What’s up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, ATHLEANX.com. Today we’re talking about the best exercise
you could do for your triceps. The catch is, as we’ve done this entire
series, we’re restricting our selections to those you can do with just this. Dumbbells. Look, we’re not talking sacrifices here
because the gains you can make with dumbbells are just as good as anything else if you choose
the right exercises. With that being said; what type of gains are
we talking about? There are a lot of things we could be training
for. So, I want to give you guys the best selections
for developing strength. Power. Hypertrophy with eccentric stress as the overload. A metabolic exercise combination to drive
hypertrophy as well. A total body combination which, yeah, they
do exist when it comes to triceps. The corrective exercises, since I can never
completely separate the physical therapist from the strength coach. And finally, our miscellaneous exercise, which
means something that doesn’t really fit cleanly into another category. In this case, when it comes to the triceps,
an exercise that allows the maximum shortening, or maximum contraction of the triceps. There aren’t that many when it comes to
dumbbells. You guys ready? We’re going to break them down here category
by category. We kick this one off with the category of
strength. When it comes to building strength, you want
to look for the exercises that allow you to load up with as much weight as possible, as
often as possible. So, you have to have some capacity in the
lift that you’re doing. In the case of the triceps, if I had access
to a barbell, I’d run right over to perform the close grip bench-press because we know
that’s the heavy hitter. But we also have a secondary one. One that sort of ties. That is the upright dip. Simply changing the orientation of your body
for more oriented forward, which would hit more of the chest as a vertical pushup. To one that’s more upright, placing more
of a demand on the elbows, which will impact the triceps and make that another heavy hitter. Especially because we know we can weight the
exercise. So, let’s start in reverse. If we chose the weighted exercise, we could
easily make this a dumbbell swap out because we don’t have to sacrifice the weight. As a matter of fact, instead of just using
plates you just strap a dumbbell up, like I’m showing you here. You could even do the equivalent weight and
there’s no drop off. You can get all the gains from this exercise
that you would with normally loading it with plates. The fact is, there are a couple of things
you want to focus on, not just staying more upright as you can see here. Placing more of the stress on the triceps,
but I also like to finish by opening my hands and finishing through extension at the wrist
to take the forearms out of it, placing more of that stress on the triceps. But we go back to the barbell close grip bench-press. Now, if you guys haven’t already watched
the chest edition in this series, you’re going to want to see that because a similar
selection was made. We had to decide whether or not it was just
as good to go to a dumbbell version of the bench-press, to take the barbell out of it. In that case, it wasn’t so good because
of the high demand of stability on the shoulders when you make that drop off. I made the point that 300lb bench-pressers
do not become 350lb dumbbell pressers. But when it comes to the close grip bench-press,
the interesting thing is there is a lot less of a significance in the trade off because
of the positioning of the elbows and what it mainly does to the shoulders. When the elbows are out here the stability
demands on the shoulders are much greater than they are when the elbows come down and
in for the close grip setup. In fact, it’s one-and-a-half times less
torque and stress on the shoulders and the muscles around the shoulder girdle to support
that. So you’ll find that when you go to make
the swap to the dumbbells you don’t have to sacrifice very much weight at all, which
continues to make this a viable exercise selection when you’re trying to build strength without
trying to use light weights to accomplish that goal. Guys, you have two options here. I’m going to keep them tied. You pick. Next up we move onto power. As we’ve discussed here before, when you’re
training for power it’s not just about trying to use exercises that allow you to move some
weight, but more importantly, to move them quickly. There’s a velocity component here. So, you want to be explosive when you perform
the exercise. In that case, my best selection here is the
dumbbell JM press. This is a modification of an exercise created
by JM Blakely, where we traditionally use a barbell. But again, I don’t feel there’s a significant
drop off in doing it this way. The goal here is that we want to try and be
explosive. We want to move this weight with some speed. So, we select the weight that’s heavy enough,
but still easily commanded for us to move in space. That initiation of the movement driven by
