Triceps Training: Overcoming Genetic Limitations – Part 2
To fully stretch the triceps you have to stick your arm behind your head. Once again this is because your long head attaches to the scapula. Then when you bend at the elbow you stretch the other 3 heads. Put a DB or a rope in your hands and you can maximally load the muscle in its completely stretched position. Since the arms are above the heart blood drains out of them and you guessed it, more NO is released in response to the starvation the muscle experiences.
This is a great position to finish with because gravity starves the muscle while you’re lifting, then you let the arms fill with blood in between the sets. I find this is better for warming up than the contracted position, since you stretch the muscle under force it helps wake it up and gives you better mind muscle connection and range of motion for your workout. I like to use Hany Rambod’s trick of holding my arms above my head in between sets to starve the muscle of blood. Then when I set my arms down they fill with blood fast!
This is a standard position where your arm is neither behind your head or back. Pretty much every tricep exercise has your arms in front of you. Ideally the load should be greatest when the arm is bent at 115 degrees or so. Triceps press downs and other pressing movements have the advantage of including the chest and shoulders to assist in the lift to allow you to handle more weight. Now your central nervous system can adjust to more weight.
The triceps will do more work when your hands are closer together on pressing movements. when using a barbell for triceps the closer your hands the less chest and shoulders and the more triceps. This is only to a point however, if the hands are to close your wrists hurt. Don’t stubbornly try to force it, go with a grip that works your triceps but doesn’t hurt your wrists. Suicide grip is more triceps, true grip with the thumbs wrapped around the bar seems to activate the lateral head better.
Intention is a trick I learned from watching Ben Pakulski videos on Youtube. Kai Greene uses a similar technique in his “Train With Kai” video series. In order to activate the triceps better press out on the barbell with about 5% of your force, this activates the triceps over the chest, pressing in activates the chest. When your failing, instead of pressing out, convert to pressing in. This allows the chest to help your failing triceps for a few more reps.
For some advanced tricep training techniques, check out our downloadable training guides here!