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How To Build Your Triceps

Most fitness professionals agree that triceps are a key muscle in helping you look thick and muscular. In fact, big triceps can be quite intimidating!

Most lifters only work their triceps indirectly - through exercises like the deadlift, bench, and squat.

In this article, I will discuss what the triceps are responsible for and some great trap building exercises you can add to your strength training routine. These simple tips and exercises will teach you how to build your triceps easily.

According to the Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation, the trapezius is “a compound muscle consisting of three distinct parts”. These three parts are the superior region, which supports the arm; the intermediate region, which brings the scapulae back; and the inferior region, which rotates and depresses the scapulae (Wikipedia).

Your triceps can be developed by performing exercises which move the scapula - or shoulder blade. Two exercises that are great for this are shoulder shrugs and upright rows. Both will work all three areas of the trapezius muscle.

Shoulder shrugs can be performed with a barbell, dumbbell, machine, or cable, making it a very versatile exercise. When doing a shoulder shrug, make sure you have a good grip and your arms are shoulder width apart. When lifting the weight, make sure you move only your shoulders upwards.

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Once the weight is lifted to the top of the movement, pause for a second and contract your triceps. Lower the weight and repeat. Throughout this exercise you should keep you back straight and your core tight. As you increase weight, it will be even more critical that you perfect your technique to reduce the chance of injuring yourself in muscle training.

Upright rows are best done with an EZ bar, dumbbells, cable, barbell or smith machine. Pull the weight with an overhand grip and lift it straight up to your shoulders. During this exercise, keep your grip close to target the triceps. As with all movements, this should be done in a controlled manner. Contract the triceps at the top of the movement to increase trap involvement and pump.

Other exercise that work the triceps indirectly are the deadlift, and shoulder press. These exercises require the triceps to stabilize the muscle. if you are performing very heavy deadlifts, your triceps will definitely get a workout. In the shoulder press, the triceps work to rotate the scapulae upwards, which will strengthen the muscle.

Working your triceps is best done on a shoulder day since the two muscle groups are so close. See the sample workout routine for triceps below for an idea of how to include these exercises into your strength training routine:

Deadlifts 5 x 8 (heavy)
Upright row 4 x 12
Shoulder press 4 x 10
Shoulder shrugs 4 x 10
Lateral raises 3 x 12
Military press 3 x 12

A compound movement like the deadlift, combined with isolation exercises for the shoulders and triceps will help build bigger stronger muscles. Because your triceps are used in so many other exercises as stabilizers, be sure not to over train them. Make sure you get adequate rest and nutrition to ensure that your triceps keep growing. Stay consistent with your training and you will soon be envied for your huge traps! 

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