For years bros were a generation of men that loved nothing more than bench and curls. Don’t get me wrong that still definitely goes on, but more and more guys are realizing that if you want to have big arms, you’ve got to work more than just the bicep.
In terms of muscle mass, triceps take up around two thirds of the arm. So why wouldn’t you put as much emphasis on training that as you would your bicep. There is so much to gain from racking up some serious tricep size.
But what are the best exercises to get big triceps fast?
It’s a good question, there are insane amount ways to train your triceps but not a lot on which is the most effective way to do so.
Here in this short guide, I’ll be running through the top 5 ways to train your tricep – what you should be doing, and how it should be feeling. There is no better rule of thumb of knowing if you’re engaging a muscle enough by how it feels.
If you’re floundering about with your form and putting most of the pressure on your joints, not only will you be risking an injury – you’ll also be holding back those all important gains.
Not only will packing a bigger tricep make your arm look fuller and thicker, it’ll also help tremendously towards most compound lifts that involved your chest, particularly your bench press.
Now if you’re all warmed up, we’ll begin.
1. Triceps Pushdowns
An oldie, but a goodie. This is really the king of the crop when it comes to training triceps. The Tri Pushdown is great for building back arm muscle, but there’s just one problem.
Most people don’t do them properly.
Be it range of motion, to leaning over the grip or simply just not pinning there elbows back. There is a long list of mistakes that can be made when someone isn’t taking a session seriously.
Tricep pushdowns are performed from a high pulley. You should be able to find it in pretty much any gym.
There are multiple ways you can do this lift, but we’ve found the most effective way is with a V-Shaped Press down Bar Cable (the thing on the right):
- Set the bar at the top of the pulley
- Grab the bar with the bottom of your palms resting on the end of the handles
- Pin your elbows to your side and pin back your shoulders, with feet shoulder width apart
- Extend your arms towards the ground, squeezing your triceps all the way down
- You should feel a tightness in the back of your arm during the peak of the lift
- Release pressure and let the bar rise to chest level
If you’re looking for size and one hell of a pump we recommend using this exercise for 5 sets of 15 reps. If you’re using a moderately heavy weight and you stick to the form you’ll definitely be feeling the pinch in the morning.
2. Reverse Grip Triceps Pushdowns
I know, it sounds a lot like the last exercise, but trust me this is exactly what you need if you want to achieve that horseshoe effect in your triceps.
You need to start by setting yourself up in a similar position to the first exercise with the bar at the top of the pulley – but instead of a V shaped bar, we’re going to use a straight one, and you want to grab it with your palms facing upwards, like you’re curling it – but repeat the same motions as the last exercise.
If done right you should really feel the peak of your triceps burning with the lift.
Again, to get the most out of these you want to go for a solid 5 sets of 15 reps.
3. Bent-Over Cable Kickbacks
These are a more unconventional style of lift, but they’re really good for putting a lot of pressure on your triceps and adding to the overall sculpture of the muscle.
All you need for this exercise is a low set cable pulley with no equipment added onto the end.
- Start by setting the cable as low as it can go on the pully
- Detach all equipement
- Bend hips and knees so your back is straight and parallel to the floor
- Grasp the cable in one hand
- Pin elbow to the side
- Extend arm without moving your elbow
- Repeat for reps
- Change arms
This is really good for getting for a really deep burn in the triceps, and is a really great exercise if your cable machine only has a limited amount of weight.
As we’re looking for size here, with this exercise anywhere between 10 – 15 reps for a set of 5 should get you on the right path.
Although a body weight exercise, this lift is very effective at isolating the triceps. And the beauty of this exercise? You don’t even need machinery to get the gains.
All you need to know is the basic planking position.
- Start off in the planking position balancing on your toes and forearms with a straight back
- Press your palms into the floor and extend your arms, keep your back straight
- Raise your body off the ground and hold for a second
- Lower your forearms and return to the original position
As everyone’s different and this is an exercise relative to body weight you should be looking to get out as many as you can with 5 sets of 15 reps at the front of your mind.
If you feel like you can do more, go for it.
5. Tricep Dips
This is a classic tricep exercise that can be performed with or without a weighted belt (depending on your level of strength). This is more of a compound exercise as the chest and shoulder muscles are involved in the process, but it primarily benefits the triceps.
For these types of dips you’re best off with a set of parallel bars, or a dipping machine depending on what your gym has available.
- Grab both bars and extend your arms to a near lock-out, holding yourself off the ground
- Tuck in your legs and lower yourself down towards the bars until your upper arms are parallel to the floor
- Pause for a second at the bottom of the lift then extend back up to the original position
- Repeat for given number of reps
Again as we’re looking to gain mass and shape here. You can’t go wrong with the 5 x 15 method. You really want to feel that burn and all over pump, it’ll add some serious size to your guns.
And there you have it. The top 5 exercises for gaining tricep mass fast. If we had to pick a favorite it’s got to be number 2, the reverse grip pushdowns. We saw a massive improvement in our progress after adding that our routine. It works the tricep in a way most other exercises can’t.
If you want big arms, these are the exercises to try. See if you can work them in twice a week to your routine, if you’re diets on point and you’re working those muscles into the ground – you’ll definitely see a difference much sooner than you think.