How to build massive triceps-with maximum tension

Massively muscled arms are always the attention getter, the goal for many men is to develop a pair of 20″ arms. Biceps have always been at the front of attention but the triceps make up for the majority of the size and if it’s size you are going for, make sure that you do a good share of compound moves to put maximum tension on your triceps

I for the most part have basically followed by the same type of training principal for triceps, straight sets and plenty of compound moves. Compound moves for triceps draw other muscles into play like chest and shoulders which enable you to push more weight. In today’s subject I am going to talk about how to build massive triceps with maximum tension.

Compound exercises

First of all, compound exercises are multi joint movements that work more than one muscle at a time and are quite often preferred among training athletes because they translate to more types of common movement patterns.

There are many benefits to doing compound training moves and those include burning more calories during exercise, simulates real world activities, allows you to get a full body workout faster, improves coordination, reaction time and balance, improves joint stability, allows you to workout longer with less muscle fatigue, provides cardiovascular benefits and allows you to lift heavier loads.

Isolation exercises

Isolation exercises are important for working and developing your muscles but only work one muscle at a time, that’s not to say that only compound moves are best and you should only use compound moves in your training program.

Isolation moves have their benefits and drawbacks, their drawback is they only work one muscle at a time and you burn less calories but isolation moves allow you to focus on one area at a time which will help you to develop technique. It’s best to incorporate both compound and isolation moves in your workout.

There are other advantages to doing isolation moves, for example a competitive bodybuilder may find that a certain muscle group is lagging behind so he or she can put emphasis on just that one muscle group by using isolation exercises.

Isolation exercises are also used for physical therapy and rehabilitation after the therapist determines what muscles need to be developed.

Narrow grip benches

The bench press with a slightly narrower than shoulder width grip is a great compound move for triceps and can be done with an e-z bar or with dumbbells in which your palms will be facing each other.

When doing the narrow grip bench press, the closer the grip, the more emphasis you put on your triceps, although if you use too narrow of a grip you can damage your wrists. An alternative to the narrow grip bench press would be doing pushups with a shoulder width grip or slightly narrower.

One little tip to doing narrow grip pushups that I do when I workout at home is to use a door jam chining bar I place on the floor and place my hands about a foot apart on one end of the apparatus, this will keep my hands at just the right angle to take stress of the wrist.

Bar dips

Bar dips are a great compound exercise for putting size on your triceps, the advantage with doing compound exercises like the bar dips is they work chest as well so you can push a lot of weight.

I have done a variation with the bar dips by turning my palms facing outward, this will hit your triceps at a different angle. Bar dips you can add extra weight as shown in the picture.

Barbell extensions

Barbell extensions, also called skull crushers you can perform with a straight bar or e-z bar. These are more of an isolation move but you can still push a good amount of weight with these.

Other variations you can use a pair of dumbbells and keep your palms facing inwards.

Dumbbell extensions

I have enjoyed using a variety of variations for dumbbell extensions. There are skull crushers with dumbbells keeping your palms facing inwards and you can do these sitting upright. There is the one arm dumbbell extensions you can tryout either laying down or sitting upright.

Dumbbell kickbacks are a real good isolation move for triceps, you won’t be able to use as much weight with these although you can really concentrate on form and you get a real good burn.

Triceps push downs

Triceps push downs are a good finishing move for triceps, you can get a real good pump and their good for adding shape to the triceps.

There are many good variations to doing this exercise, you can use the e-z bar attachment, there is also the v-angled bar attachment that will allow the thumb to be higher than the pinky finger or you can use a reverse grip on the straight bar and last but not least is you can use a rope attached to the pulley.

Other good cable extensions are one arm triceps push downs with palm facing up and there is the over head cable extensions and a variation to the over head cable extensions is by leaning forward so then the extension becomes over head.


It is best to incorporate both compound and isolation moves into your training program. Compound moves you can push a lot more weight and they will help you to burn more calories but you should also include isolation moves into your triceps workout, they will isolate your triceps which will help you to concentrate more on your key area your working, in this case the triceps.

It is best to start your triceps routine out with a combination move, this will help to warm up your elbows, and when doing the narrow grip benches it is a good idea to have a spotter, not only for safety reasons but with just a little assistance from your training partner can really help with forced reps.

Mix your triceps training routine up with a combination of compound and isolation moves and finish off with cable work as they are good for a finishing pump.

Always flex your key area that you are targeting at the end of each rep and in between set’s, this will keep the blood pumped to the muscle.

Also remember to train hard but smart, try to leave no room for error as no one wants to go through the pain and suffering of a muscle pull or tear.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the box.

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