Pump Up Your Triceps With This Simple Dumbbell Finisher

·2-min read
Photo credit: Men's Health
Photo credit: Men's Health

If you're chasing bigger, stronger arms, you know by now that you shouldn't neglect training your triceps. But that doesn't always mean you have time to pound out a host of triceps-focused exercises within your workout plan. As much as you may want those triceps bigger and stronger, there's too much other ground to cover (think: abs, leg training, explosive moves, back training).

But if you can get one exercise in on push days, you can still create serious pump (and mind-muscle connection) for your triceps. And all you need is a set of dumbbells to do that, thanks to this triceps finisher from Men's Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. The simple drop-set pushes your triceps to the limit, taking you to total triceps fatigue over three sets.

"It's a three-step drop-set," says Samuel, "and the first two steps are designed to annihilate you. Then it becomes about mental toughness."

The best part: It's versatile. The finisher relies on the triceps skullcrusher, a simple move that needs a minimum of equipment. Just a pair of dumbbells is all you need, and you won't even need a bench. "We're going to use the floor to help us," says Samuel, "especially once we're pretty much out of energy."

  • Lie on your back, feet near your butt, core tight, dumbbells held directly over your shoulders. Drive your shoulder blades into the floor and don't let your elbows flare.

  • Shift your elbows back slightly. This is the start.

  • Bending only at the elbow, lower the dumbbells til they nearly touch your shoulders. press back up. That's 1 rep. Do as many reps like this as you can.

  • When you can no longer do good-form skullcrusher reps, bend at the elbows and let the dumbbells touch the ground. Rest them there for a second or two. Then press back up by straightening your elbows. Do as many reps like this as you can.

  • When you can no longer do any of these dead stop skullcrushers, do close-grip presses until you can't do any more reps. That's 1 set. Do 3 sets.

The Triple-Dropset Triceps Finisher can fit into your workout in a variety of ways—as long as you're always doing it as one of your final exercises. Use it as your last exercise on a push day, upper body day, or total body day. You can also use it as a lead exercise in a high-rep arms workout, letting it anchor your routine and create instant return.

Either way, aim to work with a lighter weight; this isn't a finisher that you'll load up and go heavy with. Your triceps will thank you for it, though.

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