The PERFECT Triceps Workout (Sets and Reps Included)

By Stevie Adams / in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , /

What’s up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, We’re continuing our perfect workout series. Today we’re hitting the triceps. With a little help from Jesse and the muscle
markers, we’ve got a nice drawing on the triceps here, so I don’t have to try and
do this. The fact is, guys, it always starts with anatomy
here. It always starts with science because that’s
how you make smarter decisions in your training. So, let’s take a look at the anatomy, courtesy
of the muscle markers, to see what’s going on. You’ll see here, the tricep is a three-headed
muscle. It’s made up of the lateral head, the medial
head in green here, and the longhead around the back. We’ve talked about the importance of the
longhead all the time. Save your jokes, I know. The longhead is important. I get it. The fact is, when it comes to tricep training,
the longhead is very important. Why? Because if you look at these two heads here,
they exist on the upper arm. They don’t cross the shoulder joint. They start here, and end here on the other
side of the elbow. All they’re influencing here is elbow extension. Nothing that I did up here at the shoulder
would be matter because they don’t cross that joint. Whereas, the longhead is the one that does
cross that joint, coming off the scapula. So, we know that if I can change position
of the scapula, no matter what I did – whether I brought it back or brought it up over my
head – all these things are changing the orientation of the scapula. Meaning, we’re changing the tension on the
longhead of the tricep. So, we know we can influence that. So, if you’re going to put together a perfect
tricep workout, what we need to do is figure out ways to influence that. Taking it a step further, we realize that
the longhead of the triceps is put on stretch when our arm is way up over our body. So, we need to choose exercises that do that. We also know that we can bring it in the opposite
direction, all the way back behind the body, and engage it into a full contraction, or
fully shortened position. So, we want to make sure we pick exercises
that do that, too. They’ll be in our perfect workout. At the same time, in pursuit of this, we don’t
want to lose sight of the fact that progressive overload still matters. Being able to load up the triceps with heavier
weights, like any other muscle, as much as possible is going to help us build them bigger. So, we have to go pick the right, big exercises
here. Beyond that, I’m going to show you some
ways to tweak those to get more from them, so you get the most out of your muscle building
capabilities from them. Moving on, we always talked about – in the
perfect bicep workout – this idea of overlapping strength curves. If we look at this exercise here, I have a
band and dumbbells in my hand at the same time when I’m curling. Why do we do that? Because we know when we use dumbbells, we
max out the strength curve in the middle of the movement. When we get all the way to the top, we lose
that tension. But we also realize that bands help us to
keep the tension going as I stretch further, and further. We combine them together to make a better
exercise. We can do the same thing here with triceps. Again, to be part of a perfect workout, I
believe we need to address that. We’re going to do that in two ways. Guys, let’s get it all started. I’ll break it down exercise by exercise
for you and I’ll give you the entire workout, as we always have in this series, at the very
end. All right, so we kick off the perfect tricep
workout here with those heavy exercises. I like to address the heavier stuff first
when we have the most energy and we’re able to hit them hard. What is the first one up here? It’s a close grip bench-press, but it’s
a close grip pin press. Why are we pressing off the pins instead of
doing a full range of motion press? Because if you’re trying to target the triceps
the most, and overload the triceps, you do have to realize that the majority of the work
being done by the triceps is from the midpoint, on. It’s toward the lockout portion of the press. If we train all the way down here, off our
chest, although it’s a good exercise, we’re working more on the delts to get them off
our chest. So, what we’re trying to do is isolate more
of the function of the triceps, which will allow us to load this exercise up even heavier
to match the strength the triceps have here. We perform these in 10, 6, and 4 reps across
three sets. Moving on, we go to the next big exercise. That is the weighted dip. Again, there is an opportunity here that I
think is sometimes overlooked. That is to do this in the form of a tricep. We can get to failure and we can push beyond
failure. So, what I do is setup here with a weight
around my waist. I can do it that way, or I can hold the dumbbell
between my legs. Whatever is easiest for you. The fact here is, I’m going to perform my
dip and I’m going to drop set when I reach failure, to let go of the weight, and get
back up there as a bodyweight option. As I do those reps, I’m going to then go
to failure once again, until I can go and attach to the band, put my knees inside, and
do a third set here without resting. Continue this drop set down with an assisted
dip. In terms of the technique, no matter which
form I’m doing here, in order to maximally engage the triceps, you want to do two things. Number one: you want to keep your torso as
upright as possible. I just did a whole video on the chest talking
about how you maximize more chest involvement, you lean forward. The opposite is true with triceps. You want to keep your trunk up as tall as
possible. The next thing is, don’t allow the forearms
to dominate this movement. As you come up to the top, I like to almost
