Recently I was looking at old fitness publications and I came across a study that was done with ACE and the University of Wisconsin – LaCrosse. The study was lead by John P. Porcari, Ph.D. and Carl Foster, Ph.D., two big names in the fitness industry. I actually met both of them when I attended a conference at UWLAX a few years ago. Very, very smart guys who have so many degrees split between them it’s not even funny. Anytime I see UWLAX, John Pocari, and Carl Foster listed in a study, I listen.
This particular study was on the most effective and efficient triceps exercises to strengthen that pesky muscle. Eight popular exercises were tested:
Overhead Triceps Extensions
Closed-Grip Bench Press
Lying Barbell Triceps Extensions
Looking at the list, I immediately thought rope push-downs, dips and triangle push-ups. For me those have always been my go-to where I see the most results and feel the biggest burn while doing the exercise. I actually have my cardiac patients do modified triangle push-ups against a wall. You still feel a burn even with that modification.
Which ones do you think were the most effective? The top three most effective and efficient triceps exercises are:
According to the researchers, body weight exercises are more effective since you aren’t using momentum in swinging a weight up and down. My beloved rope push downs? One of the least effective. (Click HERE for the full article if you are interested). Humph!
I recently have been attending Barre class on a more regular basis. My triceps (and other muscles) have been D-E-A-D after each class.
What have we been doing? Reclined dips with small isometric moves is one of the most killer moves. Yowza! Another crazy good move? Going through Chaturanga Dandasana multiple times. All body weight exercises that leave you shaking and quaking. One thing you learn from Barre – if it’s not shaking, it’s not working! Let me tell you…I had shakes on top of shakes!
I think the take away message from this research is that you don’t need all the bells and whistles or fancy moves to get an effective workout. Body weight exercises are quite effective. Will it get you into a physique or bodybuilding competition? Probably not. But for the average person looking to tone and tighten up the triceps, these type of exercises will work. I’m still going to do the other exercises. I think variety is key. Plus, I like how the large head of the triceps muscle “pops” out when I’m doing rope push-downs. 😉
What is your favorite triceps exercise?