When most young trainers enter the gym, they have one muscle group on their mind – BICEPS! New and eager lifters will curl, curl, curl to their heart’s desire, while often neglecting any triceps work. This is counterproductive, of course, since the triceps make up the bulk of the upper arm mass. The biceps is a smaller two-headed muscle group. The triceps is a much larger 3-headed muscle group. Often, you will notice lifters with decent triceps and smaller biceps, completely dwarfing a larger bodybuilder with great biceps that doesn’t pay attention to triceps. Triceps are the BEEF of the upper arms, and need to be developed to their max in order for your physique to make the maximum possible impact.
Aside from the visual and aesthetic angle, the triceps should be fully developed for functional reasons as well. First off, you want to avoid injury. Weak triceps place the lifter in a very precarious situation in a lot of lifts. Bench pressing and shoulders presses suddenly place the rotator cuff at risk of great damage. Plus your lifting numbers will be sub-par, for those who care about how much weight they can bench press. Now that we’ve established the importance of fully developed triceps, let’s check out a few ways that you can improve your own triceps growth!
Stick with heavy basics
Cable work gives you a great pump, but moving the heavy iron – barbells and dumbbells – are what makes you actually grow. You can use the isolation triceps work at the conclusion of your workout. But you need to spend the first 10-12 sets of your workout using sets of 5-10 repetitions with movements such as triceps press, close-grip bench press, and triceps dips. These compound movements will recruit the maximum number of muscle fibers in your arms, facilitating the most possible gains in terms of pure brute size and strength!
Bump up your caloric intake
If you want to grow, you have to gain weight. It’s that simple. The general rule of thumb is that you’ll need to grow ten pounds on the scale for every new inch of mass you want to add to your upper arms. Are you up for that kind of challenge? You may need to kiss your ripped midsection goodbye for a few months, but adding 2-3 inches to your arm will be an easy price to pay for the transformation you’ll enjoy seeing! You’ll diet down fast and lose 1/3 of the weight in the form of fat, but the other 2/3 will end up being quite a bit of new muscle. Add 500-750 calories each day to your menu in the form of protein powder, beef, chicken, pasta and rice.
Train 4 days each week – MAX!
Many enthusiastic lifters tend to train more and more when they want bigger arms. Since we all know that we grow not when we lift – but when we rest/sleep – doesn’t it make sense that we should be training LESS in order to grow more? Use plenty of volume on your training day, taking up to 60 or even 75 minutes to target your triceps. But try to give yourself three rest days each week, completely away from the gym so that you can focus more upon sleeping, eating, healing and growing!
Combine Triceps & Shoulder days
Most lifters will place their triceps at the tail end of the chest workout, ensuring they arrive at the triceps press with a body that is already wrecked and exhausted. This is certainly not the best way to see great results in terms of building up the triceps. Others will place triceps with biceps – ensuring they hit one or the other with maximum intensity. If you’re looking for a way to only train 4 days a week, and hit the triceps apart from biceps (a related muscle group) or chest (upon which the triceps are dependent), try blasting your triceps on the same day as you hit shoulders! This will allow you to train them first if you’d like. You can combing Chest & Biceps into their own training day this way. Then you can give back and legs their own day, and have your entire training week done in 4 days, giving you plenty of time for rest & recovery.
Flex & Stretch
Following your workouts, your triceps will be tense, sore, and packed with toxins. The muscles cramp up from lactic acid buildup during your workouts, and all sorts of junk will clog your muscle fibers in the 48 hours after a workout. Minimize soreness and maximize your flexibility and recovery ability by fully stretching the triceps before you train. Then stretch them WHILE you train. Flex them between sets. Stretch them for a solid ten minutes following your training. And of course, over the next 2-3 days, you should be stretching the triceps a few times each day as you think of it. This will shorten your painful soreness period and have your triceps ready for more work before you know it!
Bump up the supps’
The muscles of your body will grow at the fastest possible rate, based upon the stimulus you give them (training) combined with the factors they use for recovery (food and rest time). We’ve covered all of these angles. Now let’s talk about a way that you can allow muscles to be trained – and recover – in the best possible environment inside your body. That’s right – this is where supplements come into play! The use of creatine, Mesobolin, or other useful supplements will help your body to train with greater intensity and recover faster. Greater water volumization or boosted testosterone levels would have you bouncing back from your workouts bigger and stronger. Use supplements if you want bigger triceps. Record your results to see which work best for you.
As you can see, building an amazing set of triceps requires a lot of time, patience, and hard work – along with dedication to rest and nutrition. If you think you’re up for the challenge and you’re ready to push your triceps to the max for both aesthetic and functional goals, then it’s time to get to the gym. Good luck!