As we all know the upper arm is made up of 5 muscles of roughly the same size, 3 toward the back (the triceps) and 2 toward the front – the biceps.
This means that the triceps represent approximately 60% of the muscle in the upper arm and it’s a fact that you cannot truly claim to have big arms without having well developed triceps.
Problem is though, they often don’t get the same level of attention as the biceps right from the word ‘go’ when we first embark on our pursuit of gains!
If you feel as though your triceps are lagging behind in terms of development or that your just keen to stimulate new growth try this exercise at the beginning of each triceps workout before going on to complete another 8 working sets or so over another 2-3 exercises.
4 working sets of dumbbell skull crushers – super-set with narrow grip dumbbell press’s.
The key here is achieve and maintain high levels of intensity throughout so keep with the same weight dumbbells for both exercises, therefore no time will be wasted and optimum levels of muscle can be broken down.
To begin the ‘skull crusher’ movement lay flat on a bench, with the dumbbells held aloft at shoulder width. It’s very important that your palms are facing each other – very much like the beginning of a set of flat dumbbell chest flyes.
Now keeping the elbows nice and high (always pointing straight upward) lower the dumbbells with control to the point that the weights almost touch your front deltoids. Keeping the upper arm perfectly still (with your elbows in) curl the weight back up to the starting point so that only the forearm is seen to be moving.
Here’s a little tip (within a tip!) When your bring the weights back to the starting point use the ‘peak contraction principle’ by squeezing the thumbs higher/over the point of the little fingers. Maintain this squeeze for 2 seconds per rep and all 3 tricep heads will be saturated with de-oxygenated blood in no time!
As soon as muscular failure is reached proceed to the ‘close grip dumbbell press’s.’ This exercise works the already fatigued triceps from a totally different angle with the ‘spotting’ assistance of your front deltoids and chest. It’s absolutely critical that you maintain strict technique despite being tired and keep those elbows pinned in! The ‘pressing’ element of the super-set is much more of a compound exercise and even though you’ve just reached failure with the ‘skull crushers’ you still be able to perform at least as many reps pressing as you did ‘skull crushing.’
When failure is reached with the close grip dumbbell pressing you can then consider that as 1 set done! As soon as your breathing returns to anything like normal, pick up the weights again and start over.
4 working sets of this strategy provides a fantastic platform for you to then go on and pummel the triceps with some, press-downs, rope extensions, dips etc and if performed correctly and intensely you’ll be well on your way to eradicating those lagging triceps!
Look to target around the 8-12 range, but on the last set there’s nothing wrong with a 4-6.