Name: Cory Gregory
Weight: 185-190 lbs, 175 contest
Education: Exercise Specialist Degree: Columbus State University; NESTA Fitness Coach; CrossFit Level 1-Westside Barbell certified
Occupation: Co-Founder MusclePharm
Contest History: Competed in 14 bodybuilding shows over 20 powerlifting meets
Athletic Background: High School Basketball
Undoubtedly, you've been doing close-grip bench press, push-downs, and more push-downs to turn your triceps into huge monstrosities. Sure, those exercises work, but I'm here to tell you that if you want your triceps to explode, it's time to change up the mundane and add in something new.
I've compiled a list of eight exercises to really add some size and strength onto your triceps. Some of the movements are similar to what you're already doing, but I've added some unique twists and intensity-amplifiers to take those push-downs and skullcrushers to an entirely different level. Other movements may be totally new to you. Once you try them, I bet they'll become go-to exercises in your triceps workouts.
I've always tried to think outside the box and do new things in the gym. These eight insane triceps exercises are the result of that experimentation. They will stimulate your muscles in new ways and get those horseshoes to pop. Enjoy watching those triceps grow!
This is one of my favorite exercises. It stems from the prison cell workouts guys implement to get huge without dumbbells or barbells. Anytime you are a master of your own body weight, the gains will come.
To do the movement, push an incline bench against the dumbbell rack. Put both of your hands on the top of the back rest of the bench and your feet far behind you. The farther back your feet are, the tougher this exercise becomes. Lean forward so your head goes below your hands, and then press back up to the starting position. These exercises may not seem like much, but you'll be impressed with how effective they are.
Cory Gregory Bodyweight Skullcrushers
Watch The Video - 0:12
This hidden gem stems from the powerlifting community. I learned it at the famed Westside Barbell, where strong triceps are essential. To do this exercise, you'll have to focus on explosion and staying tight throughout. If you can't control the weight, you'll hit yourself in the face.
Lay on the floor and place a dumbbell on either side of your head. Grab the dumbbells and then explode them upward like you would while doing a triceps extension. As you descend, tuck the dumbbells into your front delts and make sure the entire dumbbell rests on the floor before you repeat the next rep. Doing these will put some solid size on your triceps and also help you get stronger.
Cory Gregory Dumbbell Rollbacks
Watch The Video - 0:35
PVC Pipe Skullcrushers
You don't see many people doing this movement, but I promise it's a killer. If your gym doesn't have it, buy a $10, schedule-80 electrical PVC pipe. With some mini-bands, tie kettlebells or plates to the end of each side. The PVC pipe creates a pretty unstable environment, so you'll have to work harder to perform the movement.
Stay tight and allow that unstable piece of equipment to blow your triceps up! I always get a sick pump doing this and it's been a staple for my improved bench press.
Cory Gregory PVC Pipe Skullcrushers
Watch The Video - 0:54
High-Rep 3-Board Close-Grip Bench Press
Board presses can help improve your bench press lockout. With a close grip, however, almost all the work goes to the triceps, especially as you blast off a three-board. The board placement is perfect for building triceps power, especially because we keep the reps in the 15-20 range. Focus on squeezing your triceps and locking out each rep—they'll burn like crazy.
High-Rep 3-Board Close-Grip Bench Press
Watch The Video - 0:50
Kickbacks with a Twist
I get it. Dumbbell kickbacks have a reputation for being a little, well, sissy. Don't turn away just yet. Adding a little twist into the movement will put these puppies back in your regimen.
As you push the dumbbell back, twist your thumb as high as it can go to rotate the dumbbell at the end of the movement. Make sure you squeeze at the end of the movement to hit the long head of your triceps. You can go super controlled or use a little bit of a swing. Whatever you do, focus on squeezing at the end of each rep to reap the biggest benefits.
Cory Gregory Kickbacks with a Twist
Watch The Video - 0:09
I love doing this move when I want to really push the reps.
For the first 10 reps, bring the bar down to your nose before pressing up. For the second 10 reps, the bar should descend to the forehead. For the final 10 reps, the bar should go behind your head and touch the bench.
This exercise is a great addition to your triceps routine because it hits many different angles in one set. Because you aren't resting and are doing so many reps, you'll get an enormous pump. Thirty reps is a lot, so you'll probably have to use lighter weight, but that tends to be better for your elbows anyway.
Cory Gregory Three-Way Skullcrushers
Watch The Video - 0:43
I like this method because I can add a little more intensity than I can doing regular push-downs.
You will work up to 10 reps, but with each rep you have to match it with a hold at the bottom. On the first rep, you hold for one second at the bottom. Hold for two seconds on the second rep, then three seconds on the third, and so on until you get to a 10-second hold at the bottom on the final rep. Believe me, your triceps will be screaming by that point.
Cory Gregory Rep-Hold Push-Downs
Watch The Video - 0:30
20 Full Reps, 20 Quarter-Rep Straight-Bar Pushdowns
This was a great method I grabbed from Arnold and it works wonders—hardly surprising since it came from the Austrian Oak himself. Still, I love incorporating it into my routine because it takes regular push-downs to another level.
After grinding out 20 reps of straight-bar push-downs, do 20 more quarter-reps at the bottom of the movement. You may not be able to move your arms after that, but the pump and the benefits are insane!