You’ve managed to smash your biceps and tone your shoulders, but the backs of your arms still look flabby. Defining your triceps can be a tricky task, which is why we’ve come up with our top 10 exercises to firm up those suckers so you don’t end up with soft, flabby arms like a girlie-man. Fact of the matter is, the triceps make up the largest muscle group on your arms and it only makes sense that working on them will make your guns look bigger.
Each of these triceps exercises should be done in sets of 3 to 4 with reps in the ranges of 6 to 10 (for strength and size gains) and 12 to 15 (for strength and definition).
Sit on the edge of a solid chair and hold the front edge of the seat on both sides of your body. Your knuckles should be facing forward, not turned to the sides. You can either plant your feet firmly on the floor or place the backs of your ankles on a bench in front of you so that your buttocks is suspended in the air.
Push yourself off the seat and lower your buttocks below it until your arms form a 90-degree angle. Then, push yourself back up to the starting position, but make sure not to lock your elbows. Repeat until you can’t do any more. Then do two more sets of the same.
Lying Tricep Extensions
Lying with your back on a bench and holding a barbell above your chest at arm’s length, keep your upper arms rigid and lower the bar slowly until it is almost touching your forehead. Raise the bar back to the starting position. Repeat.
Standing straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent, grasp a bar attached to a high pulley with your palms facing down. Keeping your upper arms rigid against the sides of your torso, bend your elbows and push the bar down until your forearms are parallel to the floor. This is your starting position.
Then, push the bar down until your arms are fully extended, without locking your elbows. Slowly let your forearms return to the starting position, parallel to the floor. Repeat.
Overhead Cable Extensions
Stand with your back to a high pulley with a rope attached to it. Grasp one end of the rope with each hand, keeping your hands above your head and your elbows bent. Bend forward at the waist until your torso is almost parallel to the floor. Extend your forearms slowly until they are also parallel to the floor, without locking your elbows. Keeping your upper arms rigid, slowly bring your hands back above your head. Repeat.
Single Arm Pullover
Lying with your back on a bench and with your feet on the floor (or together on the end of the bench), hold a dumbbell in one hand and point the elbow of this same arm toward the ceiling. With your other hand, grasp the inside of your elbow on the weighted arm to stabilize the motion. Extend your arm until it is pointing straight up, then lower it back down near your face. Repeat.
Overhead Dumbbell Extension
Standing straight with your feet shoulder-width apart, hold a dumbbell and rest it on your shoulder, pointing your elbow toward the ceiling. Grasp the weight and lower it onto your back underneath your head, as if you were trying to scratch your back. This is your starting position.
Keeping your upper arm rigid and perpendicular to the floor, and your elbow pointing to the ceiling, lift the weight until your whole arm is pointing almost straight up, without locking your elbow. Then, lower the weight to the starting position. Repeat.
Close Grip Bench Press
Place your hands just a little closer together than shoulder-width on a barbell. As with a regular bench press, lower the bar to your chest, but keep your elbows stuck to your body, which will work your triceps instead of your chest (though your chest will get some action as well). Push the bar back up until your arms are fully extended, squeezing your chest and triceps. Repeat.
Place your right hand and your right knee on a bench for support. Hold a dumbbell with your left hand, place your left upper arm parallel to the floor, and then bend your elbow so that your arm forms a 90-degree angle. Keeping your upper arm stable, slowly extend your forearm back until your entire arm is parallel with the floor. Return to the starting position. Repeat with both arms, using your left hand and knee for support when working the right arm.
As with regular push-ups, place your hands flat on the floor, but position them closer than shoulder-width apart, which will work your triceps. Make sure to maintain proper push-up form throughout this exercise: Keep your whole body straight like a plank, don’t arch your back, and keep your head and neck in a straight line so that you are looking down at the floor. Slowly lower your body to the floor until it is almost touching it, then push back up until your arms are fully extended. Repeat.
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