Biceps tend to steal the spotlight. They’re easy to flex, you see them
often, and they’re part of the default “make a muscle”
pose. But for those “in the know,” whether you’re talking about performance
or appearance, triceps are the real showstopper. Sad, neglected, over-isolated
We’re going to steal a page from Olympic lifting (an overhead press),
combine it with a powerlifting technique (a limited range of motion or ROM),
and end up with a kick-ass exercise for size and strength… the
partial overhead press.
Note: If you’re the guy who calls a lying triceps extension a
“skullcrusher” or a “nosebreaker,” you’ll probably end up calling this
exercise a “helmet press” because, if you drop the weight, you’ll wish
you had a helmet on. Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.
To begin, perform a basic, standing overhead press (military press)
using the same grip width and foot stance you’d use to do a complete
set. From the lockout position, lower the bar until it just grazes the
top of your hair, or the top of your chrome-dome for you poor, follicly
challenged lifters. Press it straight back up, and you’ve done one rep.
The complete ROM is from your scalp to your arm’s full extension…
that’s it. By keeping the movement shorter than a full overhead press,
the focus stays on the triceps, while still allowing the use of heavy
The subtle key to this exercise is to keep the bar directly overhead,
in line with the ears, as opposed to pressing slightly in front of the
body and looking upwards, like you’d do with a traditional military press.
This helps to further disengage the delts and makes the triceps work
that much harder.
This guy severely misinterpreted that last paragraph.
For a serious sleeve-stretcher, try 4×6-8 with 45-60 seconds rest. Don’t
forget that Testosteronecoach and overhead lifting guru Dan John
has written about the benefits of overhead pressing for higher reps (enhanced
shoulder stability, more ab work, and improved lockout strength), so
don’t be afraid to test yourself with 2×15-20 once in a while.
Obviously, you’ll eventually use more weight than you can military press
into position. You can certainly push press or jerk the weight to lockout,
in order to begin. Lastly, if you try doing this exercise seated or with
dumbbells, it just ain’t the same. Man up, get on your feet, and lift
the bar… the way nature intended.