the elbows – actually, the shoulder joint itself – is allowing an object in motion
to stay in motion. We’re getting the inertia overcome by the
movement of the elbows, not necessarily by the triceps. But once we get going the triceps can mechanically
take advantage and kick in, really accelerating that weight. But I have another option, too. I have two ties to start off this video. The fact is, as I’ve pointed out in other
videos, ideally when you’re trying to train for power, if you can explode your body or
the weight through the concentric with no deceleration component – because even in
the JM press, at some point you’re decelerating the dumbbells as they reach full extension
to protect the elbows. We wouldn’t have to do that if we setup
here like this in a bodyweight, plyo diamond cutter pushup. The idea here is, there is no limitation. You’re pushing concentrically through the
ground, as explosively as possible, and the only thing that would stop you is the roof. And I don’t think you’re going to be able
to push off the ground that hard to get there. As always with power here, you want to train
sub-fatigue. So, take a series of repetitions here and
stop about three or four reps short and the same thing would happen, and apply, with the
JM press. We move on now to hypertrophy. While we know that strengthening your muscles
is a great way to create gains, we also know those gains can potentially dry up because
progressively overloading an exercise can hit a wall rather quickly. So, you need some other weapons in your arsenal. One of the best ways to do this is with eccentric
overload of the muscle you’re trying to grow. We can do that great here with the lying dumbbell
tricep extension. This is one of my favorite exercises. Period. Why? Because we can get enormous stretch on the
triceps because of the positioning of the exercise. I’m able to lay down and get my arms up
and over my head. Why is that so significant? Because we can place the stretch on the largest
portion of the triceps – that being the longhead – in the bottom portion of this
exercise. Don’t make the mistake that a lot of people
do. They bring the dumbbells all the way up until
their arms are straight up over their body. You lose a lot of tension applied to the triceps
by doing that. Always keep them slightly angled backward
throughout the entire exercise. But here’s where it gets even better. When you reach failure, we know another way
to illicit hypertrophy and muscle gain is to train through failure. Increase the intensity of your work. Go until you can’t do anymore of reps of
the lying extension concentrically and now just drop the elbows, and then flare them
out to your side to position yourself, really, at the beginning of a dumbbell bench-press. Now we can call on the chest and shoulders
to help us get those dumbbells back up to the top. Then eccentrically control the weight on the
way down. You’re looking to perform as many eccentric
only reps as possible and the only way you’re going to be able to get these dumbbells back
to the top is by calling on and utilizing the help of those other muscles. While we know that eccentric and progressive
overload are two ways to build muscle, we always know we have a third. That option is one that utilizes a lot less
weight. As a matter of fact, it could be using just
your bodyweight, as it is in this example. This is our combination of our floor dip into
our close grip dumbbell pushup. Now, the dumbbells are props in this case. They’re allowing us to maintain a neutral
risk positioning while we perform the first exercise in this combination, which is a floor
dip. The most important part of this exercise is
that we’re getting our arm back behind our body to allow for a full contraction of the
longhead of the triceps. Perform 10 reps of this and immediately jump
our body through to a close grip dumbbell pushup. Again, the risk positioning is what’s key
here, and being afforded to us by the use of the dumbbells. Then we do another 10 repetitions here. Now we hop our body through and keep going
down. This is the descending ladder. Ideally, we’re going 9, 8, 7, 6, all the
way down. But if fatigue is cutting you that short,
to the point where you can’t do anything anymore, you have two options. Number one: you can go and perform them in
even numbers only. 10, 8, 6, 4, 2; or ideally, you’ll just
mechanically lighten the exercise by dropping down to your knees in the pushups or placing
your knees in a bent position with your feet flat on the floor to perform the dip. The idea is, metabolically, in order to achieve
what you’re trying to achieve you have to be willing to go and fight through every,
single repetition once the burn starts. It’s not about just getting to that burn. If you want to achieve the gains from metabolically
stressed exercises you need to be able to push through that burn as long and as hard
as possible. This combination will allow you to do just
that. Moving on now, we have our total body exercise
for our triceps. It probably sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s
