The absolute best tricep exercises for mass are the seated dip and the parallel bar dip.
If you already realize how important it is to build up the triceps muscle group, then you will soon learn why the seated dip and parallel bar dips reign supreme.
On the other hand, if you don’t pay much attention to this muscle group, it’s time you do.
The triceps muscles comprise about two-thirds of your upper arm, and thus, if you want a bigger, stronger arm, it is crucial to put some focus into this muscle group.
Many people neglect triceps because they can’t readily be viewed, like the biceps can. You can’t have muscular, impressive arms without solidly build triceps.
When you know the best routines, and what training approaches to apply, you should not have any problem building up these muscles.
Why Isolation Routines Flop As The Best Tricep Exercises For Mass
Seated and parallel bar dips are a type of compound exercise. They work more than one joint at a time, which means more than one muscle group at a time.
This creates a big advantage over isolation (single-joint) routines such as triceps kickbacks (with dumbbells or cables) and push-downs.
In an isolation routine, the body will “allow” the triceps to get only so much stronger.
This is the body’s protection against muscle imbalance that would result if one muscle group became enormously strong (and thus huge), while the rest of the body wasn’t matched in strength development.
If the body didn’t have this protective mechanism, then isolated muscle groups would get huge from tons of isolation routines, opening the door to potential injury, such as tendon tears and muscle belly tears.
This safeguard prevents major hypertrophy (muscle-fiber enlargement) from isolation routines.
Strength increase is directly related to size increase. It’s a myth that you can’t train for both strength and size. If you want huge triceps, you must make them really strong.
In order to make them really strong, you must use progressive overload, which is a steady course of increasing weight loads over a period of time.
This fact is another reason why isolation routines will not significantly grow triceps.
Why Kickbacks Won’t Kick Up The Results
Let’s use a kickback for example, in which you are standing but bent over, one hand on the knee of the leg that’s forward, the other hand holding a dumbbell.
You start doing kickbacks, upper arm remaining parallel to the floor while the elbow extends repeatedly to recruit the triceps. Now how heavy can that dumbbell ever get?
The awkward body positioning imposes severe limitations on how much resistance these muscles can handle.
Another form of kickback is when you’re seated, holding dumbbells in both hands, above your head, and you start bending your elbows so that the weights lower behind your head.
Again, the biomechanics of this movement prevent you from using heavy weights.
If you’re not lifting heavy, you will not achieve significant hypertrophy.
In fact, if all you want are just super-hard upper arms, not necessarily bulging huge muscles, you still need to work with a resistance that feels heavy to you.
This is nearly impossible with kickbacks unless you engage in sloppy form. Push-downs as well create this problem, and in order to push down heavy loads, one must stray from proper form.
Enter Compound Routines As The Best Tricep Workouts For Mass
The beauty of compound routines like dips is that several major muscle groups are called into action.
Your body “permits” the triceps to handle very heavy loads, because the chest and shoulder muscles are part of the action. They, too, will experience muscle fiber growth.
With three major muscle groups being recruited, there won’t be much of a chance for imbalances, and hence, the potential to build impressive triceps is well within your reach.
With seated dips, you can train your upper body to move significant weight loads, even though this movement is very difficult for novices to perform when their feet are up on a second bench or stool.
Applying the principle of progressive overload, a novice can, over time, become strong enough to perform seated dips with a substantial amount of weight placed on his or her lap.
It is very possible to do these dips, for reps, with well-in-excess of 100 pounds on one’s lap.
So if you weigh 160 pounds and do with textbook form a set of seated dips with only your body weight, you’ll be moving a considerable percentage of that 160 pounds.
Now imagine if you added 100 pounds to that. That is a LOT of weight to move, with your triceps being the primary movers.
To be able to bench dip 100 pounds means you’re pretty darned strong, and you’re not going to have this kind of strength without having impressively built triceps to go along with it! So count seated dips in as a stellar routine.
The same principle applies to parallel bar dips, which are far more difficult for beginners than the seated version. It will take time to develop the strength to do bar dips for reps, without the assistance of a machine.
But remember, strength and size development are directly correlated: a linear progression. So as you increase strength, you will increase triceps density and size.
Every person who can do parallel bar dips with 135 pounds hanging from his or her waist has big, rock-hard triceps.
In fact, serious hypertrophy can be achieved even with 90 pounds of added weight.
Women And Dips
It’s naturally harder for women to build mass than it is for men.
For women seeking big mass gains, seated and parallel bar dips are her answer: They are simply the best tricep workout for mass. With enough motivation and sufficient strength training, women can master dips.
Every woman who can easily perform bodyweight-only parallel bar dips has enviable upper arms: tight and shapely.
If a woman wants to have more prominent muscles, she needs to work on getting stronger with the bar dips so that she is doing reps with weights hanging from her waist.
Dips should be part of an overall program for packing on muscle or even just acquiring a more compact, shapely appearance if mass-building isn’t your goal.
For a great program for overall hypertrophy as well as body fat slashing, you’ll find superb guidance from the No-Nonsense Muscle Building Program by top fitness model Vince DelMonte.
This 29-week program covers in-depth all the most rewarding compound exercises for maximizing body transformation.