The Little Black Book Of Triceps Exercises

August 27, 2012

By Bill Geiger, MA To build big arms, you need to do the basics with heavy weights, but quite often your training gains plateau as your body seems to respond, “Been there, done that.” Doing more of the same isn’t the solution. Making subtle changes in your training, including your choice of movements, is one place to start. Here are six more exercises, this month on triceps, which are slight variations of tried-and-true triceps builders. With our Black Book format you’ll also uncover insider’s tips of these hidden gems and secrets that turns each of these exercises into powerhouse movements. So flip your growth switch in your quest for bigger-is-always-better arms.

Decline Cable Skullcrusher

Power Pointer

Using a decline angles the arms — when maintained perpendicular to the floor — toward the torso vs. the flat-bench version, removing some of the emphasis from the long head while emphasizing the lateral head to a slightly greater degree. With the line of pull coming from an angle (and not directly downward from gravity), there’s constant tension on the muscle, even at the top of the movement.

Target Area

Triceps, especially the lateral head

In Your Routine

A single-joint exercise, do this anywhere from the beginning to the end of your workout. Do 3 sets of 8–12 reps.

Best Substitute

Decline EZ-bar skullcrusher

Intensity Booster

Doing forced reps with a workout partner is effective; you can also do a drop set if you have a partner who can quickly change the pin.


Attach an EZ-bar to a lower pulley and position a moderately angled decline bench about a foot away from the base, low end nearest the pulley.


Hook your feet under the ankle pads and lie back squarely on the bench, your hips and shoulders well supported.


Grasp the EZ-bar with an overhand grip just inside shoulder width. (You may want a partner to hand it to you.) Wrap your thumbs around the bar to ensure a better grip.


Hold the bar at arms’ length straight up from the floor. Your arms should be perpendicular to the floor, which would be slightly angled toward your torso (because you’re on a decline bench). The Little Black Book Of Triceps Exercises


Keeping your upper arms stationary, bend at the elbows to lower the bar slowly toward your forehead. Keep the weight under control as the bar approaches your forehead. When it reaches a few inches from your face, smoothly reverse direction. Forcefully extend your arms, pressing the bar back to the starting position. Make sure you keep your elbows in tight as you complete the move. The Little Black Book Of Triceps Exercises Excerpted from the October 2012 issue of MuscleMag.