the maximum amount of rep work without bothering about anything else. Like this -- your legs will be roughly straight when the arms are bent -- and the legs will be bent when the arms are straightened, but the support is there.

To commence with, even advanced performers will find it advisable to concentrate upon making at least 20 complete press-ups . . . followed by 15 reps . . . followed, after an adequate rest period by 10 reps, before adding resistance to the body for the purpose of additional power and muscle progress. 

Only after painstaking preparation is it possible to get the body prepared sufficiently so that additional weight can be added . . . and intensive progression maintained. 

Additional weight resistance can best be brought about by the use of a thick leather belt or chain. From this it will be possible to suspend plates, as and when required. 

You can please yourself about the number of sets and reps It doesn't matter what anatomical type you belong to, the going is pretty tough on this exercise -- if you are finally going to be able to perform a full unsupported movement with weights attached. 

It is impossible to overestimate the importance of this triceps exercise in my opinion. At least 2/3 of the effect is concentrated upon the triceps, but the deltoids and entire back area are also heavily involved when a full workout is being taken, especially if the hands are raised off the floor on some type of suitable stand. 

Some triceps exercises feel easy at the commencement of the movement . . . others are hard when the half-way stage is reached.

But if you have sufficient enthusiasm and initiative tofollow the suggestiong outlined in this particular exercise, you will discover that this movement is tough all the way, and for the back and deltoids as well. It will really pay off for the time and trouble involved. 

This leads me to Exercise 7 . . . the Incline Bench Dumbbell Press. 


The angle of the dumbbell can be varied according to the desires of the lifter in this exercise . . . they can have the ends pointing FRONT or OUTWARDS to the sides. During the final set and reps, when the going gets hard, the bells need not be lowered all the way. 

The angle of the incline can be varied from time to time to add interest. 

Exercise 8: French Curl, Standing (with barbell or dumbbell). 


Sufficient has been published about this popular modern triceps exercise to make it easy for me now. But it is a very effective movement whichever way it is used, and plenty of ache is involved during the final stages. 

It is important to remember that the elbows should be kept pointing upwards as there is a tendency for them to stray sideways at odd moments. 

The palms can be kept either to front or real . . . in fact, when dumbbells are being used the ends can be allowed to point up and down if it is desired, in order to cover as many "angles" of the triceps as possible.

This type of movement can also be done with cables, as mentioned earlier. 

Exercise 9: Standing Downward Pull (with cable or pulleys).

A favorite of many present-day bodybuilders, in many respects it is a straight uncomplicated movement, and by reason of the close proximity of the latissimus dorsi and the internal head of the triceps -- "contraction" is made very effective, and the triceps get gorged and swell up quickly.

All cable and spring exercises, as well as pulley exercises, are convenient and suitable to work in with barbell and dumbbell routines for the triceps. A dumbbell exercise can be "heated up" considerably if a similar type of cable or pulley movement is used beforehand. 

In fact, there are many "dodges" and maneuvers that can be arranged if the lifter takes the trouble to do a little mental work in relation to the problems he is working on.

Exercise 10 is the Parallel Bar Dip.  

This exercise is an excellent illustration of the principle that muscles have to be worked in all directions if maximum power and muscularity are to be achieved. 

Some of the people with the most impressively developed triceps, and some of the greatest strength stars, have specialized on this exercise and obtained 

hang on . . . 

I have zero issues of Fury magazine. Looks like they had some training articles in 'em. "Massive Back Power" by Clarance Ross. "A Larger Chest and a Broader Back" by Charles Smith. "Malcolm Brenner Tells How He Developed 19" Arms". "You Can Have Broader Shoulders" by Leo Robert. "Beat Your Poor Posture" by Charles Smith. "Perry Como: Sinner or Saint" by Blake Marion? 

Chuck Sipes.
Photo courtesy of Joe Roark.

Okay . . .  Some of the people with the most impressively developed triceps, and some of the greatest strength stars, have specialized on this exercise and obtained astonishing results, and Alan Mead and Marvin Eder are cases in point. 

I am told that Alan Mead performed more than 300 consecutive press-ups between parallel bars, and he is the possessor of triceps development that is right out of this world. 

Alan Mead, circa 1925. 
Photos courtesy of Micheal Murphy. 

Marvin Eder, famed for his rugged power, his colossal musculature, and fantastic Olympic pressing ability -- built his terrific tendons by exercising them from all possible angles. 

Film of Marvin Eder posing, begin at 4:20. So many things begin at 4:20! 

He was especially proficient on the bench press, and press-ups between parallel bars, and by hanging weights around his waist was eventually able to make sets of 10 reps with 300 pounds. 

