Building muscle isn’t all about lifting big weights. In fact, in many cases, lifting big weights can be detrimental to your muscle gain. If you want to build strength then you should lift heavy and use explosive movements. But if you’re trying to build size (hypertrophy) then you need to train with high volume. What’s more, you also need to ensure that you’re going through the entire range of motion and you’re not ‘helping’ yourself with other movements.
If you lift heavy weights, then you’ll be using low repetitions and explosive movements which will be great for building explosive power but not so good if you’re interested in developing size. At the same time, you’ll be cheating by using incorrect form and you’ll probably stop just before you get to the point where you’ve gone through the whole range of motion.
Lifting light is how you fix this, especially when you’re training something like the triceps. Read on to find out how you can build bigger triceps using low weights and excellent form…
The Range of Motion and Muscle Engagement
The first thing to do is to take an exercise with a light weight – probably something like the tricep push down – and then to push your arms all the way down so that your arms are completely straight. This is the point that many of us will fail to reach when we’re training triceps. Many people won’t even know what it feels like to go into full extension in a range of different exercises, so hold this position and feel what it’s like.
Also important is to make sure that it’s really the triceps you’re using. Use your mind-muscle connection to truly focus on generating the power from your triceps and not from other parts of your body. At the same time, make sure that your elbows are pointing directly back and your biceps are pointing directly forward. This way you can avoid any internal rotation of the deltoids which might take some of the focus off the triceps.
Repetitions and Cadence
The problem that many of us have is that we will start with excellent form but then go on to get sloppy as we reach higher repetitions.
One way to prevent this problem is to use what are known as ‘eccentric isometrics’. This means holding the weight still between repetitions – at the point where the muscle is relaxed and stretched. In the case of the tricep push down, that means relaxing when the arm is bent. By doing this you will remove any momentum from the movement, not only making it more difficult but also keeping the focus right where it is supposed to be. You can also try squeezing the muscle at the concentric portion of the movement to further increase the utilization of that muscle.
Now do high repetitions using a light weight. Focus on keeping the movement going to the point where you feel the burn and the pump. That’s how you will build massive triceps with light weight.