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[ Top 100 training tips ] -[ Programs] -[ Coach Ron explains ]



1. Warm up triceps thoroughly before training hard.
Abruptly starting a routine can lead to tendonitis. What starts as a mild elbow pain can become a debilitating injury. Start slowly; ease your way into heavier motions with a transition movement like simple cable triceps press-downs. At the beginning of the workout, this helps loosen the arms and get some blood flowing to the area. You're not looking for a burn or bump yet. On the cable triceps press-down, I prefer the straight bar; but as a warm-up, I prefer a bent bar- it's more forgiving. You only need two warm-up sets, 15-25 reps, with sub-maximal weight.

2. Stay with basics.
Basic triceps motions are lying triceps extensions with the easy-curl bar, barbell skull-crushers and straight-bar cable triceps press-downs. Dips, close-grip bench, and seated triceps extensions are considered by many to be basic, but I haven't seen as good results with those as core movements. Instead, add them to, or substitute them for, the basics- for variation without sacrificing results.

3. Train the angles.
Note wrist position; slight variations change the training angle dramatically and promote stimulation. Unlike biceps training, where small wrist adjustments disengage isolated active contraction, variations in wrist position while training triceps spur growth and add muscularity. Choose movements that challenge your triceps with a variety of wrist positions. Try a sequence combination of lying triceps extensions with the easy-curl bar, followed by straight-bar cable triceps press-downs, finishing with dumbbell triceps kick-backs. Or, do barbell skull-crushers, followed by seated single dumbbell triceps extensions behind the head, ending with alternating one-arm handle cable triceps press-downs. Or, try straight-bar cable triceps press downs, followed by dips, then one-arm alternating overhead dumbbell French curls.

4. Never slam your elbows into the locked position.
Poor form can easily lead to injury. Be explosive and press briskly to the top of a repetition, but only to a 95 percent lockout. You don't need to lock your elbows completely to achieve maximum elbow joint extension actually results in a slight relaxation of the triceps muscles and even a "laxity" in the joint.

5. Don't overdo press-downs.
While press-downs are a great core motion and basic to a good triceps routine, they're often overdone- at the expense of other important movements! They primarily hit the outside head of the triceps. This is great for stimulating development, but the outer head is the easiest part of the triceps to the triceps to develop. So, beyond stimulating this region, triceps press-downs add little bulk and firmness. While working hard on the press-down portion of your routine, put more time and energy into motions that develop the other heads (by the arm to extend from overhead of from behind the neck).

6. Get a full range of motion and go deep.
True stimulation only comes from training a muscle through its full range of motion. Although some people think they 're been "careful" by not executing a full range of motion, partial reps are a set-up for injury. Tendons and ligaments experience positive stimulation when stretched through a full range of motion. This improves their strength by increasing their passive tone or "tissue turgor". Unlike muscles, these structures can't contract, but still have a strength that correlates with resting tone.

7. French curls may be the best finishers.
The French curl is the single best finishing movement for the triceps. Done correctly, it slaps on piles of mass. The French curl involves using one arm at a time in isolation to lower a dumbbell behind your head and bring it to the overhead, extended position. It's simple, but profoundly effective. Stay in form and don't push the weight up too fast; otherwise you'll lose the feel. It's best used after you've done your hoisting big weight. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't work hard at it.

8. Keep your descent slow and controlled.
As with any motion, slow and controlled descend is paramount to engaging and triggering deep muscle fiber while remaining injury-free.

9. Stay away from gimmicks and tricky movements.
Things like cambered bars with adjustable circular rotating grips, pressing straps, cable ropes and over-sized elastic tension bands never built great triceps. Though interesting for variation, or perhaps as a rare finishing motion, these movements are more for rehabilitation or sports-specific training. No matter how hard you train using these techniques, by themselves they won't give impressive results.

10. Squeeze and flex triceps muscles as hard possible between sets.
This will add granite hardness to the back of the arms. Unless you want big, ham-like triceps with no density or shape, spend time contracting these muscles between sets. Try squeezing your triceps between sets for a continuous ten seconds, each second progressively increasing the intensity, and finally relaxing at the end.