I was lost.
I felt like, no matter what I did, my arms just weren’t getting bigger.
And after weeks and weeks of concentrating my attention on the long and short head of the bicep, I realized something.
My triceps were the source of my troubles.
See, people seem to forget one thing about the arms.
While the bicep is the one at the front, the one we flex, the tricep is back there doing all the work.
It sculps our arm, makes it more defined, and leaves our arms looking even more gorgeous in a short shirt.
You may be sitting here thinking,
“Right, let’s get to the gym, pump 15 sets of tricep pushdowns until our arms fall off.”
And that will be it.
Your triceps will now be bigger and you will be more confident.
The thing is, training more and pushing your triceps harder shows you have dedication but it’s not as effective or efficient as you may think.
You want to be smarter with your training.
It’s a science, remember.
Luckily, I’m here to help you out with that.
I’m here with the ultimate guide on your triceps, including helping you understand the areas of your tricep you may be missing out that need a bit more of your attention.
I am also giving you a sneak peek into the 4 best exercises you can do to get the biggest triceps of your life, all with a resistance band.
Now you can get into shape from the comfort of your own home!
Let’s get into it.
How Can We Build Muscle In The Triceps
The triceps brachii is located in the dorsal compartment of the arm.
In normal English, the tricep muscles are in the back of your arm, spanning the entire length of your humerus.
Notice how I said muscles here, plural.
Well, we have a whole group of muscles going on back there, all with different functions and movements we can utilize to target them.
There are 5 key features to increasing volume in our triceps and improving our strength and size.
- The most obvious step you are going to need to take to increase the size of your triceps is to add resistance to your triceps through push movements. Using weights or a resistance band to oppose the extension of your arms is a good start.
- You’ve probably heard it time and time again, but the only way to get consistent gains is by progressively overloading the muscle. This simply means adding more weight when the exercise gets too easy or increasing the number of reps you perform. I tend to increase the tension of my resistance band every time I can perform 10 controlled reps.
- Time under tension enables you to increase the amount of strain your tricep is under. Adding this to your workout will optimize your muscle for hypertrophy.
- Correct form is important to focus the strain onto the back of your arm. If you are constantly lifting above the weight you can handle (ego lifting) then your elbows will wobble all over the place. This will result in the exercise effectively working nothing other than your abdominal muscles to keep you balanced.
- You need to target all of the muscles in the triceps if you want fuller-looking gains. Plain and simple.
That final point is very important and constantly overlooked.
Notice earlier how I mentioned that the tricep has various muscles within its muscle group?
You see, these are extremely important when designing our workout routine, and are commonly classified as the different types of heads.
So, I may have now sparked the question…
What Are The Heads In The Tricep?
There are 3 different heads in the tricep that we must target in order to develop our arms and improve our physique.
The long head can be found on the inside of your arm, extending from the elbow joint to the shoulder blade, making it the longest head in the tricep, obviously.
The main function of this part of the tricep is the extension of the elbow, and the forearm, whether it is supinated or pronated.
As well as this, this part of the tricep prevents the displacement of the humerus during the adduction of the arm.
The strongest head, this muscle can be found on the outside of your arm.
It attaches from your elbow joint to your humerus, rather than spanning to your shoulder.
The main function of the lateral head is to aid in extending the forearm at the elbow joining, whether it is supinated or pronated.
The medial head is found in between the lateral and long head.
Not a lot of thought went into these names, don’t you think?
Similar to the lateral head, this attaches to the humerus from the elbow joint, with the only difference is it attaches a lot further down, making it the smallest out of the three muscles.
Again, the function of this head is to provide support and activate during the extension of the forearm around the elbow.
Like the lateral head, it doesn’t attach to the shoulder blade, so does not activate during the movement of the shoulder.
The 4 Resistance Band Tricep Exercises You Need In Your Workout
Resistance Band Overhead Tricep Extension
We kick this list off with a classic.
Whether you usually do this exercise with a cable or a barbell, the resistance band is an effective and efficient alternative so you can target the long head with this exercise at home.
Not only is it an excellent exercise for increasing the size of your triceps, but this movement helps to improve the flexibility in your arms and shoulders, and increase your range of motion, reducing the likelihood of injury in sports.
You can progressively overload pretty easily with a resistance band with this exercise.
You won’t need to start with a lot of resistance in the band, making it a lot easier to progress up the various tensions over time.
How To Do It
- Start by holding the band in both hands, with an overhand grip.
- Stand shoulder-width apart on the opposite end of the loop, or tie it to something fixed behind you, relatively low to the ground.
- Start by raising the resistance band above your head, making sure your elbows are fully extended.
- Engage your core and stand up tall, hinge at the elbows, and lower your forearms behind your head, until they are horizontal with the ground and you feel the tension in your triceps.