hand release. Push down through the palms of my hand, let
my triceps do all the extending here. Don’t grip too much here. The tendency is to not go to full extension
because you’re activating the forearms too much. I want that release. Let go of the hands as you get to the top. The fact is, guys, this tri-set allows us
to take the intensity even further. Now we move on here and we go to our super
set. This super set was made with the idea of doing
what we talked about before. That’s focusing on the longhead, taking
it through both of those extremes. An exercise that puts it in more of a stretch
position, and an exercise that puts it in more of a contracted position. We can do that here with a single cable. We start with the push away. You’ll see here, what I want to do – since
this is the stretched position of the longhead – I try to accentuate that. I try to allow the arms to drift a little
bit higher on every rep to make sure I’m getting a good stretch on the longhead. We do that, again, by allowing the elbow to
travel as high as our body will allow them. As soon as I’m done with that set, you can
see I immediately transition right into this drag pushdown. The difference here on a drag pushdown is
the placement of my hands. How far away from my body are they? They’re not away from my body like a traditional
pushdown would be. They’re right up against my chest, literally
trying to ride my ribcage all the way down. You’ll see what does is, it gets the elbows
back into extension. That is the key when it comes to putting the
tricep longhead into that fully shortened position. You want to get your elbow back behind your
body with full elbow extension. We can do that here. We work on this in a back to back format. You do 10 to 12 reps. The weight that you chose to do the first
exercise stays the same. So, there’s no resting as you proceed to
the second part of that combo. Finally, we want to address those strength
curves I had talked about in the beginning. One of the exercises that we’ve talked about
for a long time, and has been copied poorly by others, is the rocking pushdown. If you want to see how to do it right, you
watch it here. The idea behind the rocking pushdown is, we
realize that forces change during an exercise. If I were to take my arm right here and perform
a regular pushdown, what happens is, the line of resistance on a cable is going to be parallel
– at some point – to the moving segment. Which, in this point, is the forearm. When that happens all the tension is gone. What we want to try and do is maximize that
tension by always allowing that line of resistance to be perpendicular to the forearm. When we look at a regular pushdown, if I start
right here, if I have the cable pulling straight down to my forearm, we’re good. But when I get down to the bottom of that
pushdown, now it’s parallel to that forearm. Meaning, we do not have as much resistance
there, and you’ve probably felt that. It’s pretty difficult to start, but it’s
not so hard at the end. We can fix that with a rocking pushdown. All I have to do is change the orientation
of my body to allow for that. So, you see here, I start leaning in. I’ve already got my leg dropped back. So, I’m prepared to rock back. But I start in a closer position so as I initiate
the pushdown, I have that perpendicular line of resistance from the cable pointed down
to the forearm. As I get down into full extension of the elbows,
you can see I’ve leaned back, and rocked back, which allows that line to lineup more
perpendicular than it was before, with the forearm still. So, we keep that tension on the triceps even
in its contracted position here. I’m not leaning back in momentum to pull
the cable down, or the stack down. I’m just allowing my body’s position to
change. This is a great addition to make sure you’re
hitting those strength curves. We have another option here. It parallels a little bit more with what we
did with the biceps back in the beginning that I showed you. That’s incorporating a band. One of my favorite exercises is the inline
tricep extension. If we incorporate the band, we have a band
inline tricep extension. You guys can probably figure out what’s
going on here. With the dumbbells, we know as we get toward
the top, we start to lose resistance. So much, in fact, that if I were to tell you
to allow your dumbbells to get fully over your body, straight up over your body, you’ve
taken away much of the tension on the triceps, making this exercise less effective. Instead, what we do is keep them angled back
a little bit. Beyond that, we add the bands, so we have
the additional resistance and stretch as we pull into that final contraction. Just by doing this, we’ve taken the same
mechanics of the exercise, but by adding to the two implements together, we’ve made
a better exercise. So, there you have it, guys. There is the perfect tricep workout. I want you guys to give it a try. Here’s what it looks like as I’ve been
doing it this entire series. I’ve laid the workout out for you. Sets and reps. So, you can have it, you can try it, you can
convince yourself once again that there really is only one way to train. That’s by putting science back in strength. That’s what we do here on this channel. That’s what we do in all our programs. If you haven’t already, guys, check them
out. Head over to right now. Find the program that’s right for you. All of them are built with the same idea:
putting science back in strength. In the meantime, if you haven’t already
subscribed, guys, please do so and turn on your notifications so you never miss one of
our videos. Let me know what else you want me to cover
here, what else you want me to break the muscle marker out on. Save some ideas, guys. We could keep – keep them clean. I’ll come back here and do them – within
reason – what you’re looking for. All right, guys. See you soon.

