Jay Cutler is a retired bodybuilder, IFBB (International Federation of Bodybuilding) pro, and four-time Mr. Olympia Winner. Competing at the highest level of bodybuilding, Cutler has pushed his body to its absolute limits, crafting a physique nothing short of remarkable.
Known for his signature arms, big triceps have become synonymous with Cutler. A physique like that isn’t easily attainable without phenomenal nutrition and a rigorous training regime, which is something that doesn’t make sense for the average gym-goer, logistically speaking.
However, with a decent training program and a steady progressive overload, you too can blow up your triceps like Jay Cutler.
1) Seated Tricep Extensions
This is a popular exercise that offers great muscle contraction and does an impeccable job at isolating your triceps, adding the most load on them and allowing the long head of your triceps to grow optimally. Jay Cutler believes this to be one of the best exercises to add size to your triceps.
- For this exercise, find a bench that allows you to sit upright, preferably without any back support, and then find a dumbbell in a comfortable weight range.
- Next, lift the dumbbell vertically over your head and support your chest from moving back and forth by stabilizing it with your vacant arm.
- Slowly start to take the weight down, over your head and towards your lat region, making sure to contract your muscles, focusing on keeping them stable.
- Do this for 8-12 reps with each arm for 3-4 sets, with a minute’s rest in between sets. You can also perform a dual-arm variant of this exercise.
2) Close-grip Dumbbell Press
The Close-grip Dumbbell Press, otherwise known as a crush press, is a variation of the bench press designed to hit your triceps. It can be performed either with a dumbbell or a barbell, as they both offer great muscle contraction and tricep growth.
Unlike the traditional bench press, which mainly employs the chest, the close-grip press engages the triceps, taking the load off the chest while still keeping the deltoids active. As an all-rounder, this exercise works great because whilst primarily using your triceps to press, it also keeps the chest and shoulders active.
3) Tricep Kickbacks
This is an efficient exercise that targets all three heads of your triceps – the long head, medial head, and lateral head. Kickbacks are fairly easy to perform and are generally more accessible to beginners looking to add some muscle to their triceps. Kickbacks are versatile and convenient as you can just do them while standing.
- To perform this exercise, spread your feet out wide and bend your knees.
- Keep your back straight and your core engaged.
- With your engaged arm, perform a back and forth motion, keeping your vacant arm on standby for support.
- Don’t swing too much; keep the movement controlled and slow.
4) Dumbbell Skull Crushers
Skull crushers are a great and underrated tricep-building exercise. They’re often overlooked by newcomers in favor of fancy machines and don’t quite get the attention they deserve. Dumbbell skull crushers provide the ability to hyper-extend your triceps safely, offering a range of motion that most other exercises cannot provide.
Like other exercises on this list, try to stay slow and stable and control the reps to ensure a smooth set. Start light and work your way up, instead of ego lifting. As Jay Cutler himself says, bodybuilding is not about lifting exceptionally heavy weights; it is about the amount of stress you can put on your muscles, causing them to grow most efficiently.
5) Vertical Dumbbell Dips
As per Jay Cutler himself, dips are the best way to gain mass on your triceps. While he doesn’t enjoy performing them for his chest, he feels the opposite way about dips as a means of blowing up your triceps.
Dips offer a stellar range of motion whilst engaging your core, chest, and shoulders. To perform weighted dips with dumbbells, simply swap out plates for dumbbells and you’re good to go.
6) Close-grip Dumbbell Push-up
If you’re working out at home and dumbbells are all you’ve got, don’t panic because you can do a lot more with dumbbells than you imagine. Diamond/close-grip push-ups are already a great way to build mass in your triceps, and using dumbbells only accentuates that.
- Place your dumbbells vertically on the floor
- Use the top of the dumbbell to serve as a platform for you to do close-grip push-ups.
- The elevation and lack of direct contact with the ground will add a degree of resistance to your close-grip push-ups and build great triceps.
7) Dumbbell JM Press
The JM press is another marginally known compound tricep exercise that often goes under the radar. Being a press, it engages your triceps and shoulders, but primarily trains your triceps. It essentially works as a subsidiary of both the close-grip bench press and skull crushers. It combines the merits of both exercises to give you optimum tricep growth.
- For this exercise, aim to land the weight in the chin region, a happy medium between the two exercises this one is derived from.
- A JM press not only builds muscle in your triceps, but also allows you to lift more and can be worked into a program for those looking to build strength in their triceps and chest.
Building massive and well-rounded triceps like Jay Cutler requires years of dedication and muscle maturity, alongside an adequate training program. But if you’re working with limited equipment, don’t let that limit you. You can build substantial muscle with just a pair of dumbbells and work your way up to building the triceps of your dreams.
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