What's up, guys?
Jeff Cavaliere, ATHLEANX.com.
Today I want to talk to you about how to pick supersets for triceps that are going to be
There are a lot of different tricep exercises that you can use but doing the wrong ones
won’t provide the effect that I’m trying to convey to you here, today.
That is, the exercises you choose matter.
They matter a lot.
That’s because if you look at the anatomy of the triceps you have three heads here.
You have the lateral head, the medial head, and then the longhead, which is the big, beefy
area back here on the inside of your arm.
Now, the difference in the three heads is that the two – medial and lateral heads
– originate on the upper arm and they cross the elbow.
So, their only function is to straighten the elbow out.
Whereas the longhead doesn’t just cross here in the elbow, it also crosses the shoulder
to attach to the scapula.
What that means is, you can influence that longhead, depending on the position of the
Whereas the other ones only matter what’s happening here at the elbow.
Whether it’s flexed or extended.
We can take advantage of that.
We know when we’re picking straight set exercises for the development of the triceps
we can rely on those that hit more of the lateral, and medial heads.
Like, a close grip bench-press, or like a tricep pushdown because our only focus is
to have to get those elbows straightened out, and that’s the end of it for full range
But when we talk about the longhead we have a lot of exercises that will do one of two
One: either it will put our arm up over our body, which will now put that longhead on
stretch, or we know that in its complete, contracted state it’s going to be tucked
into your side, and back here behind the body.
We can choose exercises that do that.
So, if you want to get the best exercises for your triceps, in terms of super setting
them, you want to take two longhead exercises.
One that puts it on stretch, and one that puts it at peak contracted position, and pair
those up together.
Now let’s take a look at some of them.
The first one here is an incline dumbbell extension.
With the incline extension here, we’re actually getting a little bit of an additional stretch
because the bench is on that incline angle.
So, our arms can get a little further back behind our body.
You can see here, right in that position, that sweet spot that we need to be in to put
that longhead on stretch.
We want to focus here.
Now, you’re going to go through a complete range of motion on this exercise.
However, if you’re going to cut it short a little bit, what people tend to do is, they’ll
cut the stretch, and they’ll go more through the contracted position.
Here, I would recommend if you’re going to do anything, focus more on the stretch
because that’s what we’re trying to take advantage of here in this exercise.
We immediately go, when we drop it down into the exercise that I always say we need to
bring back; it’s the kickback.
The kickback is one of those rare exercises that gives us the chance to actually put that
longhead in its fully contracted position with our arm tucked really close to our body,
and back behind our body to extension.
You can feel the contraction here.
I like the fact that all we need to do is do one, simple dumbbell switch.
The weight that we used before, we just drop it in half, and we can face ourselves down
on the bench, and go right into this without having to rest.
The second one is now one we can do on the pushdown machine.
Again, very little rest in between because we don’t have to do much to transition between
Which is another benefit of selecting the right exercises for a superset.
Here we have a drop push away to start it all off.
It’s not just concentrating on getting the rope away from our body.
Again, we’re trying to take advantage of the fact that if I just let my upper arms
drift on every rep just a little bit more back, behind my body, I can get a better stretch
on the longhead of the triceps with every, single rep.
We’ll immediately turn around, change, and alter the stack of the weight – whichever
way you have to – and perform what I’ve now covered many times on this channel before;
the rocking pushdown.
The advantage to the rocking pushdown is, we can take advantage of the strength curve
on a push down, and make sure that we’re applying peak tension to the triceps both
in the beginning of the exercise, and also at the end.
That’s one of the limitations on the exercise if you don’t perform it in this way.
By getting in nice and close I can have the cable perpendicular to my forearms.
That applies peak force to my triceps in the beginning range of motion, but by then rocking
backward I can get that force to be applied still to the triceps in that peak contracted
More importantly, look what’s going on.
I can get those arms back behind my body.
So, once again tucked, and once again into extension back, behind the body.
Meaning, the longhead gets that peak contraction, once again in this exercise.
By pairing these two up and having minimal transition time between them I’ve got another
winner, in terms of supersets.
Finally, if you’re looking for a bodyweight option here all you need is a bench.
What we can do here is start with this bodyweight tricep extension.
Again, look what’s going on here.
By getting in this position here, as soon as my arms and elbows get up in front of my
body, and over my head, we’re putting that tricep on stretch.
All you have to do to reinforce that is, if I were to ask you to stretch your tricep,
most of you instinctively go like this, and grab, and hold on, and pull.
