Triceps Overview

Break through plateaus in your triceps development


For this 12-week video series, you’ll follow your regular workout program, reorganizing it to prioritize development of the muscles of your triceps. This includes the inner, outer and middle heads of your triceps, and I’m providing an anatomy chart and description of each muscle to help you better determine where your weaknesses with this muscle group lie.

Each week, your triceps workouts will get more challenging. I want you to put all of your effort into this muscle group, even though it comes at the expense of your chest and shoulder training, which you’ll perform after triceps or later in the week. If you need to adjust your training volume, then do so with other body parts rather than triceps during this 12-week program.

Remember that the triceps is a horseshoe-shaped muscle group, and it has three heads. Some exercises and techniques target one head over another, and it’s important that you stress all three of these muscles for more complete triceps development.

Here’s more about how the muscles of your triceps work. This, along with the anatomy chart, will help you better address the specific weaknesses in your triceps.


Your triceps lie on the underneath side of your upper arms, and they partner with your biceps to bend and straighten your arms. Triceps and biceps are oppositional muscle groups, which means, in the case of triceps, that they contract when your arms extended and stretch when your arms bend.

The outer head of your triceps brachia, also known as the long head, is the largest of the three and is the most noticeable. It also provides the greatest amount of mass, responding to growth well when you perform pressing or pushdown moves 


The inner head lies along the backside of your upper arms nearest your torso when your arms are relaxed at your sides. It has a similar shape to the outer head, and the space between them is what creates “the horseshoe” when both are impressively developed. The inner head grows well with overhead moves that stretch the triceps.


This head of the triceps is less visible, lying mostly beneath the other two. Still it is crucial for increasing overall mass. The best way to target the middle head is to include multi-joint (compound) exercises. These are exercises where you’re moving both your shoulder- and elbow-joints. Good choices include bench dips and close-grip barbell presses, which target all heads of the triceps.


In addition to beginning your week with triceps training, you should increase your calorie consumption by about 200-500 calories on and around the day when you train your triceps. Get in these extra calories in the 24-hour period that begins with the last meal of the day before and continues through your morning post-workout whole-food meal.

Here’s an example of what you should add to your Sunday night late-night meal and your consumption throughout your Monday triceps-training day.

Late-night meal:

Add one scoop of Kasein® to the one you always eat, and a piece of fruit such as a plum, apple or peach. Or you can add an ounce or two of nuts such as almonds. This will add a total of about 200 calories.

Eat one slice of whole-grain bread. That adds about 100 calories.

Get in about 2-3 ounces of brown rice. That adds about 100 calories.

Go with a very large sweet potato rather than a medium one. That adds another 100 calories.


Note that I’m “beginning” your training week with the weekend rather than ending with that. That’s because Mondays will be your “focus” day for your lagging bodypart. Since we’re targeting triceps for this 12-week training split, you not only want your triceps to be well rested, but you also don’t want to have trained your chest or shoulders for a few days before you work triceps with this level of intensity. Note that I’ve set up cardio and abs on Saturday, and active rest on Sunday so that you’re well recovered to go full out with your triceps training on Monday. Train chest or shoulders afterwards if you have anything left, or else move work for these larger muscle groups to another day, 2-3 days after training triceps. Here’s my suggested training split:

SATURDAY   Cardio/abs
SUNDAY Active rest
TRICEPS/chest *
Chest/shoulders *


* Because you’re emphasizing triceps during this 12-week Trainer Series, you’ll ease off on chest a bit on Mondays, using machines rather than dumbbells or barbells. You can also add a compound move for chest on Thursdays that also works triceps. Good choices include dumbbell or barbell presses—flat or inclined. Keep your chest training to no more than about 6-8 sets on both days where you train chest. Also keep shoulder training moderate.


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