If you’re chasing bigger, stronger arms, you know by now that you shouldn’t neglect training your triceps. But that doesn’t always mean you have time to pound out a host of triceps-focused exercises within your workout plan. As much as you may want those triceps bigger and stronger, there’s too much other ground to cover (think: abs, leg training, explosive moves, back training).
But if you can get one exercise in on push days, you can still create serious pump (and mind-muscle connection) for your triceps. And all you need is a set of dumbbells to do that, thanks to this triceps finisher from Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. The simple dropset pushes your triceps to the limit, taking you to total triceps fatigue over three sets.
“It’s a three-step dropset,” says Samuel, “and the first two steps are designed to annihilate you. Then it becomes about mental toughness.”
The best part: It’s versatile. The finisher relies on the triceps skullcrusher, a simple move that needs a minimum of equipment. Just a pair of dumbbells is all you need, and you won’t even need a bench. “We’re going to use the floor to help us,” says Samuel, “especially once we’re pretty much out of energy.”
- Lie on your back, feet near your butt, core tight, dumbbells held directly over your shoulders. Drive your shoulder blades into the floor and don’t let your elbows flare.
- Shift your elbows back slightly. This is the start.
- Bending only at the elbow, lower the dumbbells til they nearly touch your shoulders. press back up. That’s 1 rep. Do as many reps like this as you can.
- When you can no longer do good-form skullcrusher reps, bend at the elbows and let the dumbbells touch the ground. Rest them there for a second or two. Then press back up by straightening your elbows. Do as many reps like this as you can.
- When you can no longer do any of these dead stop skullcrushers, do close-grip presses until you can’t do any more reps. That’s 1 set. Do 3 sets.
The Triple-Dropset Triceps Finisher can fit into your workout in a variety of ways—as long as you’re always doing it as one of your final exercises. Use it as your last exercise on a push day, upper body day, or total body day. You can also use it as a lead exercise in a high-rep arms workout, letting it anchor your routine and create instant return.
Either way, aim to work with a lighter weight; this isn’t a finisher that you’ll load up and go heavy with. Your triceps will thank you for it, though.
For more tips and routines from Samuel, check out our full slate of Eb and Swole workouts. If you want to try an even more dedicated routine, consider Eb’s All Out Arms program.
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