DECLINE DUMBBELL TRICEPS EXTENSIONS
MRI studies show this to be the most effective exercise for recruiting
all three heads of the triceps. Position your body in a supine position
on a decline bench, hooking your feet under the padded rollers. Lift the
dumbbells overhead in bench-press fashion. Your grip should be semi-supinated
so your palms are facing each other.
Begin by keeping elbows pointed directly upward. Lower the dumbbells until your forearms make contact with your biceps. At this point, the dumbbell plates will probably be in contact with your shoulders. Lift the dumbbells back up to the starting position by extending your elbows, keeping their position in space fixed. Elbows should be the only active joints during this exercise.
Your starting weight will be somewhere between what you can lift on close-dip bench presses and on lying triceps extensions. Grasp the bar with a 14-inch grip. From a supine position on a flat bench, lift the barbell off the rack and hold it at arm's length. Lower the barbell to your upper chest by bringing your elbows down and forward as you lower the bar.
In the bottom position, your forearms should be in contact with your
biceps and the bar should be in contact with your upper chest. Now, reverse
the movement, pushing the bar upward from your chest. Extend your elbows
to just short of lockout to maintain tension on your triceps.
Use parallel or V-shaped dipping bars, preferably the latter. Use as
narrow a grip as possible without compromising shoulder integrity. Grasp
the bars and boost yourself until you're stabilized over them at arm's
length. Lower yourself until your biceps make contact with your forearms.
At the bottom, press back up by extending your elbows. Elbows should go
only to 98 percent of full extension. Stay as upright as possible throughout
the range of motion. If you can't lower yourself under control until your
biceps make contact with your forearms, perform decline close-grip bench
presses until you have sufficient arm strength. At first, your body weight
will probably suffice as the means of resistance. As you get stronger,
progressively increase resistance by holding a dumbbell between your legs.
Or, hook a plate to a chin/dip belt.
TEN-DEGREE DECLINE CLOSE-GRIP
Do these as you would close grip bench presses, but perform them on
a decline bench with your feet hooked under the padded rollers. The angle
of declination should be set at 10 degrees. It's best to have a partner
help you unrack the weight.
From a supine position, lift the barbell off the rack and hold it at
arm's length. On the descent, bring the bar to the lower portion of the
sternum. On the ascent, as soon as the bar is four to six inches above
your chest, concentrate on pushing the bar back toward the uprights and
moving your elbows under the bar for greater leverage. Extend your elbows
only to about 95 percent of lockout to keep tension on the triceps.
SEATED HALF PRESSES IN POWER RACK
Set up an adjustable incline bench inside a power rack. The angle of
inclination should be 80-90 degrees. The seat portion should be angled
upward so you will not slip off. Set the pins at hairline level.
Unrack the bar. Lower the bar to the pins, but maintain slight tension
on the working muscles. Hold the bar in this dead-stop position for the
duration of the pause. Do not release the tension. Press the bar upward
to complete the movement. All the while, your elbows should be pointing
outward. Dead-stops of from two to four seconds in the bottom position
are best. Recommended tempo is 2210 or 3210, depending on arm length.
ONE-ARM DUMBBELL SCOTT-ZOTTMANN CURLS
Use a seated Scott bench. Have a partner hand you the dumbbell. Using
a supinated grip (palms facing ceiling), curl the dumbbell to the point
just before tension on the elbow flexors is lost. At this point, pronate
your forearm completely, so your palm is facing away from you. When you
lower the weight, the biceps brachii will have an ineffective line of pull,
thereby shifting the load to the underlying brachialis and the brachioradialis.
Make sure elbow flexors are fully stretched in the bottom position of
the eccentric range before you supinate your wrist to begin the next rep.
To enforce this, your forearms should make contact with the padded surface
of the Scott bench at the end of the eccentric range.
PAUSED, STANDING, MID-REVERSE-GRIP EZ BAR CURLS
Grasp an EZ Bar with a shoulder-width, semi-pronated (overhand) grip
(the second bend away from the center of the bar). Curl the bar until the
tops of your forearms make contact with your biceps.
Do not swing the bar or flare your elbows to complete the movement.
For maximal isolation, support your shoulder blades with a Swiss ball.
SEATED DUMBBELL ZOTTMANN CURLS
Grasp two dumbbells and sit at the edge of a flat bench, or better
yet, one that supports your lower back and allows you to lock your feet
With arms fully extended downward and dumbbells in the bottom position,
palms should face forward. To prevent recruitment of forearm flexors during
the concentric phase, curl the dumbbells with palms up and wrists cocked
back. At the top (forearms in contact with biceps), pronate your forearms
(rotate hands so palms face away from you). At the same time, straighten
From this point, the exercise is identical to the eccentric portion
of a reverse dumbbell curl. Keeping wrists in a neutral position with palms
facing away, lower the dumbbells in a controlled manner. Keep your elbows
glued to your sides throughout. If your elbows flare out, your brachialis
muscles are weak in relation to your biceps brachii. Decrease the weight
so you can do the exercise correctly.
SEATED OFFSET-GRIP DUMBBELL CURLS
Sit on a regular bench and hold the dumbbells with an offset grip-
that is, an asymmetrical grip in which the thumb side of your hand rests
against the inside surface of the dumbbell plate. This grip increases the
involvement of the short head of the biceps upon wrist supination. Start
with your wrists semi-pronated ( i.e., as if holding a hammer) and curl
the weight to about 40 degrees of elbow flexion. Then, supinate your wrists
(turn palms up) and complete the curling movement. Your forearms should
touch your biceps.
CLOSE-GRIP BARBELL SCOTT CURLS (PREACHER CURLS)
Use less resistance than you would on standard curls. Set the height
of the seat so the tops of your thighs are parallel to the floor. It's
best for your lower back if the seat is angled downward.
Sit on the Scott bench and grasp the barbell using a supinated (palms
up) grip, with your little fingers four to six inches apart. Your arms
should be outstretched so your triceps are in contact with the padded surface.
Initiate the movement by bending your elbows. Curl the barbell to the
point at which your elbow flexors are just about to lose tension. Then,
reverse the movement. Make sure your elbow flexors are fully stretched
in the bottom position. Keep your wrists cocked back throughout the full
range of motion.