Gymnasts often possess outstanding deltoid and triceps bulk, combined with exceptional definition, as the result of prolonged bouts of parallel bar work.

Muscles cannot fail to develop sensationally when subjected to this type of work, and concentrated schedules of all-round triceps work designed to get at the triceps from all angles is the modern proven method for getting maximum results. Thousands of body-builders have obtained results that were beyond all their dreams in the first place, and we feel sure that they will work for you likewise. 

Like the other exercises presented to you in this article, your particular type will determine the actual methods you will have to adopt in your own case. 

People with long arms and people with short arms will naturally discover a lot of difference in their ability to absorb repeated doses of sets of repetition work -- it is hard to lay down hard and fast rules in advance. 

So it's best to follow the old adage: "Go as far as you can see, then see how far you can go." And, "Whatever you do son, don't do it." 

Exercise 11: Left and Right Hand Push. 

It can be done with either dumbbell or barbell depending on your personal preference. There are at least two ways to do the Push. You can have the feet apart, and slightly bend the knee on the opposite side of the arm being used, or keep the knees rigid throughout, which makes the exercise a little tougher, but gives the waist and Illiac-line a good squeeze while the triceps are being blitzed. 

1957. When did the term "blitzed" first get itself in print when referring to this stuff? I dunno. Blitzed my pecs to bits from nips to pits. Cut 'em off, put 'em through a meatgrinder and ate it for a postworkout "feeding". Don't you love that term too! Feeding . . . much like a dumb cow getting fattened before slaughter. For my 5th feeding of the day I go with dogshite and milk of magnesia, blended, depending on how soon it'll be before feeding number six, usually around 12 minutes after feeding number five of 75 each day. The tombstone shall read: He Shat a Lot. 

Yeah, yeah. 

The deltoids and the lumbar region will also get a good share of attention -- but with so many "pure triceps' exercises being described, it is necessary to make use of a good tie-in movement like this one occasionally -- for it will encourage the physique to develop along harmonious lines as a whole, and prevent the body from taking on that robot "piece-meal" look that we sometimes see -- when someone decides to develop certain limbs separately. 

Many of the real old-timers had that classical look about them. [You mean ALL the way back to Yates or even Arnold?). The left and right arm Push was one of their standard training movements. So when you make a selection of these triceps exercises for a workout, don't forget to include work on Exercises 4 to 7, and 11 . . . because no matter how much you desire certain muscles to become more prominent, the overall appearance of the athlete is something that counts most of something that counts most of all. 


Exercise 12 is a triceps exercise without a proper name so far, so I shall just have to describe it as best I can. Stand up with a very light barbell held against the back of the thighs, with the palms facing the front, and the hands fairly close. Now bend your knees, and lean forward from the hips until your chest is touching your thighs -- at the same time bend your elbows and draw the upper arms UP until they are roughly level with the back muscles. 

Keep the upper arms quite still . . . and steadily raise the bar upwards and backwards until the elbows are locked, lower, and repeat. Experiment for the hand-spacing that suits you best, and don't be too ambitious for heavy poundage -- until you have thoroughly tested yourself. A very good contraction can be obtained this way, and it will pump the triceps up quickly. 

Note: Check this out as well. Google "kelly snatch" and look for the USAWA rules for this contested lift, if you can stop blitzing your soon to be scintillating triceps long enough. 

Kelly Snatch, performed by Tim Piper

John Grimek

No, it's not identical to the "unnamed" triceps cramping exercise Mr. Coster is describing. It's something to check out, give a try, whine about, then condemn as antiquated and quaint before heading back to YouTube. Such a strangely bitter and alienated old fart! 

This exercise can sometimes be seen performed in a similar position, but with a dumbbell, and when it is done this way, the arms are worked separately -- the disengaged arm usually acting as a support of some kind. 

When a dumbbell is used, the palms usually face inwards, so that the dumbbell ends point up and down. 

When a barbell is used the hands can be held either way for variation but the palms front grip is the hardest. 

Oh hell yeah it is. If you're not used to doing something like, say, lying barbell extensions with a knuckles up (palms facing face grip) it can be very humbling at first. 

Finally, our selection for Exercise 13 is the One Arm Floor Dip, which, sad to say, is seldom used nowadays. 

We often see floor dips performed, with two arms and in varying attitudes, and of course it is an excellent muscle making movment especially when done between two chairs and surrounded by M's, with the feet placed at a higher altitude than the head. 

