5 Superior Movements for Titanic Triceps
If you follow normal advice you will get normal results.
This is true for a lot of things in life. This is definitely true for the muscle building game. One of my goals for this site is to tell my story. For all the topics that I discuss on this site, my job is to tell you my experiences and observations. What worked? What did not work? I will tell you everything…
Bodybuilding is no exception. I had a lot going for me before I ever even touched a weight. But the competitive spirit and the creative mindset to use every tool imaginable in the gym over the years is what got me to where I am today.
I have spent 8 years perfecting my craft and becoming a master of my own body. I know everything about this machine because I have lived by the number one rule in bodybuilding.
I have been able to continually make gains because creativity is my best friend. This is an art to me. I am obsessed with constantly coming up with new movements and superset routines to subject my muscles to.
Most people have the same mediocre game plan for triceps. That’s why they are forced to settle with the same mediocre results. Do a bunch of exercises for biceps first and then maybe throw in some rope extensions and cable pushdowns for triceps.
Hopefully, these 5 superior movements for titanic triceps will change that for you. Hopefully, this article (and accompanying videos) will start to prove that this game is all about the competitive spirit and implementing a creative mindset to “discover” what works best for you.
Movement 1: “Sonny Extensions”
I credit myself for making this one up. I first “discovered” this exercise in January 2012 when I was working out at a Gold’s Gym in North Carolina. The machine this is done on is the Nautilus Pullover Machine, which is traditionally used as an exercise to stretch the lats. I use it as a triceps movement by standing behind the machine and pushing the bar forward by extending my triceps.
The most comparable traditional movement that people use is skull crushers. However, Sonny Extensions are a superior movement. Why?
1) Sonny Extensions are much easier from a form perspective.
2) Sonny Extensions are easier “to feel” and hit all 3 heads.
3) Sonny Extensions place less strain on the elbow joints.
4) Most people try to use too much weight and have poor form on skull crushers.
5) Again, you have to really “feel it”. Difficulty with the form on skull crushers prevents this for a lot of people.
6) Over time, skull crushers place more strain on the elbows.
Movement 2: One-handed overhead kettlebell extensions
I first “discovered” this movement in August 2011 when I was training at the World Gym near my house on Long Island. I won’t go so far as to say I am the originator because kettlebells are quite common and I’m sure someone had done these before.
Another simple exercise… all you do is grab a kettlebell and extend it over your head. This works the triceps. The upper arm does not move.
The most comparable traditional movement that people use is the one-handed overhead dumbbell extension. However, this is a superior movement. Why?
1) With the one-handed overhead kettlebell extension, the entire lift is felt by the triceps.
2) With the one-handed overhead dumbbell extension, you have to “grip” the dumbbell, which puts some of the lift on the upper forearm. As you go heavier, some of the delts might also help out.
3) Some people can mess up with the dumbbell by gripping up on the weight, instead of holding the dumbbell in the middle.
4) It’s more natural to use the kettlebell if you want to rotate the elbows outward for a greater contraction. This is awkward with a dumbbell.
Movement 3: Machine Dips Facing “Inward”
Most people do machine dips seated facing outward and that works for them. Personally, it just never felt right. Anytime I have tried doing them seated and facing outward, it felt awkward. I feel it in the triceps for sure… but I also feel a lot of tension on the lower chest and the front delts.
My solution (and suggestion for those who feel the same) is to do them facing inward and standing. There is less stress placed on the lower chest and front delts. Also, it just enables for a more explosive movement downward aka more powerful contraction for all 3 heads.
*** For this movement, you do not have to go “all the way down all the way up.” It’s like that for any movement for any body part actually. There is a certain “sweet spot” for the individual lifter where 100% of the load is felt between concentric and eccentric… you only need to focus on that part. In my experience, it’s different for everyone and you find it through time/experience.
Movement 4: Bodyweight Tricep Extensions
I picked up this movement in June 2010. I originally saw it done by former NFL running back Thomas Jones in a YouTube video. I don’t do these as often but they are a great finishing exercise.
This movement may be difficult for some. Again, there is little movement in the upper arms. The elbows flare out because the bar is rotating forward and the triceps contract. This is a great movement because there is also some core involved.
The most comparable traditional movement is probably skull crushers. This movement is superior because once you have the stability and form down pat… it is easier to flare the elbows out and “feel it” on all 3 heads (due to the rotating bar).
Movement 5: Weighted Bench Dips
I think this is the very best exercise for triceps. Oddly enough, you rarely see anyone doing these in the gym. This is a forgotten exercise that was a lot more common during the 70’s and 80’s. I did these exclusively during the summer of 2008 (sometimes with 4-5 plates on my lap) and my triceps blew up.
It is a simple exercise. All you do is balance yourself between 2 benches and push yourself up a down. You (or a spotter) can put a plate on your lap for added resistance.
The most comparable traditional movement is regular dips between 2 bars. This movement is superior (in my opinion) for a few reasons:
1) You can never quite fully isolate the triceps with regular dips. There’s always a degree of the chest and front delts being heavily recruited into the movement. Isolation is easier with bench dips.
2) Regular dips place more strain on the elbows.
3) It’s easier to “feel it” working all 3 heads on bench dips versus regular dips where there is a tendency to “feel it” almost exclusively on the lateral head.
4) It’s a lot easier to use momentum and cheat on regular dips.
So there you have 5 superior movements for triceps that you probably are not doing… but should strongly consider. As far as tricep workouts and routines are concerned, I think that like any muscle you need to subject them to as much volume as possible.
One or two movements will not cut it. You should be incorporating at least 4 movements.
As far as reps are concerned, I have found that with cable/machine movements, it’s better to stick to high reps (at least 15) to pump the muscle full of blood. With the weighted barbell movements (such as skull crushers, weighted bench dips, and close grip benches) it’s not totally necessary to go high reps (although I usually do).
That’s it for now. Hope this was helpful.