100 thoughts on “The PERFECT Triceps Workout (Sets and Reps Included)

  1. Want to win an ATHLEAN-X program for free, no strings attached? Click the link below to find out how!

  2. I am a bit confused….

    in the end when he shows the workout routine, what does he mean 3 sets 10-12RM to failure? If it is 3 sets of 10-12 reps, how can you go to failure if he is says to do 10-12 reps? idk if I am confusing myself or making this harder than is lol

  3. I wake up at 4:30 in the morning roughly 2 or 3 times a week. I have a drink of warm water, and black coffee with no sugar, and turn on Athlean-X and watch a video or two of specific muscle group to train. I jump on me motorbike, and arrive at the gym at 6am.  
    I can only complete one muscle group like this triceps workout within a one hour time frame. I cannot complete two muscle groups within an hour, like I used to a long time ago.
    Never the less, Athlean-X is awesome. I don't mind working one type of muscle at a time, because I can see a nice growth of shape that I never had seen before.

  4. If we focus on full ROM exercises which emphasizes the long head, the lateral and medial head also gets finely trained right? I hope you answer my question.

  5. Franco columbu-"I think I am the greatest bodybuilder who has ever lived."Who does not care is a Charity collecting on the equipment-WebMoney WMID 879329632430 Z721659873225



  6. anyone tryna have me send them a video and critique what im doing?? swear i should be getting a better burn than i am

  7. I've been lifting off and on for 25 years and I never had someone explain things so well. I've been neglecting the long head of the triceps and didn't know it. Thanks for giving me something to add to my workout.

  8. I like how he called out v shred. Your watching other guys which is not right if you want to do it right, then watch me do it here. Hilarious

  9. Is it normal to feel a something that feels like a electric shock when I’m training my muscles mostly happens in triceps

  10. Jeff I love ur vid ur great at workout vids u chill and easy to listen and understand you much wisdom thx for sharing bro

  11. Jeff is pretending to do weighted dip tricep sets…

    He's actually doing tricep pushdowns with earth weight.

  12. I think that for many exercises there would be a great value in seeing how you get into them and exit them safely so as not to hurt oneself. So many injuries arise from incorrectly entering or exiting an exercise and sometimes your familiarity assumes the same on our part and you skip this important facet. (As if there isn't enough info packed into these great videos…) Thanks.

  13. 2:48 – About this part: What you think of doing it in a declined bench (for the same reason you're using the elastic band)?

  14. I find it much better without background music. Love everything about the videos you film and the science behind all your workouts. However, I find all your information is more effectively absorbed when you are not competing with background music.

  15. Close Grip Pin Press – 3 sets of 10,6,4 reps 3:15
    Choose a weight that allows you to reach failure in each rep range

    Weighted Dip Tri-Set – 3 sets to failure in each position 4:00
    Immediately drop from weighted dips to bodyweight to assisted. No rest in between failures.

    Tricep Pushaways ( 5:30 ) into Drag Pushdowns (6:14) – 3 sets with 12 RM on first exercise to failure
    Immediately into the pushdowns without changing the weight.

    Rocking Pushdowns – 2 sets to Failure using 12RM 7:58

    Banded Lying Tricep Extensions – 2 sets to Failure using 15RM 8:42


  16. Sir I m suffering from uric acid problem, please give me a solution bcoz I am not able to talk protein diet or protein supplement.

  17. Can you do the banded exercises w/o the actual band by just squeezing and hold at the “top” of the exercise? Asking for people who don’t have bands at their gym/home.

  18. if i were to do a chest/tricep workout, first doing your Perfect chest workout, followed up by this, would the workout be "too long"?

  19. It’s 5AM freezing cold mid winter and I’m watching this video on my way to the gym – let the gains begin while the rest of this world sleeps

  20. Can anyone tell me what i can do about elbow pain? Especially when i do bench and incline press. I am 44 and trying to start lifting again and the elbow pain is VERY VERY discouraging. Thank you

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