Weights can be placed on the flat of the back, and the exercise made progressively more difficult as proficiency increases. When these maneuvers have been reasonably well advanced, the introduction of the one arm floor dip will be made a little easier. 

For those not acquainted with the one-arm variety, it is best performed as follows: 

Assume the face downward floor position with feet spaced to suit your requirements . . . press up into the arms-length position, then take one arm off the floor and place it behind your back. Don't try to make a full one-arm descent immediately, do it by degrees. When half or two-thirds of the downward movement can be made fairly comfortably, it will be necessary to introduce a slight "hip-bend" coupled with a sort of "screw" movement when the last portion of the one arm dip is being made. 

Great tension and control is present throughout both the bending and straightening of the arm -- even experts don't find it easy to perform sets of repetitions this way.

It is an excellent deltoid movement as well; likewise an athletic feat in itself which seems to call for more than normal stamina and endurance when oncey you have made up your mind to master this exercise. 

In conclusion, for anyone with big triceps ambitions, don't forget to make haste slowly . . . in the end it's likely to be the quickest way for YOU. 

There is a dividing line between muscle stimulation and muscle exhaustion, 
and it's up to YOU to find the middle way. 

Enjoy Your Lifting!      


  1. Now, see? My wife IS right, I'm not as smart as I think I am! I was unaware of Weider's "Fury" comics. You've done it again, furthered my education.
    Henceforth (I LOVE when I can inject that word into casual conversation..."henceforth"..."henceforth...") I can reply to my doubtful uxor, "I admit you were correct, yes dearrrrr, but, I've added the one piece of information I unwittingly lacked, so now I can honestly state, I do know everything!"

    1. Here at The Tan Pants Inner Seam, er, Circle we aim to educate on the important things in life alright!

  2. Great photos of Alan Mead! I wonder what his training was like??

    1. AMAZING physique. Another I'll add to my growing list of pre-1935-therefore-without-any-doubt-pre-anabolic-steroid examples of what is naturally muscular-and-lean possible (with good genetics, of course). Too many of the kids today seem unaware what they might achieve without drugs if they just fucking train hard-and-intelligently for at least three consecutive years.

      Me, I have no issue with guys using drugs, apart from the dishonesty that often occurs. Adults get to make their own informed choices and then live with the potential negative consequences, without me butting in, thinking my way is the "BEST!" way. I never used them until I started prescription TRT at age 60, and built a decent physique on my small-boned frame just progressively training and carefully-but-not-fanatically eating between age 15 and 20.

      But it bothers me when young adult guys start using long before they ever discover how far they can go naturally. For me, taking my physique as far as my genetic limits allowed naturally, with only my own dedication and efforts, gave me a sense of accomplishment that I'm afraid those premature INJECTulators never enjoy.

    2. Alan Mead's training style . . . good question! I gotta check into that . . .

    3. Rounding up a little on the guy. He was injured in World War One and had a partial right lower leg amputation. In Bill Pullum's book "Weight-Lifting Made Easy and Interesting" there's a section on some of his star pupils. So many of them are listed as either injured or killed in World War One! Looks like Mead was known for his pullover ability and of course other lifts as well. He put out a muscle control and exercise course at one point. He used the Maxalding method, Monte Saldo stuff, along with weight training methods of the era, bars, bells, cables, pulleys, gymnastics etc. Part of his muscle control act included what Alan Calvert termed "dancing the spinal muscles." Nothing specific on his training, but muscle control was a big factor. There's some interesting stuff on Mead here: https://starkcenter.org/igh/igh-v2/igh-v2-n5/igh0205f.pdf Somewhere there's more on his training . . .

    4. He put out a book titled "Muscles of the Body and How to Develop Them" that amazon has free to read.

    5. More on Mead here: https://breakingmuscle.com/strongman-profile-alan-mead-teaches-us-about-perseverance/

    6. There's a lot of connections between Mead and brothers Joe and Bert Assirati.

  3. There's a lot of comprehensive info, old reminders to me and terrific vintage graphics in this ode to triceps feature. Never thought of the triceps as an "occupational" muscle, but the author makes the case. My generation also tended to discount handbalancing as a bodybuilding modality, but the history is clear...it is for real. Again, love the pictures of Canada's two most great-but-forgotten bodybuilder, Ed Theriault and Leo Robert, as well as those of a young Reg Park, Ross, Meade, and so forth. It was also fitting that chest expander training gets a prominent mention here. The British were big on chest expander involvement in the early to mid 20th Century as a complement to barbell training.

  4. I really wondering that One arm Floor Dips any picture or video about these exercise?

    1. Here's a video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g426J4Uh2m4


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