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Not all triceps exercises are created equal. In this video, I’m going to show you the best triceps supersets and why I chose the exercises that I did. It starts with a quick anatomy lesson of the triceps muscle.
The triceps consists of three heads, the long, lateral and medial heads. The lateral and medial heads of the muscle originate on the upper arm bone and cross the elbow to insert on the ulna. Their only function is to extend and straighten out the elbow joint. The long head on the other hand crosses the shoulder joint and attaches to the scapula. This means that the position of the arm and shoulder can greatly influence the contraction of that head.
When it comes to planning out the best triceps supersets it is very helpful to know this information. Since getting the long head of the triceps into it’s fully contracted state and fully stretched state require such a polar opposite positioning of the arm, it is tough to hit them both in the same exercise. That said, the provides us with the perfect opportunity to pair them up together in a superset fashion with different exercises back to back to accomplish this.
On the other hand, putting together two moves like the close grip bench press and diamond pushups would be more of a redundancy. These are both hitting the medial and lateral heads of the triceps in much the same way by targeting the midrange of the muscle. For this reason, these make for a better drop set than a superset. In fact, with the load being able to be dropped considerably from the first exercise to the next this serves as a great mechanical drop set rather than a superset.
So back to the exercises that make for the best tricep supersets, we want to ideally include those that hit the triceps in each it’s fully contracted and fully stretched state. The first of these is the Incline Lying DB Extension into Incline DB Kickbacks. The stretch on the long head is accentuated by the fact that we can get our arms up over our heads and the elbows back. On the kickback, you can get the arms into extension and squeeze the elbows to full lockout for that extra tight contraction.
Next, we can use a cable machine to do the overhead triceps pushaways (making sure to stretch your elbows back over your head a little more on every rep) and immediately proceed to the rocking tricep pushdowns. This variation of the move not only puts the long head into a fully contracted state but it also helps to keep peak tension on the muscle throughout the range of motion.
Finally, a bodyweight option to accomplish the same thing would be the bodyweight triceps extension using a bench immediately into a bench dip. Be sure to pay attention to the key points on shoulder positioning here that I make in the video to keep those shoulders healthy in the process of doing this one.
I threw a bonus superset for triceps in here as well that has the unique benefit of getting the long head into both its contracted and stretched position in the same exercise. You will definitely want to try that. Also, don’t forget to continue to include those big exercises like the close grip bench and dips for building the mass of the triceps in straight sets to compliment these supersets.
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