We know that we’ve got to get that arm up, and away.
That’s what we’re doing here with the bodyweight tricep extension, but all we have
to do to finish this off is get into it’s completely contracted position and turn around
and do a bench dip.
Now, a few things to note here, guys, I’ve covered this before on this channel…to minimize
the impact this might have in a negative way on your shoulders, get your hands to face
out rather than forward.
Then when you go down, make sure you’re sticking your chest out, and keeping your
You don’t want your shoulders rounded out, forward, which could put a lot of stress on
the inside of your shoulder joint.
Keep them rolled back.
You can see perfect position here for having our arm back in extension behind our body.
Then when we go down and fully contract our triceps here, we get that really nice, solid
So, it’s another perfect combination with an easy transition time, nice and quick, and
efficient utilization of the equipment with a single bench, and your own bodyweight.
Now let’s say you’re looking for that one combo, that bonus combo because you’re
very, very short on time, and you want to hit these things hard.
We have one combo here.
It’s probably the ultimate tricep superset.
We’re going to take that longhead though a stretch position and a contracted position
on the same exercise and do it twice in back to back exercises.
We can do that with this kneeling tricep pushdown.
When we get down to the ground by virtue of being lower, that means we can allow our arms
to get higher in the starting position.
Immediately you should be able to see that those triceps – that longhead specifically
– are now put on stretch.
With every, single rep when we return to this position, we’re allowing ourselves to get
that stretch, which we don’t do when we’re just doing a static, regular tricep pushdown.
But when we come down and come out of that kneel and push down, we can now get those
arms back toward the sides of our body, and if we can, even a little bit behind the body
to now take that into the fully contracted position.
The one thing you want to be careful of here is that you’re actually initiating all this
movement with the extension of the elbow, and not just pulling down with your lats,
allowing that to take over.
If you just have that focus on the triceps doing the extension, you’ll be able to eliminate
that common flaw.
And you’ll feel the benefits of this exercise by being able to take it through both its
stretch, and its contracted state.
But we’re not done because this is supersets, right?
So, we now take this and go right over to a barbell we have setup here to do our barbell
It’s going to look a little like that bodyweight tricep extension that I just showed you, but
it’s allowing us to roll the barbell out, which takes the arms up, and away from the
body, putting that longhead on stretch.
Again, when we come back we’re going from an elbow bent position to now, as we come
back, and over the top of it, we have a straight elbow – a prerequisite here for training
the triceps – and getting the lateral, and medial heads as well.
But now because our body is up, and past the arms, and the elbows are traveling tight,
and behind the body we can hit that longhead once again.
These two exercises are very rare in the fact that they allow us to take that longhead through
its full range of motion, and by virtue of pairing them back-to-back with each other,
we get that ultimate superset.
Guys, the point is this: you don’t want to overlook the big exercises and their importance
when it comes to building the strength, and the mass in the triceps.
But when you are looking at the complete development of the triceps you have to appreciate the
fact that the longhead has two opportunities to hit it and hit it in much different ways.
One: in a stretch position up, over your head.
And two: down at your sides.
So, for me, when we’re looking for pairing together supersets, those are the ones you
want to hit back-to-back to hit both functions because you’re going to have to do them
with different exercises.
One final point.
You might say to yourself “Well, I’ve done exercises where I’ve gone from a close
grip bench-press into a tricep pushup and I’ve felt that they’re really, really
But what that is to me is a drop set because you’re doing the same action.
You’re working the same mid-range of the tricep, neither taking your arms up here,
or back behind the body.
So, it’s more of a mid-range exercise.
They’re both capable of building, but again, it becomes more of a mechanical drop set.
You burn out on the tricep close grip bench-press, so you go to the floor, and you continue that
same range of motion, but with lighter weight because you’re using your bodyweight instead
of the barbell.
And it acts more to continue the set.
Not as a superset with two different exercises.
I hope you guys found this video helpful.
Again, start incorporating some of these in this way and I promise you, you’re going
to see better results from your tricep training.
If you’re looking for more step-by-step plans on how to put the science into what
you’d do because it matters, guys.
It’s not just about the exercise selection.
It’s about the sequencing of how you do these things as you just saw.
We put it all together for you in our ATHLEANX training programs, over at ATHLEANX.com.
In the meantime, if you’ve found this video helpful leave your comments and thumbs up
Let me know what else I can cover for you in the days and weeks ahead and I’ll do
that for you.
All right, guys.
See you soon.