Tricep Strength

Discussion in 'Strength-Specific Training (SST)' started by stevejones, Feb 27, 2009.

  1. stevejones

    stevejones Member

    Under what type of environment will the triceps respond the best? The 'isolation' type tricep pushdown where you have to use light weight and rely solely on your triceps to push the bar down, or the sloppy pushdown where you use alot of weight but involve the weight of your body and your shoulders in pushing the bar down? I already do plenty of compound exercises that involve the triceps, so was wondering if I should go light and strict on the one exercise I do solely for the triceps.
  2. QuantumPositron

    QuantumPositron New Member

    First off, your back looks insane.

    I don't think there is a better. Let's analyze.

    I'm sure you'll agree that in all lifts there is a sticking point. In the first situation the triceps alone must overcome the point. In the second situation you can compensate with your body during the sticking point, saving your triceps from burning out prematurely - "in theory." This is point of consideration number 1.

    Point of consideration number 2 is the effect of other contracting muscles. It has a name, something co-contracting potentiation or something but the idea is thus: If another muscle is contracting hard, probably on the same nerve as the first, the first will get a boost in performance. So if you use your shoulder your triceps may get an increase in performance. Note that this can also be achieved with the strict isolation version of the pushdown by squeezing the bar hard.
  3. stevejones

    stevejones Member

    (QuantumPositron @ Jun. 15 2009,1:13)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">First off, your back looks insane.</div>
    Yeah, well...that's the way it USED to look, for a very short period of time, over three years ago.  I'm particularly proud of that one in my avatar because it was so hard for me to achieve that look.  This is the way it usually looks--- fat, unshaven, etc. etc. ...natural hvwt. plifter
    <div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">I'm sure you'll agree that in all lifts there is a sticking point.....</div>
    Right, I understand the basic mechanics.  I was just curious if anyone knew of any studies done which  showed that &quot;co contracting potentiation&quot; [or whatever it is] was superior to just relying on the triceps themselves with lighter weight.  Ah well, it's not really that important.  I'll continue to switch up no matter what I run across.
  4. Wildman

    Wildman New Member

    I think that isolation work should not be ignored even if it is only one exercise as you describe. I know that my arms never came around until I started using isolation work. Heavy pressing movements were not enough for me.

    Which style of lifting to do would depend upon the goal of the lifter IMO. Are you trying to maximize the stimulation of the tricep and isolate each head (As much as can be done via angles) or are you more interested in developing the synergy of the tricep, chest and shoulders in hopes to translate into power in the other lifts?

    Not sure of any studies to point you to but I do have experience to rely on. When I trained to increase my bench press as a powerlifter years ago I used the cable press, skull crushers, EZ-Bar Tricep press and close grip bench press all with explosive movements to develop the tricep. I heavily involved the shoulders and pecs but for a reason. These movements translate well into bench press power and my triceps certainly grew from it.

    Since I have given up powerlifting I have been using much more isolated movements as well as power movements like I described above. I lift the isolation movements more slowly and deliberately with a pause at the peak contraction. I have to say that the fruits of these later efforts produced more seperation of the heads as well as some striation. I do not feel that the results of the isolation of work translated well into power though.

    I looked over a log book to see what my results have been over the last few years of bodybuilding training. I found a cycle just two years ago where I heavily used isolation work with minimal power work on a full body split routine. I was using an all arms day using three isolation exercises and tried to maintain strength via close grip bench press as a fourth exercise. (Rope cable extension, dumbell kickout, dumbell tricep extension, close grip bench press where used.) I noted an increase in arm size at the end of this cycle and made good progression in all four lifts. The prior cycle I had been using skull crushers and the following cycle I again used skull crushers. The interesting thing I see is that even though I had made good progression in both size and strength in the isolation exercises from the previouc cycle, I was five pounds off of my prior PR at the peak on skull crushers at the end of the third cycle as compared to the first cycle ending PR. I did eventually match my PR but did not excede it.

    What does that mean? I dont know but I can tell you that the appearance of the muscle belly has much improved using the isolation work as opposed to the more blocky look I used to have as a powerlifter. Some is diet I am sure but I never felt striations before and I can certainly see all three heads distinctly now.
  5. Lol

    Lol Super Moderator Staff Member

    Wildman, my guess is that all the added definition/striations you are experiencing are related to body fat levels, seeing that extremely lean individuals exhibit great definition and muscle striations, regardless of their level of muscularity (check out a top level climber).

    IMO, it seems most people will experience some initial growth when adding isos to their routine (esp. if unaccustomed to doing so) because they are loading the isolated muscles more frequently and PTUT is likely to be increased. Then, like any other exercise when trying to continue to make progress, you hit the old problem of RBE, and of balancing loading, frequency and recovery.

    One thing that would be interesting to me (and which would be irrespective of any co-contracting potentiation or whatever) would be a study (for a wide range of exercises) to compare the generation of peak tension in the muscle(s) being worked with the length of the working muscle(s) at the point of peak tension and for what percentage of a rep the tension falls within 1 SD of the peak. It's 'just' biomechanics but it might be a useful way to compare the effects of different exercises - particularly isos.
  6. quadancer

    quadancer New Member

    I agree heavily with Wildman and as always, Lol.
    For me, I like to think it simple, with Lol's intimation of occasional routine changes being necessary. I think that good 'ol TUT is the measuring stick.
    I kept up strengths and some size with no iso and only compounds but made no gains.
    I switch to Wildman's style of skulls, narrowgrip bench, cable pressdowns, and French presses behind the head with a cambered bar. I'm at new gains and gaining some strength too.
    The one thing I keep in mind is not to go crazy with too many sets or exersizes after benching, since the tri's allready have time in. If I feel at all wasted or sore, I stop at two exersizes. But this is standard stuff, I know.
    As for kickbacks and such, I've never been comfortable with them or gotten results I could see. I'd rather do the heavier things.

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