The PERFECT Triceps Workout (Sets and Reps Included)

What's up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, ATHLEANX.


We’re continuing our perfect workout series.

Today we’re hitting the triceps.

With a little help from Jesse and the musclemarkers, we’ve got a nice drawing on the triceps here, so I don’t have to try anddo this.

The fact is, guys, it always starts with anatomyhere.

It always starts with science because that’show you make smarter decisions in your training.

So, let’s take a look at the anatomy, courtesyof the muscle markers, to see what’s going on.

You’ll see here, the tricep is a three-headedmuscle.

It’s made up of the lateral head, the medialhead in green here, and the longhead around the back.

We’ve talked about the importance of thelonghead all the time.

Save your jokes, I know.

The longhead is important.

I get it.

The fact is, when it comes to tricep training, the longhead is very important.

Why? Because if you look at these two heads here, they exist on the upper arm.

They don’t cross the shoulder joint.

They start here, and end here on the otherside of the elbow.

All they’re influencing here is elbow extension.

Nothing that I did up here at the shoulderwould be matter because they don’t cross that joint.

Whereas, the longhead is the one that doescross that joint, coming off the scapula.

So, we know that if I can change positionof the scapula, no matter what I did – whether I brought it back or brought it up over myhead – all these things are changing the orientation of the scapula.

Meaning, we’re changing the tension on thelonghead of the tricep.

So, we know we can influence that.

So, if you’re going to put together a perfecttricep workout, what we need to do is figure out ways to influence that.

Taking it a step further, we realize thatthe longhead of the triceps is put on stretch when our arm is way up over our body.

So, we need to choose exercises that do that.

We also know that we can bring it in the oppositedirection, all the way back behind the body, and engage it into a full contraction, orfully shortened position.

So, we want to make sure we pick exercisesthat do that, too.

They’ll be in our perfect workout.

At the same time, in pursuit of this, we don’twant to lose sight of the fact that progressive overload still matters.

Being able to load up the triceps with heavierweights, like any other muscle, as much as possible is going to help us build them bigger.

So, we have to go pick the right, big exerciseshere.

Beyond that, I’m going to show you someways to tweak those to get more from them, so you get the most out of your muscle buildingcapabilities from them.

Moving on, we always talked about – in theperfect bicep workout – this idea of overlapping strength curves.

If we look at this exercise here, I have aband and dumbbells in my hand at the same time when I’m curling.

Why do we do that? Because we know when we use dumbbells, wemax out the strength curve in the middle of the movement.

When we get all the way to the top, we losethat tension.

But we also realize that bands help us tokeep the tension going as I stretch further, and further.

We combine them together to make a betterexercise.

We can do the same thing here with triceps.

Again, to be part of a perfect workout, Ibelieve we need to address that.

We’re going to do that in two ways.

Guys, let’s get it all started.

I’ll break it down exercise by exercisefor you and I’ll give you the entire workout, as we always have in this series, at the veryend.

All right, so we kick off the perfect tricepworkout here with those heavy exercises.

I like to address the heavier stuff firstwhen we have the most energy and we’re able to hit them hard.

What is the first one up here? It’s a close grip bench-press, but it’sa close grip pin press.

Why are we pressing off the pins instead ofdoing a full range of motion press? Because if you’re trying to target the tricepsthe most, and overload the triceps, you do have to realize that the majority of the workbeing done by the triceps is from the midpoint, on.

It’s toward the lockout portion of the press.

If we train all the way down here, off ourchest, although it’s a good exercise, we’re working more on the delts to get them offour chest.

So, what we’re trying to do is isolate moreof the function of the triceps, which will allow us to load this exercise up even heavierto match the strength the triceps have here.

We perform these in 10, 6, and 4 reps acrossthree sets.

Moving on, we go to the next big exercise.

That is the weighted dip.

Again, there is an opportunity here that Ithink is sometimes overlooked.

That is to do this in the form of a tricep.

We can get to failure and we can push beyondfailure.

So, what I do is setup here with a weightaround my waist.

I can do it that way, or I can hold the dumbbellbetween my legs.

Whatever is easiest for you.

The fact here is, I’m going to perform mydip and I’m going to drop set when I reach failure, to let go of the weight, and getback up there as a bodyweight option.

As I do those reps, I’m going to then goto failure once again, until I can go and attach to the band, put my knees inside, anddo a third set here without resting.

Continue this drop set down with an assisteddip.

In terms of the technique, no matter whichform I’m doing here, in order to maximally engage the triceps, you want to do two things.

Number one: you want to keep your torso asupright as possible.

I just did a whole video on the chest talkingabout how you maximize more chest involvement, you lean forward.

The opposite is true with triceps.

You want to keep your trunk up as tall aspossible.

The next thing is, don’t allow the forearmsto dominate this movement.

As you come up to the top, I like to almosthand release.

