Before looking for the catch-all answer for how often you should train your triceps, it’s important to take stock of your personal fitness goals. Your training will vary greatly depending on whether you’re looking to maintain good overall health, lose weight, tone up, or simply look spectacular in a little strapless number. Triceps, the muscles located at the back of your upper arms that run from behind your shoulders to your elbows, can be easily isolated with a variety of different exercises. But, how much training is enough? Below we’ll go over some highlights for creating a triceps game plan that will help you exceed your fitness targets effectively.
General Training Recommendations
As with any other muscle group, you’ll need to stick to a careful schedule to avoid overtraining and increasing the risk for injury. Since most athletes know that triceps are larger than biceps, they mistakenly assume that they should their triceps harder. However, your triceps help whenever you train your chest and shoulders, thus receiving a triple whammy without enough recovery time. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), triceps should be trained at least twice per week on non-consecutive days.
Triceps are actually relatively small muscles, so you should keep your repetition range between eight and 12. If you’re doing chest or shoulder exercises too, you should take this down a notch further. One set per muscle group is typically enough for strengthening, but two to three sets can be more effective when there’s time in your busy schedule. Scheduling your high-volume triceps training sessions just two days per week will be appropriate for seeing results.
Toning and Strengthening Your Triceps
If you’re looking to train your triceps for added muscle strength and sculpting, you’ll likely need to complete multiple sets with resistance training. Completing two to three chest exercises while working out your triceps two days per week will tone you up rather quickly. You should train with a range of eight to 10 repetitions, but add more sets up to a maximum of 12 per workout.
For example, your chest routine might include completing three sets of dumbbell chest flys and three sets of chest presses. Adding in two sets of cable push-downs and dumbbell extensions will adequately cover your tricep muscles too. As you get stronger, you can slowly increase the number of sets and increase the weight you’re lifting to beautifully tone your arms.
Burning Excess Fat and Calories
Weight training for your triceps can also help you speed up your metabolism and burn more calories for melting away your body’s excess fat. Not only will adding triceps exercises to a full-body workout two to three times per week increase the number of calories you’re annihilating, but it will also work magic at improving your cardiovascular health and physical endurance.
For the best weight loss results, you’ll likely need to do two sets of chest and triceps exercises three days each week with a repetition range from 10 to 15 each. Keep your rest periods relatively short at less than 30 seconds to really keep your inner furnace hot to burn fat. You may want to consider using a dumbbell chest press machine and the overhead triceps extension to easily target these muscles from the get-go.
Importance of Rest Periods
Remember that patience is the key to developing the triceps muscles you desire without over-stressing the muscle fibers and causing harm. Of course, how much rest your triceps will need varies greatly depending on your typical workout volume. The more you work them, the more damage the muscles will suffer and the more recuperation they’ll need to get stronger. If you’re tackling three or fewer sets, triceps will likely need 48 hours to recover. Any more than this will warrant up to 72 hours of recuperation.
Taking time to rest is nearly as important as completing a high-quality arm workout because the muscle fibers can’t endure constant abuse without being left alone to heal. It may seem like you’re slacking off by waiting around, but it’s during your rest period that triceps truly begin to increase in strength. Don’t limit
your training benefits by overdoing it too quickly. If you’re scheduled to train your triceps and they’re still sore, go ahead and push the workout back a day for added rest.
Switching Up Your Tricep Workouts
No matter how committed you stay to your fitness schedule to train your triceps, you’re bound to hit some plateaus in muscle growth and weight loss. Since this can result in a severe loss of motivation, you’ll need to take every precaution necessary to avoid plateaus. You can do this by changing your exercise orders, your amount of rest periods, and exercise routines. This is the best approach for ensuring steady progress that won’t risk a training demise.
Luckily, there are a wide range of triceps workouts available to help you keep you and your muscles interested. From triceps dips and bench presses to skull crushers and kickbacks, there’s endless opportunities to give these muscles a workout. You should mix up your exercises so that you’re emphasizing the long, laterial, and medial heads effectively. Whenever you try out a new exercise, make sure you start with a lighter weight to learn the proper form before adding more. If you have more questions about how to train your triceps, don’t hesitate to consult with a fitness trainer.