So, you put your t-shirt on and realised you don't look like Chris Evans in the log-splitting scene in Avengers: Age of Ultron. After conducting a 3-minute Google search you decided to do some bicep curls with the new Bowflex modular dumbbells (opens in new tab) you just ordered off Amazon. Because surely that is how to get big arms? Too bad.
If you want bulging biceps, stop wasting your time sitting on the weight bench, hunched over, pulling those dumbbells towards your chest. What if I told you that the best way to increase the circumference of your arms is to push the weight? Up, back or down, doesn't matter, as long as you are extending your arm.
Fun fact: the triceps makes up about 2/3 of your upper arm and the way to activate the triceps muscles is to extend your arm. Therefore, if you want bigger arms, you might want to introduce a lot more pushing exercises to your training plan. That's in addition to thinking hard about how to get bigger shoulders as, doctors tells us, they are what your arms hang off of. Who knew?
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What are the best triceps exercises?
There are many ways to train your triceps. As with all type of exercises and muscle groups, try to keep a variety and frequently change the type of workouts you do. If you always do the same, your muscles will get used the load and won't be activated as much.
Dips are probably the best way to work on your triceps muscles. They are also great because they can be performed almost anywhere; all you need is two parallel bars and off you go.
This exercise needs no explanation but we will do it nevertheless. Starting position is your arms being extended and straight, holding your bodyweight, legs bent and in the air. Then, you want to bend your arm and dip until your elbows are in a 90° angle, then push yourself back up.
If you find it difficult to push your whole bodyweight, you can support your legs on an object (a stool, pouf, bag or box) or if you are in the gym, you can use an assisted dip machine.
If you are working out at home, you can use two high-back dining chairs for this exercise, but make sure you secure them before you apply your weight onto them.
- Don't forget to train your legs, too
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2. Overhead extensions
Overhead extensions can be done with either a barbell or dumbbells. Start off in either a sitting or standing position with your elbows pointing upward and arms bent behind your back.
Pro tip: when extending your arm, make sure the elbows are tucked in. If you were to extend them to the side, that would make it more of an overhead press, which is great if you want big shoulders, but for big triceps, you should stick to extensions.
If you are using a single dumbbell, hold the weight 'sideways'. So, as opposed to gripping the handle, you want to hold the plate on one of the sides. When you extend your arm, the dumbbell should be horizontal in your hand. This way, you are less likely to put unwanted pressure on your wrists. You can also use wrist support wraps (opens in new tab), if you want to.
If you are using a pair of dumbbells, use the hammer grip and try not to twist your wrist as you extend your arm.
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Skullcrusher is a gym staple exercise and about as much fun as it sounds. As the name suggests, you start off with laying back on a bench, feet on the floor, the bar balanced over your head, arms extended. Then, you want to lower the bar towards your forehead and press it back up again. Most usually, not crushing your skull is a good enough motivation to keep pushing the bar up.
Same as with the overhead extensions above, you want to keep your elbows tucked in, otherwise you might end up doing narrow grip bench presses. You can use either a barbell, an EZ bar or even a pair of dumbbells to perform a skullcrusher. When using dumbbells, use the aforementioned hammer grip to hold the dumbbells.
Eat right to gain right
Nutrition and rest is equally as important as doing the exercises correctly. You won't tone or build muscle mass if you are not feeding your body the right macro nutrients.
Of these, protein is the most important. Protein is essential for muscle repair and unfortunately, you can't build up a protein reserve either, meaning you will need to keep on consuming it in order to gain lean muscle mass. Lucky for you, we have the perfect cheap protein powder deals list, so you can spend less and gain more (muscle):
Apart from protein, you can (and should) also take creatine monohydrate, a supplement that enhances performance as well as being one of the safest stuff you can take. Creatine has been scientifically proven to work without having any (or very few) side effects. More that you can say about that bag of Lay's you are munching on right now.
Also, don't forget to rest between workouts. Muscles grow when you are asleep, not when you are in the gym. If you skip rest, you will see results later and potentially put your body at risk by overworking it. It really doesn't worth it.