Your triceps workouts might be getting stale, as you move from cable pushdowns to kickbacks to close-grip pushups in an uninspired rush to get a pump. But your arms’ largest muscles deserve better.
Ramp up the time under tension and give your triceps a challenge with this killer finishing superset from Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. Just make sure to focus on your muscles, because positioning in the triceps gravity press to JM press is key.
“One of the keys to training triceps is making sure that the triceps is working and actively squeezing both in the straight-arm position and as it’s getting there,” says Samuel. “But it’s very easy to miss that, either because we align our joints to face gravity, as we do at the top of a traditional skullcrusher, when we set our arms fully perpendicular to the ground, or because of momentum.”
Samuel advises that this exercise is all about the angles. “There are several ways to create more tension on our tris, most of which involve shifting our upper arm angle so that it’s not perpendicular to the ground,” he says. “One other underrated way to avoid it: force our arms to straighten while keeping our forearms fully parallel to the ground. This insures that our forearm lever constantly faces gravity, so our triceps never get to relax.”
To take on the superset, you’ll need a weight bench and a pair of dumbbells. Check out this set from Bowflex if you want to try it at home.
- Start laying on the flat bench holding the dumbbells with a neutral grip (palms facing each other). Keep your abs tight and your elbows in line with your torso, making sure that your forearms are parallel to the ground.
- Slowly press the dumbbells overhead, focusing to keep your forearms parallel to the ground.
- At the top of the rep, straighten out your arms completely before returning to the starting position, maintaining your arms parallel to the ground.
- Repeat for 6 to 8 reps.
- After completing the gravity press, finish with 4 to 6 JM presses, pushing at about a 93 degree angle relative to your torso.
To do this right, you need to be focused on more than just your arms. “Make sure you use your abs to keep your ribcage tight on this as well,” says Samuel. “It’ll work even if you don’t, but by keeping them tight, you’ll work within a more natural shoulder range of motion.”
Take on the superset for 3 on an arm day to finish off your tris. Just make sure that you don’t go too heavy, because this will be much tougher than you think. Samuel advises working with dumbbells 5 to 10 pounds lighter than a good skullcrusher weight.
For more tips and routines from Samuel, check out our full slate of Eb and Swole workouts. If you want to try an even more dedicated routine, consider Eb’s New Rules of Muscle program on our All/Out Studio app.
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