Wouldn’t you like to have big, powerful, massive arms?
Muscular arms are a source of confidence.
They indicate power and masculinity.
Getting in shape is one of the best things you could do for your life. Yet, developing big, massive guns is a part that many people struggle with.
In reality, it’s not so difficult.
Arm Training Basics
There are 2 muscles that you need to focus on to increase your arm’s size.
That’s your biceps and triceps. The biceps are in the front part of your arms while the triceps are in the back of your arms.
This article will focus on the 6 best triceps exercises that you should focus on to build really strong and muscular triceps.
Triceps are bigger than your biceps.
This means that only developing your triceps will make your arms look much bigger.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should neglect your biceps. They are very important.
But if you consider that your triceps are much larger, it makes sense to put a little more focus on their growth.
The 5 Best Triceps Exercises To Develop Big Guns
Most people are judging triceps exercises based on two flawed criteria:
1. The burn after doing the exercise, also known as pump.
2. The soreness after a ton of sets of an exercise.
However, these criteria are not completely objective. Many other factors that contribute to the final feeling.
So how can we determine which are the best triceps exercises?
We can separate the best exercises if we examine two things: logic and scientific research.
There are many ways to work your triceps. You can find unlimited triceps workouts if you search in Google. But not all of them work that well.
You can work your triceps in 2 ways:
1. Isolation movements that target exclusively your triceps.
2. Compound movements that work your triceps along with other muscles.
One important thing to keep in mind:
No matter which triceps exercises you choose to do – you should also focus on keeping your elbows and nearest joins safe from injury.
That’s why proper form is important.
Let’s check out the 5 best triceps exercises that give the best bang for your buck:
1. Dips Are For Your Triceps Like Squats Are For Your Legs
Dips are probably the king of all triceps exercises. They target all the three heads of the triceps and help in developing your chest.
Secondary muscles that are worked with dips are the shoulders and traps.
If you could do only one triceps exercise, then dips should be your only choice.
Check this video to see how to properly do the dips:
Important things to keep in mind when doing dips:
1. Don’t allow your body to swing during the movement. This is extremely important if you want to get the maximum activation of your triceps.
2. Don’t lock your elbows at the top because you might get injured. Stop a little bit before the lockout.
3. Use a full range of motion. Don’t steal reps. This means that you should lower your body until the point that your shoulder joint is slightly below your elbow joint.
4. Make dips the first exercise in your whole program. It’s important to do the dips first because it’s a compound movement and it’s very demanding. If you put in the end or the middle of your workout, your muscles will already be fatigued and you won’t get the max out of it.
5. Don’t sway and don’t use momentum to go up and down. Moreover, don’t go down too fast like dropping yourself. Control the movement.
2. Diamond Push-Ups Develop Massive Triceps
A study conducted by the American Council on Exercise has measured the effectiveness of 8 triceps exercises.
The diamond pushups were the only exercise which elicited the highest amount of muscle activation.
According to the ACE the diamond or triangle push-ups are the golden exercise for triceps development.
Wait a moment!
Are they better than dips? Why did you placed them second?
Diamond push-ups would be the best exercise if they had also outrun dips on parallel bars.
However, the researchers studied the triceps activation with dips which were performed using a low bench.
That way, the movement is much easier than if you tried to do dips on parallel bars.
Nevertheless, diamond push-ups are an amazing exercise that will definitely help your triceps grow.
Personally, I like doing supersets of diamond push-ups with a biceps exercise like hammer curls.
Check out this video to see how to properly do the diamond push-ups:
Diamond push-ups can be really difficult in the beginning. They are more stressful than traditional push-ups because they work your triceps more.
Important things to keep in mind when doing diamond push-ups:
1. Keep your body straight like when you are doing a plank. Don’t sag your back.
2. Keep your head aligned with your spine while you go down. Stiffen your abdominal muscles and lower yourself until your chest almost touches the floor.
3. If you are struggling to do the exercise in the beginning, you could try a modified version by placing your knees on the floor.
4. Don’t allow your hips to hike upwards during any part of the motion. You must be completely straight.
If you want to read more about the effectiveness of diamond push-ups check out this great article by Oskar Faarkrog from SkinnyFatTransformation: How to Build The Beach Muscles With Diamond Push-ups
3. Close Grip Bench Press
The close grip bench press is essential for triceps development and also works your chest.
Use a narrow, close grip, but be careful.
Don’t bring your hands too close to each other.
That’s because the closer you place your hands, the more is the pressure on your wrists. Your hands should be placed on shoulder width.
Check out this video to see how to properly do the close grip bench press:
Important things to keep in mind when doing the close grip bench press:
1. You can isolate the triceps more by putting your feet up in the air. Bent your knees and cross over the ankles. Then perform the exercise.
