Maybe you’ve heard that the key to growing your arms is to train your triceps. Wondering why it seems so much easier to grow your triceps compared to your biceps?
Why Are My Triceps Bigger Than My Biceps?
First off, your triceps make up two-thirds of your arm and is made up of three different heads. The biceps only take up the remaining third and are made up of just two heads. The fact that the triceps are made up of three muscles explains why they’re so much bigger. Should they be trained differently? The answer is yes, you can train your triceps harder than your biceps and with more weight.
Differences Between Triceps and Biceps
The biceps are located on the front of the arm and provide arm flexion. There are two heads that begin at the scapula and insert just below your elbow. They are also responsible for forearm supination or turning your palms upward and shoulder elevation or raising your arm. The triceps are located on the back of the upper arm. It begins at the rear of the shoulder blade and attach to rear of the elbow. The triceps are responsible for extension of the elbow, stabilizing the shoulder, and shoulder extension. The biceps may be slightly easier to train and grow due to the different variations of curls available. And curls are really the only exercise you need to grow them. Whereas the triceps have to be hit at different angles and positions to hit the three different heads.
The biceps and triceps are antagonist muscles groups. This means that they act in the opposite direction of one another. When one muscle contracts, the other muscle relaxes or lengthens. Now that we’ve discussed these muscles functions, let’s get to the important part everyone wants to know. How do you grow them? What’s the best way to get big arms in the gym?
How To Grow Your Biceps
The best way to improve your biceps is to train them twice a week just like any other muscle group. Beginners should be able to make gains training 2-3 sets per exercise, whereas more experienced lifters may need to do 4-6. If you’re having trouble growing your biceps, I suggest incorporating super sets and drop sets. Barbell curls are very important to do once a week as they use heavier weight to overload the biceps. Make sure to do a variation of hammer curls to hit the biceps brachialis, which will give the arms a fuller look from the side. It also generates more power than the bicep and will help push up your bicep muscle, making it appear larger. Use dumbbells, barbells, different bar attachments, machines, and ropes to provide the most muscle growth.
Use lighter weight. This may sound strange, but the biceps are a smaller muscle group and you don’t need to curl one hundred pounds to grow them. Slow and proper movements will provide more gains. Make sure you are squeezing your biceps at the top of the movement and slowly returning the weight to the bottom for maximum tension. When doing a bicep curl you can slightly turn you pinky up at the top of the movement, which will cause your hand to twist outwards towards your shoulder. This will provide further muscle damage. Make sure that you’re using proper form and not swinging the weight up. Your body should be straight throughout the movement, and your forearm should flex up without moving your elbow. Try keeping your elbows pinned to your sides to help with this.
How To Grow Your Triceps
The triceps are also a relatively small muscle group and should be trained twice a week. However, they can take a heavier load than the biceps can. Compound movements can be used to overload and cause a lot of growth. The close grip bench press is a huge tricep builder, but is often done wrong, and can cause elbow pain and other issues. Your grip should be just inside shoulder width. Many people make the mistake of going too close. When the bar touches your chest, your arms should go down close beside your body. Focus on bringing your elbows in by your side and then push the bar up using your triceps. Your arms should be locked out at the top, further placing tension on the triceps.
Skull crushers are another great way to hit your triceps. They can be done by lying flat on a bench or with a bit of an incline. Do whatever feels right for you. You can use an ez-curl bar or dumbbells. Again, see what feels best for you. Lay on your back and hold the weight straight above your face. As you lower the weight just behind your head, keep your elbows in to keep tension on the triceps. Keep your elbows and wrists about shoulder width apart. Make sure that your elbows don’t flare out as this will take tension off the triceps and can lead to injury. Try to only extend your elbows, as this will keep tension off your shoulders. Start with lighter weight and focus on form before going heavy.
When doing tricep push downs, push through your palms, rather than through your fingers. This can be done more effectively by not wrapping your fingers around the bar. You should feel the movement in your triceps a lot more doing it this way. You will also notice that you can use heavier weight, leading to more muscle breakdown and growth. Switch things up and try out an underhand grip rather than overhand. This will allow you to pull the bar down rather than pushing it. This will target the medial head of the tricep, which is often overlooked or skipped. Lastly, focus on the long head of your tricep, as it is the largest and will show the most. When doing a front double bicep poser, it is the part of the tricep that hands down. Close grip bench and skull crushers both target the long head.
When growing your arms, take into consideration that the triceps take up two-thirds of the arm and should be prioritized. The biceps and triceps are not huge muscle groups and do not need to be trained with crazy, heavy weights. Proper form and muscle contraction is better.