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Five Reasons Why Your Triceps Aren’t Growing

Five Reasons Why Your Triceps Aren’t Growing When people train arms, they often find themselves focusing on their biceps, rather than their triceps. They do this because they think that a set of large biceps will enhance the size of their arms, when ironically, it is the triceps muscle that is responsible for the majority of the size you will find in your arms. Your bicep muscle has two heads, whereas the triceps muscle is larger as it has three heads. If you’ve decided to step up your arm training and have been blasting your triceps for several weeks now, only to find them barely responding at all, you are obviously doing something very wrong. Worried that your triceps muscle is not growing or responding to your training, here’s a look at five reasons why this could be. You’re only doing triceps pushdowns – Walk into gyms up and down the country and when you see people training triceps, more often than not they will be performing triceps pushdowns. Don’t get us wrong, triceps pushdowns, performed either with a rope, or a bar, are very beneficial and are very effective, but they are not the only triceps exercises you have at your disposal. To really target all three heads of the triceps muscle, ideally you should be performing a variety of different triceps exercises. The take home message here is to mix up your training and not focus solely on one exercise for working your triceps. You have close-grip bench presses, triceps dips, skull crushers, triceps kickbacks, dumbbell French presses, overhead extensions, and many more triceps exercises to choose from, so make sure you mix things up and get plenty of variety when training your triceps. You’re finishing your workouts with triceps – No matter which day they happen to be training triceps on, a lot of people make the mistake of always finishing up their workouts by working their triceps. Sure, every now and then it’s perfectly fine to finish with triceps, but make sure you don’t do this every single time you train them. When training triceps right at the end of a workout, they will already be pre-exhausted and fairly fatigued, which means they won’t be able to generate as much power. If your triceps are weak and tired, you can’t give them a truly effective workout, so you won’t always see the types of results you may have been hoping for. Rather than finishing up an arm session with triceps, why not begin your session by working your triceps instead? At the start of the workout they will be fresh and will be capable of generating more power and being worked harder before they fatigue. This is very useful for people trying to grow their triceps so make sure you don’t always finish up with triceps, every time you train them. You aren’t working the different heads of the muscle – The triceps muscle is made up of three heads. Each head is located in a different location on the muscle, and therefore not all of the three heads will be worked with the same triceps exercises. By simply changing the position of your arm when you perform a certain exercise, you can actually place a greater emphasis on different heads of the muscle. The long head of the triceps for example, is located on the inside of the muscle, and is the biggest of the three. The muscle is attached just above your shoulder muscle and so to work it, your arms will need to be positioned directly overhead. Skull crushers and overhead triceps extensions for example, are great for targeting the long head of the triceps muscle. The lateral head is targeted when your arms are down at your sides. This head is located on the outside of the muscle and can also be worked with dips and close-grip bench presses. The medial head, which is the smallest, is used to stabilize your elbow joints. All triceps movements target the medial head to some degree, but certain exercises can place a greater emphasis on it. Believe it or not, but simply switching from an overhand grip, to an underhand grip, will help target the medial head. You won’t be able to lift as much weight with this grip, but it will ensure that you target the medial triceps head, which is often overlooked. Your elbows are flaring – No matter which triceps exercises you happen to be performing, the key to optimal triceps growth is keeping your elbows tucked in at your sides. A lot of people flare their elbows outwards, which then recruits the deltoids and the pectoral muscles. If your chest and shoulder muscles are assisting with the lift, obviously your triceps aren’t doing all of the work, so they won’t be getting all of the benefits. The key to really isolating the triceps is to keep your elbows tucked in as close to your sides as possible, making sure not to flare them outwards, even slightly. You are using too much weight – Some muscle groups are simply no good for ego-lifting, and the triceps are a perfect example of this. You see, to work the triceps, you really need to ensure that your form is perfect, and heavy weights and perfect form generally do not go together. If you find that your elbows are flaring, or that you’re having to lean back, hunch forward, or rock back and forth to gain momentum, the weight you are lifting is too heavy. Forget what other people may think, and forget about how much weight is on the bar, stack, or dumbbell. All you need to focus on is perfect form and really working the triceps muscle to failure. Rather than lifting heavy weights, go with far lighter loads and instead try to perform more sets and reps. It may feel easy to begin with, but by the time you have finished your triceps will feel as if they’re on fire.
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