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The Best Exercise For Big Triceps

big tricepsThe triceps account for about 2/3rds of the size of your arms.

If you want big arms, you better work them correctly to stimulate growth.

This exercise will recruit MORE FIBERS and ignite MORE GROWTH than anything else out there. Don’t delay in putting this one into practice!

The following exercise allows us to meet the 2 criteria for maximal muscle fiber recruitment:

(1) Working along the path of the muscle’s function

(2) Resistance throughout the movement, especially at the peak contraction point

We already know how to maximize growth stimulation for the biceps, so let’s finish the BIG ARM section by looking at the triceps.

The function of the triceps is twofold:

  • To straighten the arm (from a position of elbow flexion)
  • To bring the arm down towards the body

All tricep exercises pretty much work with these functions to a more or lesser degree. However, most tricep movements (especially in a lying-down position) do NOT have effective resistance at the peak contraction point.

The best way to fully stimulate this body part is with Cable Kickbacks.

I’ve prepared the following video to show you how to perform this AWESOME exercise.

(If you found this video helpful, please give 5 stars on the YouTube page. Thanks :) )


* As you extend at the elbow joint, also move the arms away and behind the body

* Pause briefly at the Peak Contraction Point

* Stand a good distance back from the pulley so that the resistance doesn’t fall off when you reach the starting position. The cable should be pulled tight throughout the whole rep.

* Your stance is a matter of choice. You can adopt a stride stance, like I do in the video, or stand with both feet together.

Incorporate this one into your workouts ASAP!

Sure, you might be in a little pain afterwards, but you’ll have BIGGER ARMS! :)

Stay Motivated!


P.S. Regular old dumbbell kickbacks are also good here. However the resistance is not as smooth as with a cable. Also, I have always found it nearly impossible to fully straighten the arm when using a dumbbell. Opt for cable kickbacks.

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Mark McManus
Mark McManus
Mark is now available for 1-on-1 consultations to help you take your results to the next level. Click here for more details.
Mark McManus is a trainer & author from Ireland. His work has been featured in major publications all over the world. He is the creator of the free growth-promoting workout Targeted Hypertrophy Training' (THT) and author of the NEW fat-torching system Total Six Pack Abs.
He has also created the BREAKTHROUGH arm and chest maximizer programs The Arms Blast' and 'Chest Blast' workouts.
And if you're a fan of delicious high-protein recipes to fuel your muscle growth, check out his cook book 'Buff Baking' here.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Michael February 2, 2010, 9:53 pm

    I can testify to this working very well. I have been dong this with ropes and different angles since my triceps have become so sharp they are geometric lol..

    thanks for all you do brother I dont miss an article you send, being a vetran in the art that says alot


    Michael “indy”

    do you have a facebook account Mark?

  • Tommy Stewart February 2, 2010, 10:12 pm

    Thanks for all the good info. Should I replace french curls\skull crushers with this exercise and keep tricep pulldowns? Also, when are you gonna let us in on the “how to” of your arm blast experiment? I really enjoy reading your posts. So far, using a lot of your advice, I have shed my first 3% BF (which puts me around 17%) in about a month and I am on my way to that elusive six pack.

  • Mark McManus February 2, 2010, 10:25 pm

    @Michael. That’s much appreciated man, thanks. Yes, here is my FB page…
    @Tommy. Yes, mix this with pulldowns on THT. Yes, and I will also be creating a full plan for download in the coming months. Great to hear about your success!

  • Jermondo February 3, 2010, 1:59 am

    I am an engineer and started thinking about graphs of tension change with distance lift at different points. Of course i have no clue about how the human body works but Cables have a much smoother graph and max tension is at the end of the lift,while for bench it rapidly goes down as your moment lever arm gets smaller and smaller.
    This made me get T.O elastic bands and as far as looks go I don’t touch weights. Used to have a huge ugly chest and bench over 300 couldn’t do one one arm push up. Now i can do them all day with a much better looking chest.

  • garry February 3, 2010, 4:52 am

    Thanks mark ,have been doing something like those cable kickbacks ,with dumbells so am itching to try the cabels .You have a great site well done.
    Thanks garry

  • Michael Okoreeh February 3, 2010, 5:43 am

    This site is amazing great job. I have really been seeing serious results in my arms. But I was wondering if you could give some tips on how to attack the back: the lats, traps, and lower back. I’ve been trying to work it out for a while with no real results.

