Most experts agree, before attempting to define a triceps muscle it is important to begin by building triceps mass. This is usually accomplished by performing isolation exercises. The first step in building triceps is to concentrate on heavy weight and fewer repetitions. The triceps are a small muscle group and as such, the muscle tires easily. Close-grip bench presses, reverse body dips and a triceps press-down are favorites of many body builders.
When building triceps, it is important to properly warm up prior to beginning the workout. Warm-up with two sets of triceps press-down exercises using a moderately heavy weight. Typically eight to 10 repetitions per set is adequate to warm up any muscle group. Since the triceps are a smaller muscle, many trainers choose to exercise the triceps prior to working on biceps or the back. The triceps typically have begun to tire from working on the biceps and back and are easily strained before even working on them. By adding in a routine specifically for building triceps, bigger and better triceps typically are the result.
After properly warming up, begin building triceps with a close-grip bench press. Use heavy weight and high repetitions when performing this exercise. It is critical to use the proper form when completing this exercise. Keep the elbows tucked in close to the body and do not bounce the weight up. Push the weight up, forcing the triceps to squeeze at the top and bottom of the exercise. The weight, while heavy, should not be so heavy that the chest and biceps are strained when lifting it. This assures that the triceps are doing the brunt of the work.
To continue building triceps, another good exercise may be the reverse body dip. When it is not possible to work with a dip machine, the dip can be accomplished by placing the palms of the hands on the seat portion of two dining room chairs and lowering the body until the arms form a 90 degree bend and then push the body back up. Make sure that it is possible to complete six to eight repetitions using only body weight prior to attempting to add weight. Form is very important when building triceps. When completing the dip, it is critical that the body is lowered and raised without using momentum. Squeeze the triceps as the body is slowly lowered and raised. Do not lock the elbow when doing this exercise.
It is important to finish any mass-building triceps exercise with an overhead exercise. This type of exercise gives the greatest stretch of any triceps exercise. Begin by grasping a dumbbell underneath the weight plates and holding it behind the neck with both hands. Slowly press the weight upward, taking care to avoid hitting the back of the head. Hold the weight at the top of the press and force the triceps to contract and squeeze. Slowly lower the weight squeezing the triceps at the bottom as well. Perform six to eight repetitions with the greatest amount of weight that can comfortably be pressed up.