The Best Triceps Exercise for Mass (WINNER!)ATHLEAN-X™
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If you could only do one triceps exercise for muscle mass, this video will show you which one. The best triceps exercise for mass is one that must meet quite a few criteria, most of all, be the most effective for helping you to add size to your triceps. The three exercises going head to head for the title of the winner of this iron face off are the lying triceps extension, triceps pushdown and the close grip bench press.
We can start with the classic triceps pushdown exercise. This one can be done with either a rope or a straight bar. While it does allow you to load a lot of weight to the exercise for a good progressive overload option and it does take it easy on your elbow joints, it does have its drawbacks. First, it is a bit restrictive in terms of the versatility of the move. You can only do this with a cable machine or a band and doing it with the latter will alter the strength curve and is not optimal.
Beyond that, the pushdown at no point in the range of motion places your arm up over your head to put your triceps long head on stretch. If you want to build your triceps as big as possible you need to appreciate the importance of developing the long head since it accounts for almost two thirds of the size of the triceps muscle. Finally, when done in a static position, the pushdown is limited in its ability to train your triceps throughout the strength curve with peak tension.
Moving on, the close grip bench press is a better option because it has the versatility of allowing you to perform it with either dumbbells or a barbell (whichever you have access to). It also allows you to load up a lot of weights and progressively overload your triceps like the pushdown. The problem comes in when you consider that much of this tension is often off loaded to the chest and shoulders rather than the triceps. This is especially true if you do not lock out the elbows on every rep since this is where the tricep muscles work the most during this exercise.
Once again, the arms never get to a position above the head during this close grip bench press limiting the amount of stretch that gets applied to the long head of the triceps and ultimately the amount of growth that you will see from this compared to other moves.
This leads to the winner of this iron face off, the lying triceps extension. The versatility of the exercise is there since you can once again do this with either dumbbells or a barbell or even an ez curl bar. This movement is easier on the elbow joints since, if done properly, you finish with your arms angled back from vertical which places tension on the working muscle (the triceps) rather than a compressive force on the elbow joint.
What is most crucial however is that fact that the lying dumbbell or barbell extension allows you to get a great stretch on the long head of the triceps in the bottom of each rep. You can even safely exaggerate the stretch a bit by reaching your arms back a bit more at the bottom and get the stretch reflex activation that can lead to a more powerful triceps contraction. Finally, peak tension occurs with peak contraction of the exercise making it an all around arm exercise powerhouse.
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