  • Andrics February 3, 2010, 7:03 am

    Hi Mark I have been doing something similar but standing up straight with palm facing up, pulling down, any difference ? thanks.

  • Andrew February 3, 2010, 10:00 am

    I can’t believe you just told a guy to substitute cable kickbacks for french presses, about 50% less tricep recruitment and that’s a researched fact not just “man I really feel those!” ‘fact’

  • Mark McManus February 3, 2010, 1:54 pm

    @Jermondo. Good to hear.
    @Garry. Thanks man. Switch to the cable version if you can.
    @Michael. Thanks. I’ll be covering those areas in upcoming articles.
    @Andrics. Yes, when the tricep is fully contracted in that exercise, the cable runs almost parallel to the arm, The would actually remove some of the resistance from this point. Also, you’ll find you can generate more power with the hands pronated, not supinated.
    @Andrew. That’s not a researched fact, and I’m not promoting a “man I really feel those” fact either. If any research was conducted it didn’t utilize a cable for the kickbacks in the manner I’ve described above. At the point in a french curl when the tricep is fully contracted (the point where there is the potential for maximal muscle fiber recruitment), there is virtually no resistance. Hence, it cannot possibly be optimal for muscle fiber recruitment. As I state in the article, “All tricep exercises pretty much work with these functions to a more or lesser degree”, so yes the french curl is a good movement, I used it myself for a long time. However, the only way you’re going to approach maximal recruitment with the french curl is to decline the body – that’s always an option, especially if there is no access to cables.

  • garry February 3, 2010, 2:20 pm

    Mark am only new to ur site ,but its very interesting with the different ideas on training and diet. ill just say that i am 51yrs old and back when i was 18 i started body building and trained hard for 4 yrs ,competed in some minor contests ,and had a lot of fun with it .i have kept my self in ok condition and now i have just started to train again HARD and want to see if i can get back what i had in my youth . (may be try an old timers body building contest)A challenge but it will be a good experiment and i intend to use a lot of your training methods .You know most of the training methods are still the same like 30 yrs ago ,just seems that there has been some refinements on some of the exercises .
    any how thanks for a great site.

  • dave February 3, 2010, 5:48 pm

    mark, what would be REALLY appreciated is if for each exercise you describe that involves a machine, you present a suitable alternative (perhaps not as awesome) using a simple bench and freeweights…for example, i have no machine for the pec stuff from last week, so i’m still inclined to believe that variations on dumbbell bench exercises are the next best thing to get the pinch at the top of the contraction (versus a straight bench press bar)

    anything like this would be awesome, like a “if you don’t have a pulley, try using dumbbells” (kind of exactly what you did above, because it’s exactly what i was thinking right before i read it)

  • Keith Davis February 3, 2010, 7:18 pm

    Hi Mark
    I was thinking that this looks just like a normal dumbbell kickback… then the penny dropped – Tension all the way via the cable.
    A pal of mine loved cables because of the constant tension and I’m beginning to think that you are becoming rather attached.

    What about a bit more info on that Marcy all in one machine you use… can you negotiate a discount for all your fans?

    Just a thought.

  • Mark McManus February 3, 2010, 7:51 pm

    @Garry. Glad to have you here. Yes, muscle physiology is the same now as it was then, and will be the same in 100 years. So we can look for ways to optimize the process, but it won’t change in any fundamental sense.
    @Dave. Fair point mate. I’ll remember that from here on. When I’m done with this series and I package it into a workout, I’ll go back over all of them and offer alternatives.
    @Keith. When you look at muscle function and creating resistance, cables fit the bill most of the time. I couldn’t live without my floor pulley now. As far as discounts go, they wouldn’t give me one so it doesn’t look likely.
    Having said that, if there were a few people wanting to purchase the machine I’d be happy enough to contact them for you and see if they’d offer a discount if I sent the business their way.

  • Spencer February 4, 2010, 11:45 am


    Appreciate all the recent exercise additions; it seems clear to me that you’ve had a change in philosophy recently about the merits of free weights versus cables.

    I look forward to the update to total anabolism. When you do release an update, a request:

    Please include a little bit more specific information regarding the M.A.N.S. diet regarding what the correct ratio of protein to fat in the M.A.N.S. diet; the GLAD diet is clearly laid out, but I have not been successful in figuring out a “starting formula” for following M.A.N.S.


  • Keith Davis February 5, 2010, 10:22 pm

    Hi Mark
    Appreciate your offer but trying to organise things like that can get messy.
    I’ll have a look round at prices and see what I find.
    Many thanks