For big arms, doing triceps is even more important than biceps! The triceps is a bigger muscle so if you skip triceps not only will your arms be much smaller than they need to be but your arms will be out of balance.
You can make your own arm workout by mixing and matching the above exercises, but unless you are really advanced, it’s better to use one of my existing home workout plans that puts these triceps exercises into a well rounded workout plan for you. Please checkout my beginning workout plan, my intermediate workout plan and my advanced workout plan.
Before I go into the individual biceps exercises, lets look at two complete arm workouts. The first workout is an intermediate arm workout with three supersets each consisting of a biceps and a triceps exercise:
Superset 1:Dumbbell curls and skull crushers
Superset 2:Twenty-ones and narrow grip bench press
Superset 3: Reverse grip barbell curls and dumbbell kick backs
Repeat the above five times, the complete workout should take about 45 minutes. Below is a video showing how to do this complete workout.
The following is an unusual arm workout and its good for busting thru plateaus. Most people make the mistake of going heavy all the time, this is a good way to break that trend. It is extremely high volume with no rest at all. Literally just go from one exercise to the next without rest.
Superset 1:Skull crushers and barbell curls
Superset 2:Skull crushers and dumbbell curls
Superset 3: Skull crushers and hammer curls
If you can, perform each superset for 10-15 minutes which will make the total duration of the workout 30-45 minutes. Below is a video showing you how to do this torturous workout.
For building triceps mass, the skullcrusher is my favorite. This can be done laying directly on the ground or it can be done on a bench. In this exercise it is important to keep your elbows close together like there is a rope holding them shoulder width apart, don’t let them flail out to the sides or you are no longer do triceps. It is also important that your upper arms stay motionless and point straight up to the ceiling, only your forearms move in this exercise. If your elbows are moving all over you are exercising lats and not triceps. Your grip on the bar is about shoulder width. Best is to use an EZ-Curl bar because use of a straight bar causes severe wrist or elbow pain in many people. If you dont have an EZ-curl bar, you can do this exercise with dumbbells but its not really as beneficial.
Starting Position: Your knees are bent with your feet flat on the ground. The bar in the starting position is a few inches from your forehead with your palms facing away from you. Your elbow are shoulder width apart, no wider.
Ending Position: Push the bar up slowly, it should take a count of two seconds to get it up. It is very important to keep the elbows close together in this exercise, don’t let them flail out to the sides. Now lower the bar back to the starting position slowly on another two second count. The elbows have not moved at all, only the forearms.
Triceps “Kick Backs”
A great triceps exercise, you can get a great workout with a tiny amount of weight as this exercise really isolates the triceps. Do this on the lawn or on a really cushy carpet to protect your knees and hands.
Starting Position: You support your weight with your entire forearm on your free arm, you dont use your hand. This is to make sure your butt points up in the air. Your elbow is above your back by about 3″ so that your upper arm points upward at almost a 45 degree angle. The forearm holding the weight is vertical. Note the position of your shoulder, you will be keeping it stationary in space the entire duration of the exercise.
Ending Position: Slowly raise the dumbbell up so the arm is straight. Do it slowly over a two second count and try to hold this top position for 1/2sec before lowering the weight. Your shoulders and entire torso should remain completely motionless as you lift the weight upward. If you have to swing the weight to get it up then you are using way too much weight.
Chair dips are another good exercise for triceps that you can do at home with very little equipment, you just need two identical chairs and a pair of garden gloves. Make sure to put the chairs on a carpeted surface so they wont slip because you need to push outward slightly to keep the chairs stable. If you are not on a carpeted surface the chairs will slide apart leaving you helplessly in the iron cross position. The chairs are close enough together that your hands brush your hips as you descend into the dip. The gloves help protect your hands from the sharp corners of the chair top rail. You can also do these on your kitchen counter in a corner, just use pushup stands.
If you are really advanced and the chair dip is not challenging enough, you can hold a dumbbell between your thighs or let the dumbbell rest on the back of your horizontal calves. If you are a beginner and cant yet do a dip under your own power, use your legs to get into the “up” position, then slowly lower yourself under your own power then use your legs to get back up. These are negative reps and if you do these then you will soon be strong enough to do full dips.
Starting Position: This shows the starting position, the arms are straight but not locked. Hold this position till all swinging motion has stopped. Now slowly lower yourself over the next 2 seconds …
Ending Position: Continue slowly lowering yourself till your upper arms are horizontal as shown here, dont drop any lower as its hard on your shoulders. Hold this position till any swining motions have stopped. Now slowly start pushing yourself up again over the next two seconds.
Overhead triceps dumbbell press
This is an excellent triceps exercise but can be a bit awkward if you have not done it before. This is best done on a flat bench. Start out with very light weights till you get the balance down. To get started, hold the dumbbell in you lap with both hands and then swing it up to the top of your shoulder and let it set temporarily there. Now you can re-adjust your hand grip to something comfortable.
Starting Position: Keep your abs flexed tight the whole time to support your spine. The starting position is with your forearms horizontal, dont let it go down so far that you are scratching your back!
Ending Position: Trying to keep your elbows as close as possible together, slowly push the weight up over a two second count. Go up till your arms are straight but not locked, then slowly lower the weight again.