When you are asked to “show off your muscles” most people are looking for you to flex your biceps, however most of your arm mass is due to the size of your triceps.
With this thought fresh in your mind you may be wondering how best to build those triceps? Well, for a start you should avoid doing the following.
#1: You don’t perform isolation exercises
Of course compound exercises are a great way to build muscle across your entire body, but if you are looking to build a particular muscle then you need to do a few isolation exercises too.
My suggestion to you would be the following:
- Close-grip bench presses
While these are basic exercises, as you are also using your chest and delts you can add plenty of weight so that you can push your triceps to the max.
#2: You don’t include overhead lifts
The long head of your tricep is what gives it the bulk of its mass. Focussing on overhead lifts will activate this part of the muscle.
#3: You use the same weight as your biceps
If you want big arms it can be tempting to work your biceps harder than your triceps, however as stated already this is a mistake.
Not only is the tricep a bigger muscle, but a more complex one too. For example the bicep has 2 heads compared to the tricep that has 3 heads.
Not only should you lift heavier when building triceps, but the volume (sets and reps) should also increase.
To see those gains you need to push the muscle to exhaustion.
#4: You flare your elbows
Do you flare your elbows when performing pushdowns or extensions? If so you are not making the most of those exercises.
The reason for this is that when you flare your elbows you will be making your shoulders and chest do the work.
Keep your elbows tight and you will engage the tricep more during these movements.
#5: You are not locking out
If you do not lock out when performing your isolated tricep exercises (pushdown, press and extensions) then you will not be fully engaging your tricep.
This will mean that you are not seeing the full benefit of these exercises, as it is this last 1/3 of the lift that engages the muscle fibres the most.
When performing these movements it is important to contract the tricep fully, or to put it another way “squeeze to lockout”.
Hopefully by avoiding these mistakes you can see bigger gains to your triceps, giving you those arms to be proud of. Don't forget that adequate nutrition is incredibly important too.