Push down through the palms of my hand, letmy triceps do all the extending here.

Don’t grip too much here.

The tendency is to not go to full extensionbecause you’re activating the forearms too much.

I want that release.

Let go of the hands as you get to the top.

The fact is, guys, this tri-set allows usto take the intensity even further.

Now we move on here and we go to our superset.

This super set was made with the idea of doingwhat we talked about before.

That’s focusing on the longhead, takingit through both of those extremes.

An exercise that puts it in more of a stretchposition, and an exercise that puts it in more of a contracted position.

We can do that here with a single cable.

We start with the push away.

You’ll see here, what I want to do – sincethis is the stretched position of the longhead – I try to accentuate that.

I try to allow the arms to drift a littlebit higher on every rep to make sure I’m getting a good stretch on the longhead.

We do that, again, by allowing the elbow totravel as high as our body will allow them.

As soon as I’m done with that set, you cansee I immediately transition right into this drag pushdown.

The difference here on a drag pushdown isthe placement of my hands.

How far away from my body are they? They’re not away from my body like a traditionalpushdown would be.

They’re right up against my chest, literallytrying to ride my ribcage all the way down.

You’ll see what does is, it gets the elbowsback into extension.

That is the key when it comes to putting thetricep longhead into that fully shortened position.

You want to get your elbow back behind yourbody with full elbow extension.

We can do that here.

We work on this in a back to back format.

You do 10 to 12 reps.

The weight that you chose to do the firstexercise stays the same.

So, there’s no resting as you proceed tothe second part of that combo.

Finally, we want to address those strengthcurves I had talked about in the beginning.

One of the exercises that we’ve talked aboutfor a long time, and has been copied poorly by others, is the rocking pushdown.

If you want to see how to do it right, youwatch it here.

The idea behind the rocking pushdown is, werealize that forces change during an exercise.

If I were to take my arm right here and performa regular pushdown, what happens is, the line of resistance on a cable is going to be parallel– at some point – to the moving segment.

Which, in this point, is the forearm.

When that happens all the tension is gone.

What we want to try and do is maximize thattension by always allowing that line of resistance to be perpendicular to the forearm.

When we look at a regular pushdown, if I startright here, if I have the cable pulling straight down to my forearm, we’re good.

But when I get down to the bottom of thatpushdown, now it’s parallel to that forearm.

Meaning, we do not have as much resistancethere, and you’ve probably felt that.

It’s pretty difficult to start, but it’snot so hard at the end.

We can fix that with a rocking pushdown.

All I have to do is change the orientationof my body to allow for that.

So, you see here, I start leaning in.

I’ve already got my leg dropped back.

So, I’m prepared to rock back.

But I start in a closer position so as I initiatethe pushdown, I have that perpendicular line of resistance from the cable pointed downto the forearm.

As I get down into full extension of the elbows, you can see I’ve leaned back, and rocked back, which allows that line to lineup moreperpendicular than it was before, with the forearm still.

So, we keep that tension on the triceps evenin its contracted position here.

I’m not leaning back in momentum to pullthe cable down, or the stack down.

I’m just allowing my body’s position tochange.

This is a great addition to make sure you’rehitting those strength curves.

We have another option here.

It parallels a little bit more with what wedid with the biceps back in the beginning that I showed you.

That’s incorporating a band.

One of my favorite exercises is the inlinetricep extension.

If we incorporate the band, we have a bandinline tricep extension.

You guys can probably figure out what’sgoing on here.

With the dumbbells, we know as we get towardthe top, we start to lose resistance.

So much, in fact, that if I were to tell youto allow your dumbbells to get fully over your body, straight up over your body, you’vetaken away much of the tension on the triceps, making this exercise less effective.

Instead, what we do is keep them angled backa little bit.

Beyond that, we add the bands, so we havethe additional resistance and stretch as we pull into that final contraction.

Just by doing this, we’ve taken the samemechanics of the exercise, but by adding to the two implements together, we’ve madea better exercise.

So, there you have it, guys.

There is the perfect tricep workout.

I want you guys to give it a try.

Here’s what it looks like as I’ve beendoing it this entire series.

I’ve laid the workout out for you.

Sets and reps.

So, you can have it, you can try it, you canconvince yourself once again that there really is only one way to train.

That’s by putting science back in strength.

That’s what we do here on this channel.

That’s what we do in all our programs.

If you haven’t already, guys, check themout.

Head over to ATHLEANX.

com right now.

Find the program that’s right for you.

All of them are built with the same idea:putting science back in strength.

In the meantime, if you haven’t alreadysubscribed, guys, please do so and turn on your notifications so you never miss one ofour videos.

Let me know what else you want me to coverhere, what else you want me to break the muscle marker out on.

Save some ideas, guys.

We could keep – keep them clean.

I’ll come back here and do them – withinreason – what you’re looking for.

All right, guys.

See you soon.


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