true. We have a way that we can train our entire
body and make the triceps be a driver of the movement. That’s with this overhead extension thruster. Now, you’ve probably tried the traditional
thruster before and you know that this exercise, while incorporating a heavy dose of the lower
body, is being driven at the top of the movement by the strength and power of the shoulders. But we can extend the arms up overhead in
a different way. We can let the triceps be the driver by getting
our elbows out in front of our body. The additional benefit that comes from this
exercise is going to demand proper thoracic extension. Just like it would at the top of an overhead
dumbbell squat. So, you’re getting an additional benefit
here that can fall more into the corrective, but I’ve got an exercise selected for that
as well. Speaking of that corrective, we need to know
that the tricep doesn’t just do this. It doesn’t just extend the elbow. As a matter of fact, our appreciation for
how significant this muscle is will grow as soon as we know that it has an attachment
that goes across the shoulder, onto the scapula itself, which is the longhead. It’s the largest component of the tricep
muscle. Why is that significant? Because it opens up a whole new world of exercises
that we can do to help it perform better at the job of stabilizing that scapula or getting
your arm back into extension behind your body. So, what we have here is the dumbbell devil. It might ring a bell because you’ve probably
heard me talk about an exercise called the Angels and Devils. We know that the angel comes all the way up
to the top, but we don’t need to do that if we’re really trying to focus the intent
of this movement on the triceps. We only need to go about halfway. You can see me lying down on my belly here
and getting the dumbbells of the floor. For some people that might be really, really
difficult alone. Just getting that isolate extension behind
the body, getting that arm lifted up. But you won’t be able to handle much weight
here at all if you don’t learn to incorporate the other muscles that attach to the shoulder
blade and have actions on it. Therefore, integrating muscles that prefer
to work together. It’s what we always try to do here when
we can. We can do that with this devil exercise. We get the rhomboids to participate. We get the rotator cuff to externally rotate
the shoulder, to get into position, to get those shoulders off the mat, and to keep them
off as we go through this arc. Again, you won’t be able to use the heavy
weight here, but that’s not the purpose. This is a corrective exercise meant to integrate
the triceps with those other surrounding muscles of the shoulder girdle for an all-important
purpose and, often times, one that’s underutilized. Last, we wrap up our selection here with our
miscellaneous category. Specifically, what we’re trying to achieve
that maybe we didn’t achieve as much in the other selections. That is getting full extension and contraction. Maximum shortening of the triceps. You might be thinking to yourself “How did
we not do that?” Well, any of the exercises that end with your
arms out in front of your body are not doing that. The only way to achieve this is by getting
that arm, as we just talked about, back behind your body into extension to get full shortening
of the longhead of the triceps. Here’s an exercise that gets kicked to the
curb far too often. And it’s one of my favorite ways of doing
this; the dumbbell tricep kickback. The most important thing you can do is establish
your arm in the beginning of the movement back behind your body. Then try to fight and keep it there on every,
single repetition. Look, I know as you start to fatigue those
arms are going to start to drift down, and down, and down, and want to start working
their way toward the front of your body. But at that point, you’re going to lose
one of the main benefits of what we’re trying to achieve here. Similar to getting full adduction of the chest
by crossing midline, you’ve got to keep that arm up as high as possible. It might mean using lighter weights. That’s okay. We’re generally not that strong in that
finished position anyway. But it doesn’t mean we should ignore it. You want to find an option and a way to do
that. This is my favorite way, and the best way
to do it. There you have it, guys. My best dumbbell exercises when it comes to
developing your triceps. Remember, it’s not always about just trying
to build strength or just trying to build size. It depends upon what you’re trying to train
for that will dictate the exercise selections you choose. That same level of applying science to the
selection we do is what we do in all our programs. If you haven’t already done so, head to
ATHLEANX.com right now and get the program that best matches up to your current goals. In the meantime, if you haven’t already
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I will do my best to do that for you guys in the days and weeks ahead. All right. See you soon.