Bodybuilding is a sport very much about growth, both physically and spiritually as well. In fact, it isn’t so much a sport at all, but rather a lifestyle and way of living that must be followed at all times if you wish to become successful at it. There are people out there who call themselves bodybuilders, despite the fact that their physiques have barely changed in years, their diets suck, and they spend most of their free time out at the bars, partying and getting wasted. If you enjoy that lifestyle then that’s perfectly fine, but if you wish to call yourself a bodybuilder, that way of living will have to be placed on the backburner as your training and nutrition should always take precedence. Just because you lift weights in the gym, and are perhaps bigger than the average Joe, that does not make you a bodybuilder. A bodybuilder is always looking for ways of taking their physique to the next level, and they certainly aren’t happy to settle with mediocrity. They don’t want a good looking physique, they want an amazing looking physique, which is why they’re constantly trying new ways of bringing up lagging body parts and stimulating new growth. The triceps for example are often overlooked in favour of the biceps, yet it is the triceps muscle which is responsible for giving mass and definition to your arms. If your triceps leave a lot to be desired, take a look at these handy tips for growing them like never before.
1) Always warm up before training
The next time you’re at the gym, keep an eye out for people just walking in and see what they do next. 9 times out of 10, rather than warming up and stretching, they’re head right over to their chosen piece of equipment, and will jump right into their workouts. When it comes to weight and resistance training, two of the most commonly injured parts of the human body are: the elbow joints, and the triceps, and as they’re both connected, you will need to ensure you warm them up effectively before you begin training. Try some basic stretches to work the entire upper arm, get the blood pumping with some basic exercises such as push ups, and then, before you begin your training, always start with 2 or 3 warm up sets. Triceps pushdowns using a light weight for example, are ideal, because you can lock your elbows in place, without placing a great deal of strain and pressure upon them.
2) Always execute perfect form
Some exercises, barbell curls for example, you can get away with using slightly poorer form, and cheating slightly, but when it comes to the triceps, you simply must execute perfect form for every single rep, and that is not up for debate or discussion. If you cheat during a triceps exercise, not only will you not benefit as other body parts and muscle groups will be bearing the brunt of the exercise for the triceps, you also put yourself at a much greater risk of suffering an injury. The elbows for example, are basic hinges, and can therefore only bend in a direct line, and in one direction. Naturally then, the key to perfect form when working your triceps, is to keep your elbows close to the side of your body, and as still as they can possibly be. The only part of your arm in fact, that should be moving, should be your forearm.
3) Squeeze during the contraction
One of the most common triceps exercises is the rope pushdown, and whilst this is indeed a fantastic exercise for hitting the different heads of the muscle, the problem that many people tend to make, is to fire out one rep after another, without fully locking out and squeezing during the contraction part of the exercise. Locking out your arm when working your triceps is actually the most crucial part of the exercise, because the muscle can only fully contract when the arm is entirely extended. For this reason, you should ensure that you hold for a second during each rep, when the arm is fully contracted, and that you focus on squeezing the muscle during the contraction. After this, slowly return the weight back up during the negative part of the lift, and repeat again and again. Your triceps should feel pumped, and should even burn slightly after you finish each set, which is a good sign because it shows that it is actually working.
4) Work the different heads of the muscle
Your triceps actually have three different heads on the muscle, hence the name TRI-ceps. For that reason, in order to really work them and bring the entire muscle up to par with the rest of your body, you will need to ensure that you perform different exercises and movements aimed specifically at targeting specific parts of the muscle. To work the outer head for example, relatively heavy bar pushdowns are perfect. For the inner head of the muscle, triceps rope pushdowns are recommended, and to work the middle part of the exercise, EZ bar skullcrushers are ideal. A lot of people perform the same triceps exercises every single week, which means that only certain parts of the muscles are being worked. Instead, try focusing on a variety of different exercises by mixing your triceps training up slightly.
5) Work to failure
While training to failure in general, is considered beneficial in regards to bodybuilding, training to failure when working your triceps is considered by many pros, to be the key to optimal triceps growth. You should select a weight that feels heavy enough so that by the time you reach around 10 – 12 reps, your triceps begin to feel wiped out and tired. Keep pushing and literally work them until you cannot physically perform another single rep for that set. In order to grow, you really need to tax the muscles and put them under pressure, so if you perform 10 – 12 reps yet could have easily kept going, the next time around, either perform more reps, or choose a slightly heavier weight.