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Best Lifts and Exercises to Get Bulging Triceps

Updated on December 19, 2014
Building stronger triceps will help you add more muscle mass to other parts of your upper body.
Building stronger triceps will help you add more muscle mass to other parts of your upper body. | Source

Don't Forget About Them

Triceps are often neglected in training due to their inferior appearance to the biceps. Everyone seems to be amazed by solid biceps, but nobody seems to care at all about triceps with twice as much development. Ironically, those who focus on biceps more than they should often have smaller arms due to the triceps composing 2/3 of the area.

Triceps are utilized in every pressing movement for the upper body. Benching, shoulder pressing, dips; they all heavily involve the triceps and rely on their strength to complete the range of motion. Therefore, adequately training your triceps will allow further chest and shoulder development.

While they may not be as visually appealing as biceps are, triceps are extremely important in acquiring a powerful, aesthetic physique. The exercises listed below are sure to build powerful triceps, and by extension, a remarkable upper body.

When performing this exercise, it is important that the elbows stay pointed forward in order to avoid injuring the tendons as well as better isolate the triceps.
When performing this exercise, it is important that the elbows stay pointed forward in order to avoid injuring the tendons as well as better isolate the triceps.

Barbell Tricep Extensions

Barbell tricep extensions are one of the most effective exercises for developing the lower part of your arms, so long as careful attention is paid to form. Because this exercise utilizes a barbell, a substantial amount of weight can be added in order to overload the triceps. As the weight is extended over head, the arms should be locked out completely to get an extra squeeze in the muscle. When lowering the weight, however, it is important not to descend below a 90-degree angle in order to prevent injury from occurring.

This exercise can be performed in two different variants: standing, or sitting. Both have their advantages, with the seated tricep extension providing back support and more stabilization. In contrast, the standing variation of this movement forces one to balance themselves using the core muscles, consisting of their lower back and abs. As such, the standing area will slightly increase the development of these two areas, thus increasing core strength.

Since core strength is extremely important in both preventing injury and successfully executing various exercises (squats, deadlifts, military press), the standing variant is usually preferred. The exercise is also able to be performed while lying flat on a bench, but it offers no significant advantage over the other two methods of performing tricep extensions.

When doing rope extensions, make sure you stand up straight and keep your form as tight as possible. Bend only your elbows while moving the weight to ensure your triceps are worked to their fullest capacity.
When doing rope extensions, make sure you stand up straight and keep your form as tight as possible. Bend only your elbows while moving the weight to ensure your triceps are worked to their fullest capacity. | Source

Cable Rope Extensions

While it is true that free weights are usually ideal for building muscle, cables should not be neglected. Unlike machines, cables allow movement that is not restricted to a fixed plane. This allows more tension to be placed on the muscle than a weight machine moving in only two directions could.

A common mistake in form is to lean forward and look down while performing this exercise. This should be prevented, as the chest muscles are being activated the further you lean, thus taking force off of the triceps. With the torso completely vertical and eyes looking forward, the elbows should bend to move the weight in a slow and controlled motion. At the bottom of the movement, fully extend the arms similar to how one would lock out at the top of a tricep extension with a barbell. This completes the range of motion, allowing the largest benefit from the exercise to be attained.

The exercise can be performed pushing the rope downward, or by facing away from the cables and extending the rope overhead. Both accomplish the same purpose, and it's basically up to preference which one to perform. Regardless, switching between on form to the other every now and then could provide a fresh change and promote new growth.

It is important to minimize the degree in which you lean forward to avoid working the chest. At the bottom of the movement, you should lean no further than I am in the photo above.
It is important to minimize the degree in which you lean forward to avoid working the chest. At the bottom of the movement, you should lean no further than I am in the photo above. | Source

Weighted Dips

Weighted dips are like squats for your triceps. They require precise form, balance, and can utilize extremely heavy weight compared to other exercises for the muscle group. While body weight dips can promote some development, one will reach a point where beating last week's record means getting fifty consecutive dips in a row. Adding weight provides a form of overload the triceps are unlikely to experience through any other exercise other than bench pressing.

What makes dips better for your triceps than bench pressing, however, is the obvious focus on the arm to move the weight rather than the chest. A very favorable aspect of this movement is that it mimics the same pressing motion utilized in all other push exercises. This directly translates to increased pressing strength, meaning that increasing your numbers on weighted dips is very likely to increase your bench as well. In addition to bench, shoulder presses will also become easier, allowing for virtually your entire upper body to be both directly and indirectly developed from weighted dips.

As shown in the picture, a 90-degree angle should never be exceeded. Doing so places a vast amount of stress on your rotator cuff, greatly increasing the chance for an injury to occur. With tight form and a heavy amount of weight, your triceps will be forced to grow.

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    • jabelufiroz profile image

      Firoz 3 years ago from India

      Useful tips on bodybuilding. Voted up.

    • Jake Stone profile image
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      Jake Stone 3 years ago from Florida

      Thanks a lot. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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