Big arms are a prerequisite for bodybuilders. They are often the most exposed muscle group in street clothes, and identify you as an iron warrior. Yet when it comes to building big arms, most bodybuilders focus on the biceps. Sure, big, peaking bi's are impressive when hitting a biceps pose, but they won't bump up your overall arm size like titanic triceps will, especially when your arms are in their natural, relaxed state. Since the tri's comprise the majority of the muscle mass on your upper arms, slapping mass on them is essential to stretching that tape measure an extra inch or two. Try these partial-rep moves for blowing up your guns.
While isolation movements are a great way to build quality muscle on any bodypart, basic, multijoint exercises are the best way to pack on overall size and build strength. Two multijoint moves in which the triceps play a key role are the bench press and the shoulder press. For both, the tri's kick in big time during the last half of the range of motion. Because you can load the bar with big iron, doing these exercises in just the top half of the movement is a great way to attack your triceps, forcing them to grow bigger and stronger. The strength carryover will get you some big numbers on the bench press and shoulder press, too.
Close-Grip Half Bench Press
Set up a flat bench in the middle of a power rack or Smith machine. Lie faceup on the bench to gauge your full range of motion. Place the safety pins at the halfway point between your chest and where the bar would be at full extension over your chest. To perform the exercise: Grasp the bar with an overhand grip 6-12 inches apart. Unrack the bar and hold it at full extension over your chest. Slowly lower the bar, keeping your elbows close to your sides, until it just touches the safety pins. Immediately press the bar up to full extension.
Overhead Half Press
Stand (or sit on a flat bench or low-back bench) in a power rack or Smith machine and set the safety pins just above your head. Grasp the bar with an overhand, shoulder-width grip. Unrack the bar and hold it at full extension overhead. Slowly lower the bar, keeping your elbows pointing as far forward as possible, until it just makes contact with the safety pins. Immediately press the bar overhead and contract your triceps.
Incorporate half presses into your triceps routine with these sample workouts designed to forge huge horseshoes.
|Close-Grip Bench Press (full ROM* warm-up)||3||6-10|
|One-Arm Overhead Triceps Extension||3||10-15|
|Close-Grip Half Bench Press||2||15|
|Overhead Triceps Extension (warm-up)||2||15|
|Overhead Half Press||3||6-10|
|Lying Triceps Extension||3||8-10|
Allow at least five days of rest between triceps workouts.
*Range of motion