Triceps are an often overlooked body part. Everyone wants a big fan-shaped chest and bulging biceps while other muscles take a back seat. But if you want sleeve-busting arms, you certainly can’t ignore this muscle because it makes up about two-thirds of your arm.
Triceps are made up of three heads; lateral, medial, and long. These muscles are worked by extending the arm and/or anytime you perform a pressing movement. For this reason, triceps take on a lot of work when you perform exercises for chest and shoulders. And as with most compound lifts, such as bench press, many muscles are recruited in during the lift. The triceps are relied heavily (no pun intended) upon during bench presses. Some realize this and use it as an excuse not to train them as intense. But the truth is they need to be given the same focus and intensity as all other muscle groups.
Since the triceps are indeed being work on chest and shoulder day, when you train them you really need to focus on muscle contraction. Much of your arm mass may come from heavy bench presses and shoulder presses, but the details will come from peak contractions when trained individually. This entails performing reps with a full range of motion and squeezing the muscle at the extended part of the rep. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should go light; you need to overload the muscle for it to grow. Go heavy with the weights but don’t sacrifice form, otherwise you’re not going to get the results you’re looking for.
Some prefer to train triceps on their own or on a day dedicated to arms while some will train them coupled with another muscle group such as chest and tri’s (I’ve even done them after back and also after shoulders). You can try a variety of techniques, as it’s a good idea to make a few changes in your routine every several weeks anyway. Below are a couple of workouts for triceps that can either be done on their own, on arm day, or coupled with another muscle group.
Basic Triceps Routine:
Skull Crushers: 3 sets x 10
Dips: 3 sets x 10
Cable Pushdowns: 3 sets x 10
Massive Triceps Routine:
Close Grip Bench Press: 3 sets x 12, 10, 8
Overhead Dumbbell Extensions: 3 sets x 10
Dips: 3 sets x 12, 10, 8
Rope Extensions: 3 sets x 10