The triceps are one of the hardest muscle groups to train for many people. If you do not wish to make things harder than necessary, you must avoid making these top five triceps training mistakes.
#1. Not Focusing on All Three Muscle Heads
Triceps have three muscle heads, and all of them must be worked if you are to fully develop them. It is impossible to isolate the three different heads, meaning you need to change the angle of your arm to ensure each one is worked. Arms straight by your side with an overhand grip will work your laterals, but changing to an underhand grip will target your medials. Move your elbows in front of your body or overhead to target the long heads of your tricep muscle.
#2. Perform Exercises in the Right Order
For maximum benefits, you should begin your workout with exercises that allow you to use the greatest resistance. For example, you might want to start your workout with compound lifts such as triceps dips or close-grip bench presses that require greater strength. After that, you can move on to isolation or unilateral cable exercises. It’s okay to mix up the order on occasion to prevent plateaus, but you should plan on sticking with the same schedule on most days.
#3. Counting on Machines and Cables too Much
A common triceps training mistake among bodybuilders involves relying too much on cable and machine exercises. This causes people to perform the same or very similar exercises over and over. To ensure you have a good variety, you should include at least one compound exercise that also works the chest and shoulders in each workout, along with a minimum of one dumbbell extension. When performing pushdown exercises, do one set with an overhand grip and the other with an overhand grip.
#4. Not Keeping the Elbows Tucked
To ensure your triceps perform most of the work and not your shoulders, you should always keep your elbow tucked in place. Only after reaching muscle failure can you adjust your form slightly in order to complete more reps. When doing so, adjust your elbow forward slightly during the negative part of your rep, then move it backward a bit during the positive half. Cheat only as much as necessary in order to squeeze in a few more reps. It’s also important not to fully lock your elbows at the end of extensions to prevent injury.
#5. Adding Weight by Limiting your Range of Motion
One of the biggest triceps training mistakes you can make is to add so much weight that you limit your range of motion. Doing so can limit you to performing only partial reps, which causes the eccentric motion to be stopped short of becoming fully stretched. This is a particular problem when performing triceps dips or press-downs in which you are unable to bend your elbow at a 90-degree angle.
If you have had little success in developing strong triceps, one of these common triceps training mistakes could be the reason. Revamp your workout keeping these five things in mind, and you should notice a tremendous difference in the way your triceps look and feel.