2. Don’t lock your elbows at the top, but stop slightly before full extension.
3. It’s extremely important to lower the weight in a controlled motion. If you just let the weight drop fast, the gravity is doing all the work for you. This way, you lose a half repetition.
4. You will be definitely lifting less than you could in normal grip bench press. That’s normal. You are not using your chest so much, but your triceps.
5. Uinge wrist wraps could be a great way to reduce the strain on your wrists.
4. The Skullcrushers
Don’t worry about the name, you won’t really crush your head. (If you are careful.)
But you will really crush your triceps.
There are so many ways to do the skull-crusher.
The most common ones are 1) by using an EZ-curl bar or 2) a straight barbell.
Skullcrushers are an isolated triceps movement.
Be careful, and don’t make it a compound.
Moving around your elbows will also activate your shoulders. That’s why you need to learn the proper form and keep the elbows still.
Check out this video to see how to properly do the skullcrushers:
Important things to keep in mind when doing skullcrushers:
1. It’s a good idea to use some barbell collars. This will save you from any unnecessary shift of the weight to any of the two sides which could damage your elbows and destroy your set.
2. Your elbows must be completely motionless. Don’t move them.
3. Select the weight carefully. You don’t want to slam a weighted barbell on your head. Start with low weight and progress with little jumps.
4. Proper form is essential. When you have the technique – you could also try some variations, like the reverse grip, with palms facing towards your head.
The skullcrushers have several variations.
If you want to check some of them you could read The Complete Guide to Skullcrushers.
5. Assisted Triceps Dips Using A Bench
Bench dips are a great alternative if you can’t do parallel bar dips.
According to the study by the American Council on Exercise that was mentioned above – it’s one of the three best triceps exercises.
You could even do it at home.
If you don’t have a bench you could use a chair or a desk. Just make sure it’s something stable.
It’s also very useful if you are not strong enough to do high rep dips on parallel bars.
Check out this video to see how to properly do the bench triceps dips:
Important things to keep in mind when doing bench dips:
1. Make sure that you choose two objects with similar height. Otherwise, you can do it with your feet touching the ground.
2. The exercise is easier if you keep your feet on the ground. On the other hand, you can make it more difficult by putting your feet on another object with a height similar to the height of your bench.
3. Try to keep your body close to the bench/chair that supports your hands. If you move your body away from your hands, you are putting stress on your shoulders.
Advanced Progress For Dips & Diamond Push-Ups:
There is a reason that these are the top two triceps exercises.
They are bodyweight movements, perfect to develop massive arms while also working your chest and shoulders.
They also offer a tremendous growth potential after you go more advanced and start adding external weight.
You could build your whole upper body with these two exercises (except your back).
A. Dips Progression
When you reach a point that you are able to do weighted dips with 100lbs your chest and arms will be literally huge.
There are three ways that you can make progress in one exercise and become stronger:
- By adding a little more weight to a certain set (or in all of them) => From 20 lbs to 22.5 lbs.
- By adding one more rep to a certain set (or in all of them) => From 3 sets of 6 reps to 3 sets of 8 reps.
- By lowering the rest between your sets => From 3 sets of 6 reps with 2 minutes rest in between to just 1 minute rest in between.
If you do any or some of these three you will be constantly becoming stronger.
Dips work pretty well with reverse pyramid training. Especially when you put them first in your workout routine.
In reverse pyramid, you start your first set with the heaviest weight. Then you lower the weight by 10% in the next 2-3 sets while increasing the reps.
“Note: when you reduce the weight you should do the calculation with your bodyweight included. For instance, if you do 6 reps of your bodyweight (180lbs) + 20 lbs – then the next set would be 8 reps of your bodyweight.”
For example, an 180 lbs man would do the following:
1st set of dips: bodyweight + 40lbs for 4-6 reps
2nd set of dips: bodyweight + 20lbs for 6-8 reps
3rd set of dips: bodyweight for 8-10 reps.
When you can handle the maximum amount of reps for each set (which is 6 or 8 or 10), you increase the weight in all sets by 5-10lbs (or less).
You can add external weight with a weighted vest.
B. Diamond Push-Ups Progression
You could follow the same approach like above by using a weighted vest.
Yet, you could also try something different and play with the intensity.
Weighted vests come only in certain sizes and it’s not convenient to have one of all sizes.
Also, you can’t go really high in extra weight.
In this case, you can play with the resting periods between your sets.
Start measuring your resting period between sets. Try to reach a point that you are able to do 10 full reps with 1.30 minute rest between sets.
Then lower the resting period by 15-30 seconds and try to do 10 reps in all your sets.
You might be doing the same reps with the same weight, but you rest for a shorter time period.
This helps your muscles grow and you become stronger.
PS: Which are your favorite triceps exercises?
Let me know in the comments and then SHARE this post with your friends on social media to help them develop big guns!
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