The back of the upper arm can be a source of pride or a source or frustration. If your Triceps workout is leaving your frustrated, get back to basics and give your upper arms a workout they won’t forget.
The Triceps begin with “tri” because the muscle has three heads. To work the Triceps sufficiently, you need to perform exercises that target each of the three heads. When the Triceps contract, your elbow extends, or another way to look at it is your arm straightens. Since you cannot complete another movement except for arm extension to target the Triceps, you change the hand position to challenge each individual head. That way, your Triceps are equally strengthened and you can see the definition and tone in the backs of your upper arms.
Face your palms toward each other for exercises such as kickbacks, overhead extensions, rope pull-downs and dips on parallel bars. For example, during an overhead dumbbell extension, grasp the dumbbell with your palm facing toward your head and your arm extended up. Slowly bend your elbow and lower the dumbbell behind your head toward your upper back. Then, straighten your arm and return to the starting position.
Position your palms facing up or forward for the next head of the Triceps. You can do this in exercises such as a Triceps pull-down with a straight bar or position your palms facing up, during a skull crusher with your palms facing up or begin a Triceps kickback with your palms facing up. For instance in the Triceps kickback, grasp a dumbbell with your palms facing forward and your arms at your sides. Raise your elbows behind you and lean forward slightly. Straighten your arms behind you to contract your Triceps and then slowly bend your elbows to return to the starting position.
The third hand position places your palms down. You do this when you perform bench dips, close grip bench presses and Triceps push-downs with a straight bar. For example during the pushdowns, attach a straight bar to the top pulley of a cable machine. Grasp the bar with both hands facing down and slightly closer than shoulder-width apart. Tuck your elbows into your sides and as you exhale straighten your arms and push down the bar. Slowly bend your elbows and return to the starting position.
Aim to complete one to three sets of eight to 12 repetitions of one exercise in each of the three hand positions. Rest for approximately one minute between sets. Perform the exercises two or three days a week with one day of rest in between sessions. Select a weight that causes muscular fatigue during the last two reps of each set. If you feel you can easily complete more than 12 reps, increase the weight to challenge the Triceps and quickly see results. Change the exercises every few weeks to keep your Triceps stimulated and responding.