“TRI” This to Get Tight, Toned Triceps!

“TRI” This to Get Tight, Toned Triceps!

When my personal training clients talk about wanting bigger arms, they’re usually referring to building biceps.  However, there is more to developing those guns than just training biceps. What many athletes don’t realize is that without fully developed triceps, you will never build bigger arms no matter how much time you spend in the gym. A greater number of muscles make up the tricep than the bicep. Once you understand that strong triceps are imperative to building bigger arms, you need to make sure to use proper technique and form while training them.  Steer clear from these tricep training mistakes!

Too Narrow of a Grip on Close-Grip Bench Press: This multi-joint exercise might be part of your triceps routine, but did you ever give thought to the optimal grip width? I’ve seen a number of athletes close the gap between their hands and place them against each other as if this would optimize muscle recruitment. While triceps activation increases once you move your hands in from a regular bench press, no research indicates that the activation increases further, as your hands close the gap. What can increase, however, is the strain on your wrists and elbows. Too much pressure on your shoulders reduces the activation of your triceps, which then becomes counterproductive. Solution: Try a grip from 10-14 inches apart, or just inside shoulder width. From there, experiment slightly with hand positions to determine what feels right for you.

Letting Your Elbows Drift During Kick-Backs: This is a common error even among experienced athletes. From the arm-extended position with your elbow by your side, you allow your elbow to drop along with the forearm as you lower the weight. As you kick your hand backward, you simultaneously raise your elbow back up. This little movement turns a classic single-joint move emphasizing the lateral triceps head into one that also recruits the delts. Solution: Lock elbows by your side so that your upper arm is parallel with the floor—and keep it there. With the dumbbell hanging at 90 degrees and your elbow serving as a hinge, contract your triceps to fully straighten your arm. As you lower the weight, don’t allow your elbow to drop.

Flaring Elbows During Overhead Extensions: Single-joint exercises for the triceps all have one thing in common: elbow extension. The elbows go from a highly bent position where you are feeling the triceps stretch, to fully straightened, where the triceps are contracted. Simple enough, right? However, if your elbows are stationary in a flared-out position, you can and will lose muscle isolation and limit the effectiveness of the exercise. Flaring of your elbows allows your delts and pecs to assist in each rep, reducing focus on the triceps. Keep those elbows tucked. Solution: Using an EZ-bar and taking a slightly wider grip often makes this challenge somewhat more manageable, but you’ll still want to be conscious and wary of elbow flare.

Letting Your Elbows Move Forward During Push-Downs: Several athletes get this staple triceps move wrong by not paying as much attention to the eccentric as the concentric. I’m not referring to keeping the negative under control in speed, either. As you approach the end of the range of motion, you can still allow the weight to keep pulling your hands forward and up, pulling your elbows away from their place by your sides. Once again, you will see movement in the shoulder joint, turning a single-joint movement into a multi-joint movement. All that extra work you have to do on each rep to reposition your elbows back by your sides for each rep is a wasted energy. Keep those shoulders out of the equation. Solution: If you find it impossible to keep from doing this, you’re going too heavy on, of all things, push-downs. Instead, keep the movement strict by maintaining your elbow position for the entire set, reversing the motion on the eccentric phase before your elbows begin to pull forward. Recap: Pay close attention to where your arms are, especially the elbow in relation to the body. Focus on contracting just the triceps. Do these exercises close to a mirror to watch movement and form. Don’t be afraid to start with a lighter weight to get the form down. For more information on building leaner, more muscular arms, weight loss, health and fitness, or a nutrition plan designed specifically for you, or if you’re looking to hire a personal trainer, look no further contact us today and watch your physique transform!



Training Innovations
2420 Midtown Pl NE
Albuquerque, NM 87107
(505) 261-1253