Exercises that you can load up, lower, or increase the range of motion on are necessary to build triceps size and strength. These 4 workouts do that.

JM Press

This is named after JM Blakey, who broke every bench press record in sight while training at Westside Barbell. Blakey employed this lift, which is a combination of the skull crusher and the close-grip bench press, to increase his lockout strength and develop a massive set of triceps.

How it helps: Because the chest is involved, you’re able to use more weight than a skull crusher and the shorter ROM allows you to use more load.

How to do it: Set up the same way as you would for a close grip bench press but make sure the barbell is directly above your upper chest. Use a narrow grip of 16 inches apart using either a false or regular grip. Keep the elbows at 45 degrees from the body when bringing the barbell towards you and cock the wrist to avoid wrist hyperextension. Keep lowering down until your forearm touches your biceps. Let the bar roll back about one inch to keep the elbows pointed up and press the bar back to the starting position.

Sets and reps: Perform four sets of 4-6 reps for strength, or three to four sets of 8-12 reps for added muscle.

Decline Bench Cable Extension

The decline bench cable extension is difficult to set up since you need a bench and a cable machine, but it isolates the triceps through a larger ROM. Plus, the cable machine provides constant tension throughout the ROM for better muscle-building potential.

How it helps: Here the decline helps increase the ROM, which gives you a greater stretch on the triceps.

How to do it: Set up a decline weight bench about a foot in front of a cable pulley machine. Set the cable pulley to its lowest point, then attach either a straight, EZ-bar handle or rope attachment. Lie back on the bench and grab the handle with both hands and perform this exercise like a standard skull crusher.

Sets and reps: Best performed at the end of your training for two to four sets of 12-15 reps

Diamond Pushup

The close-hand placement of the diamond pushup shifts more focus to the triceps than the standard pushup. Plus, with the narrower base of support, you’ll get increased core stability benefits while blowing up your chest and triceps.

How it helps: Little more elbow friendly than the other two variations above while still training the triceps for size.

How to do it: The idea here is to keep your hands close together. If the diamond shape aggravates your joints, then don’t do it. Perform the pushup like usual while keeping your core and glutes tight and your spine neutral.

Sets and reps: More of a muscle-building exercise than for strength, try two to four sets of 12-20 reps.

Unilateral Dumbbell Floor Press

The unilateral dumbbell floor press reduces the range of motion and puts more focus on the triceps to help build triceps lockout strength. This is due to being able to load this press variation more and limiting the lower body’s involvement. Both give the triceps the attention they deserve.

How it helps: This builds unilateral triceps lockout strength while reducing the strain of the shoulder joint due to the limited ROM.

How to do it: Lying face up on the floor with a dumbbell beside you, roll to the side, grab the dumbbell with both hands, and roll back onto your back. Press with both hands and take one hand off. You can have your feet on the ground or legs extended and this is a matter of personal preference. Then slowly lower until your upper arm touches the floor and press back up.

Sets and reps: Best performed for muscle rather than strength, two to four sets of 8-15 reps works well here.


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