If you want big arms then maximizing your tricep training should be a priority because they account for 66% of your arm size - they can make all the difference. For a moment, forget about biceps and focus on building jacked triceps!
#1 Always Do Overhead Extensions
One of the golden rules of building big triceps is to use overhead extensions - if your training program does not include them every workout you're missing out. The long head which runs down the back and inside of your upper arm is only really stimulated with overhead extensions. Developing this part of the triceps gives so much more depth along with width from side and back angles.
On the Health Kik workouts I create for members every week, there is always an overhead extension variation for tricep growth.
#2 Get Strong!
The triceps can contain a lot of fast twitch muscle fibers which is why getting strong can really help with growth. Although I recommend using a wide variety of rep ranges, getting strong within 8-12 repetitions on basic compound lifts will really accelerate growth in this muscle group. Some of my favorites to build tricep strength include close grip bench press, EZ bar skull crushers, straight bar cable pushdowns and dips.
#3 Keep The Elbows Tucked
This is really important, next time you train triceps watch your elbow positioning in the mirror. As failure sets in and the triceps fatigue, I bet your elbows start to flare outwards. This is a natural reaction because it makes the exercise easier, yet it also reduces tension on the target muscle. Be mindful to keep the elbows tucked in at all times, you will notice a significant difference in muscle tension in the correct area.
#4 Pause Then Extend
Successful hypertrophy training is about finding ways to introduce new stimulus which then becomes progressive. One strategy I really like for tricep training is to utilize a pause before extending the arms - this can be done with pushdowns, over head extensions or even close grip bench press. Doing so kills all momentum, placing even more tension on the triceps. This will hit your ego because it induces a lot of fatigue, leading to a loss in strength quickly.
#5 Use 1.5 Reps
For over head extensions and pushdowns you can try using 1.5 reps to get more tension on the triceps - this can be a real killer! Complete one full rep, drop back into isometric position before the extension and then do one half rep - then go back to the starting position. The triceps spend longer under tension as a result! Use this as a finisher with a cable exercise for maximal impact.
#6 Use High & Low Repetition Ranges
If you have used my programs for any length of time it is apparent that low and high repetition ranges are something I believe in, although it goes against the grain. Use lower rep sets to build strength, then transition to higher rep sets to force as much blood into the triceps as possible, for cell swelling and fascia stretching purposes.
**Kris Gethin's Sample Tricep Workout**
Close Grip Bench Press 3 X 8-10 repetitions / 90 second rest periods / 3 second negatives
Incline EZ Bar Skull Crushers with pause 3 X 12-15 repetitions / 60 second rest periods / 3 second negatives
Straight Bar Cable Pushdowns 1.5 reps 3 X 15-20 repetitions / 60 second rest periods / 2 second negatives.