When my training journey began, the gym I used was very limited in terms of equipment. This meant that I had to get creative and come up with new exercise variations so my environment didn't limit my progress.
If you're in need of some inspiration for triceps training, this feature is specifically for you. Below, I've shared my three favorite unconventional exercise variations to make your triceps evolve.
Embrace the challenge of bending your gym to your will!
Assisted Chin-up Machine Push-downs
To give my triceps a completely different variation on push-downs, I like to use the assisted chin-up machine. Using the platform generally used to kneel on, I lean my torso forward, use a close grip, and, as the name implies, simply push it down. One thing I always make sure I do is keep my elbows tucked in so it becomes a more isolated triceps exercise. I find the natural plane of motion this machine provides works all three heads of my triceps.
Due to the mechanics of this exercise, it's very difficult to stabilize my core if the weight is too heavy, so I recommend selecting a weight which allows you to reach failure in the 20-plus rep range.
After three or four sets, the pump is incredible—especially when I've pre-loaded my workout with Pre-Kaged beforehand. My mental focus is always improved after taking Pre-Kaged as well, dramatically improving my mind-muscle connection.
Close-Grip Bench Press On Chest Machine
When I've done conventional close-grip bench-press variations in the past, a lot of the tension still falls on my pecs and shoulders. I prefer to use this alternative variation to isolate my triceps and alleviate involvement from secondary muscle groups. Using a seated chest-press machine, I get a straight bar and place it across the grip area of the machine. This gives me something to press off with a close grip to modify it into a triceps-dominant exercise.
In the seat, I'll lean back slightly so that I'm able to optimize the plane of motion for triceps isolation. For this particular exercise, I'll also slow down the rep speed to make my triceps suffer more time under tension.
Seated Leg Curl Kneeling Push-down
The seated leg-curl machine is an awesome piece of equipment for triceps annihilation! To experience a totally unique contraction through my triceps, I like to kneel in front of the pad on this machine and push down from this position. The natural mechanical curve of the machine means that it gives a very strong contraction at the bottom portion of the rep. To make this as impactful as possible, I pause at full contraction.
Similar to the assisted push-down, the natural position of this exercise means it's impossible to stabilize my torso with low-rep sets, which is why I use this exclusively for 20-plus rep sets. This is perfect as a finishing exercise or as part of a superset.
Be Smarter than Your Surroundings
The triceps are naturally involved in a lot of pressing exercises when we train chest and shoulders, however to make all three heads of this horseshoe-shaped muscle grow, you need more than the same old lineup of presses and press-downs.
All three of these variations force evolution in the upper-arm musculature. They're also all perfect for dropsets to really hammer the muscle with targeted intensity. Try them for yourself!