Science Based Tricep Training
Whether you’re wanting huge arms or wanting to tone them, here’s a guide on how to do it:
Highest Muscle Activation: The rope tricep pushdown has been shown to elicit the highest triceps EMG activity (Boeck-Behrens & Buskies, 2000.)
Best compound movement: The close grip flat bench press with the hands at shoulder width exhibited the highest activation of all bench press variations (Barnett et al, 1995) which makes it a great movement to start off with since it can be overloaded easily.
Range of motion: Your triceps thrive off a good stretch and respond very well to a full range of motion. Making sure to get a good stretch and finish with arms fully extended will maximize tricep activation.
Accessory Exercises: Hitting your biceps from different angles is very important for overall development. These are some great accessory movements: 🔹EZ-bar triceps extension 🔹Bench dips with arms behind back 🔹Single arm cable push down with arm behind back 🔹Incline DB kickbacks 🔹1 arm DB or cable overhead extension
Frequency: Volume expert, Mike Israetel states the triceps specifically can be worked 2-4 days per week with a weekly volume of 10-14 sets. Most sets should be between 8-20 reps.
Tips and tricks: Getting a better squeeze in the triceps can be accomplished through pronation in exercises. For example, with the rope tricep push down, turning your thumbs toward the ground as you extend your arms helps to fully contract the triceps. However, this is best for push downs and variations of them and its needed for every tricep exercise. Slow eccentrics always help with breaking down the muscle which is critical for muscle growth. Eccentric-focused reps are a great addition for any hypertrophy-focused plan.
Sample Tricep-Focused Push Workout:
1️⃣Close grip bench press: 4x6
2️⃣Incline DB bench press: 4x8
3️⃣EZ-bar overhead tricep extension: 3x10
4️⃣Rope tricep pushdowns: 3x12
5️⃣Bench dips w/arms behind back: 3x to failure