- Keeping your elbows locked, drive your forearms upward towards the original position, using your triceps.
- Hold for a second, then repeat the movement for 8-12 reps.
Resistance Band Close-Grip Press
Commonly performed as a close-grip bench press, this exercise aims to target the lateral head by loading weight onto and pressing it.
As long as you load enough resistance onto your tricep to activate this head, you can perform it standing or lying down, making it very versatile when using a resistance band.
The main function of this exercise is to overload the strongest muscle in the triceps, ultimately helping you to define it and making it stand out in those short dressy shirts.
I like this exercise a lot.
It can remove the strain the ordinary bench press can put on your shoulders while helping to improve the flexibility, and agility in the arms.
There’s a bit of a downfall to this type of movement, though.
Here we are attempting to add mass onto the strongest muscle in the tricep, meaning you are going to have to purchase a higher strength resistance band.
Alternatively, you can wrap it around your body a few times to increase tension, so it isn’t the end of the world.
How To Do It
- You may find this exercise easier if you have a resistance band with handles. If not, then create two separate loops in an ordinary band to hold it with.
- Place the remaining part of the band behind your back, looping it a couple of times if it is too light.
- Hold the band in an overhand grip, and bring your thumbs as close together as possible and in line with the chest.
- While engaging the core, press the weight upwards, or if standing, horizontally forwards.
- When your arms are fully extended, hold the position for a second while tensing the tricep.
- Control the weight back down to the original position, as slow as possible to increase time under tension.
- Repeat for 8-12 reps.
Resistance Band Skull Crusher
I just love that name for an exercise.
It sounds fierce and tough, which, thinking about it, is exactly that.
Don’t avoid it because of the name, though.
This movement targets that small medial head sitting in between the 2 larger heads perfectly, adding the right amount of resistance for hypertrophy.
You’ll notice that the additional functions for all of the tricep exercises are fairly similar; improves flexibility, range of motion, strength, and the list goes on…
The thing I notice first with the skull crusher, or more importantly, the resistance band skull crusher, is the added requirement for your abdominal muscles to get involved.
Keeping yourself steady with this exercise is a tough task, and if you manage to do so, you can expect the overall balance and stability to drastically improve.
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How To Do It
- You are going to need something elevated to lay down on for this exercise, preferably a bench.
- Tie one end of the resistance band below you, and wrap it around a few times to keep it taut.
- Lay on the bench and hold the resistance band behind your using an overhand grip. Ensure there is a 90-degree bend in your elbow near your face, so you aren’t straining your shoulders.
- Plant your feet and engage your core. Hinging at the elbow and avoiding moving your upper arm, press your forearms upwards, extending your arms to the ceiling.
- Hold this position for a second.
- Control it slowly back down to the original position, following the same movement.
- Repeat for 8-12 reps.
Isolateral Resistance Band Kickbacks
This final exercise is a bit of a jack-of-all-trades, being the perfect exercise that targets all 3 heads, with emphasis on the long and lateral heads – the big players.
Not only this but doing this isolation movement means you can target each tricep separately and make sure you are not causing any muscle imbalance in your arms.
The standard benefits apply to this exercise, with it drastically improving your flexibility and range of movements in your arms, while also increasing the muscle’s mass and strength.
Another thing I like about these exercises is extra intensity.
Whatever you do on one side, you have to do on the other, escalating the volume of your workout and enhancing your cardiovascular health.
How To Do It
- Tie the resistance band on a vertical beam, with the knot at your knee height.
- Grab the other end of the resistance band with your right hand, and bend forward, hinging at the hips so your back is nearly parallel to the ground.
- Pull your elbow back towards your body and pin it to your side, bending it so there is a 90-degree angle between your forearm and upper arm.
- Engage your core and use your other hand to keep balanced if needed.
- Keep your elbow fixed to your side and press the resistance band behind you, extending the arm and straining the tricep muscles.
- Hold this position for a second.
- Slowly return to the original position, keeping a high time under tension.
- Repeat for around 8-12 reps, then switch to the other arm.
And that’s a wrap.
By now you should have a good understanding of the triceps, and the different heads you need to target to efficiently increase their muscle mass.
The 4 exercises listed above are the perfect additions to a push routine, that are effective and fun.
What’s the point in working out if you aren’t enjoying it?
If you are interested in reducing your monthly costs and getting rid of that gym membership so you can work out at home, like this routine, feel free to check out my free Ebook, “Train Wherever The F*ck You Want” for an in-depth guide on working out using minimalistic equipment, like the resistance band.
Or you can join the Grizzly Online Gym, and take back control of your fitness with workouts you can do when and where you want!
So, what do you think of my list above?
Are there any tricep exercises you would add?
Let me know in the comments below.