Tough Triceps Workout for Athletes

Are you ignoring triceps in your upper-body workouts? Try this tough tricep workout for athletes from STACK Expert John Cissik.

Tricep Flex

The triceps are an important muscle group for many sports. Heavily involved in throwing and pushing, the triceps also have a role in shoulder movements, like when you move your hand toward the floor. In addition, they make up the bulk of the arm.

Many athletes give triceps short shrift because they're in the back of the arm and less conspicuous than the biceps. But it's important to include triceps in your workouts and to be cautious doing it. Many of the isolation exercises that bodybuilders use to develop their triceps put a great deal of stress on the elbow joint. An injured elbow is not something you can afford if you want to throw, pass, punch or push something.

With that in mind, here is a comprehensive 12-week strength training program to help you develop your triceps muscles.

Weeks One Through Four

Monday

Tuesday

  • Power Clean, 3x3-6 @60-70%
  • Clean Pull, 3x6 @70-80% of power clean
  • Short sprint day (warm up, work on 5-20 meter sprints)

Wednesday

Off (conditioning if needed)

Thursday

  • Push Press, 3x3-6 @60-70%
  • Floor Press, 3x8-12 @70-80%
  • Dips, 3x12-15
  • Pull-Ups, 3x12-15
  • 3-in-1 Shoulders (10 Front Raises, Side Raises, Rear Delts; repeat 3x)
  • Biceps, 3x12-15

Friday

Weeks Five through Eight

Monday

Tuesday

  • Power Clean, 3x3-6 @60-70%
  • Clean Pulls, 3x6 @70-80% of Power Clean
  • Short Sprint day (warm up, work on 5-20 meter sprints)
  • Agility Work (10-15 minutes)

Wednesday

Off (conditioning if needed)

Thursday

  • Push Press, 3x3-6 @60-70%
  • Close Grip Bench Press, 3x4-8 @50-60% of Bench Press
  • Between Bench Dips, 3x12-15
  • Pull-Ups, 3x12-15
  • 3-in-1 Shoulders (10 front raises, side raises, rear delts; repeat 3x)
  • Biceps, 3x12-15

Friday

  • Pause Back Squats, 3x3-6 @60-70% of Back Squat
  • Lunges, 3x12-15 each leg
  • Back Raises, 3x12-15
  • Reverse Hyperextensions, 3x12-15
  • Calves, 3x12-15
  • Long sprint day (warm up, work on 40-60 meter sprints)

Weeks Nine Through Twelve

Monday

  • Pause Squats, 3x2-4 @70-80%
  • Partial Deadlifts, 3x2-4
  • Pause Bench Press, 3x2-4 @60-70% of Bench Press
  • Pull-Ups, 3x4-8
  • Seated Dumbbell Military Press, 3x4-8

Tuesday

  • Power Clean + Push Jerk, 3x3-6 plus 2x3 @60-70%
  • Clean Pulls, 3x6 @70-80% of Power Clean
  • Short Sprint Day (warm up, work on 5-20 meter sprints)
  • Agility Work (10-15 minutes)

Wednesday

Off (conditioning if needed)

Thursday

  • Snatch Pulls, 3x3-6
  • Eccentric Bench Press, 3x3-6 @50-60% of Bench Press
  • Push-Ups, 3xMax
  • Pull-Ups, 3x12-15
  • 3-in-1 Shoulders (10 front raises, side raises, rear delts; repeat 3x)
  • Biceps, 3x12-15

Friday

  • Eccentric Back Squats, 3x3-6 @50-60% of Back Squat
  • Lunges, 3x12-15 each leg
  • Back Raises, 3x12-15
  • Reverse Hyperextensions, 3x12-15
  • Calves, 3x12-15
  • Long sprint day (warm up, work on 40-60 meter sprints)
  • Agility Drills (15-20 minutes)

New Exercises

Floor Press

Floor presses are best done in a squat rack.

  • Lie on the floor so that your shoulder blades, hips and feet are in contact with the floor.
  • Adjust the barbell in the rack so that you can reach up and grip the bar while lying underneath it.
  • Grip the bar with your regular bench press grip.
  • Lift the bar off the rack.
  • Bring the bar toward your chest, as if you were performing the Bench Press.
  • When the back of your upper arms contacts the floor, reverse direction and press the bar back up.

A few pointers with this exercise:

  • Keep your hips in contact with the ground throughout the exercise (i.e., don't make it a hip thrust).
  • Don't bounce your arms off the ground. This defeats the purpose of the exercise, which is to make you stronger.
  • If you lack access to an adjustable squat rack, perform the exercise with dumbbells. The technique is the same as a Dumbbell Bench Press performed while lying on the floor.

Pause Lifts

To perform a Pause Bench Press or Pause Squat, lower the weight to the bottom position. From there, staying tight, pause for a full count (i.e., one-one-thousand), then complete the lift. With pause lifts, begin with light weight (generally 50-60% of 1RM on the Bench Press or Squat) and remember that low volume is important (generally no more than six reps per set).

Eccentric Lifts

To perform an Eccentric Bench Press or Eccentric Squat, take 10 seconds to lower the bar, then complete the lift normally. With Eccentric Lifts, begin with light weights (50-60% of 1RM on the Bench Press or Squat) and perform no more than six reps per set.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: POWER CLEAN | BENCH PRESS | TRICEPS | MILITARY | POWER | PULLS | EXERCISE | BENCH | CLEAN | PRESS | SPRINT | LIFTS | RAISES