The perfect triceps workout should consist of exercises for the lateral head, medial head and long head of the tricep muscle. That said, even that doesn’t make the triceps workout complete. In order to round out your arms with a well rounded workout you need to fill in the gaps of what is lacking on those popular triceps exercises and put science back in your training. That is what we do in this video.
If you look at the four main exercises that people do in their triceps workouts you will see dips, close grip bench presses, pushdowns and lying dumbbell extensions or skullcrushers. Take a close look into each of these classic movements and you will see one thing in common. That is, each of these exercises is adept at hitting some portion of the triceps through a specific part of their range of motion but none of them hits them completely.
This is a problem when it comes to developing a complete triceps. Just because you are going through a full range of motion on the exercises that you are doing it does not mean that you are taking a muscle through its full range of motion. For instance, only those triceps exercises that change the angle of the arm at the shoulder will have a secondary influence on the long head of the triceps given it’s attachment on the shoulder blade. The lateral and medial heads of the triceps originate on the humerus and cross the elbow joint only limiting their influence to elbow extension only.
That said, in order to fully work the triceps muscle in your workout you want to be sure that you are including exercises that hit the long head. But it goes even further than this. You can’t just hit it with exercises that place your arm over your head (to supposedly increase the stretch reflex on the triceps) but you also must take into consideration that you want to fully shorten the muscle by placing the arm back into extension behind your body as well.
This is in addition of course to wanting to make sure that you look into the science of strength curves when it comes to triceps training. Just as you could do with the banded dumbbell curl in our perfect biceps workout, you can do the same with triceps. Exploring exercises that overlap strength curves for the triceps will help you to construct a workout that is great at developing your tricep muscles maximally.
Finally, as is always the case when trying to build muscle, you will not want to forego the popular mass building triceps exercises but add to them, with drop sets and partials. Here is how to construct the perfect triceps workout with that in mind.
Close Grip Pin Press – 3 sets of 10,6,4 reps
Choose a weight that allows you to reach failure in each rep range
Weighted Dip Tri-Set – 3 sets to failure in each position
Immediately drop from weighted dips to bodyweight to assisted. No rest in between failures.
Tricep Pushaways into Drag Pushdowns – 3 sets with 12 RM on first exercise to failure
Immediately into the pushdowns without changing the weight.
Rocking Pushdowns – 2 sets to Failure using 12RM
Banded Lying Tricep Extensions – 2 sets to Failure using 15RM
When you put this together in the format as I’m suggesting here, you not only now hit the triceps through its full range of motion but you hit every area of the tricep muscle as well. The drop down allows for the lesser intense exercise to be more taxing since it was just preceded by a more difficult compound lift.
This is just one example of how to apply science to your tricep workouts. If you want to train like an athlete you want to put science back in every workout you do. You can do that with the ATHLEAN-X Training Programs available at or click the link below and get started right away on building a ripped, muscular, athletic body.
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