If you feel like you’ve got too much left in the tank before you call call it quits on your workout, you can use an uptempo finisher series to exhaust your muscles. One great way to close out your session? Using only your bodyweight.
Here, Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S and Mathew Forzaglia, NFPT-CPT, founder of Forzag Fitness, share the best finisher at the end of arm day.
“We want to be effective, efficient, and exciting with our finishers,” says Samuel, noting that no fancy equipment is needed for these moves (we use a bench in the demo, but you could easily use a couch, ottoman, or chair at home). For this series, three quick exercises help pump up your triceps, following a drop set method where each move subsequently gets a touch easier. Do each move until your form fails (a.k.a. technical failure), and then you’re done. Here’s how it breaks down:
Step 1: Elevated Bench Skull Crusher
The bench (or a chair or ottoman) adds a bit of elevation as you keep your abs and glutes tight, thinking about your torso maintaining a tight line from the shoulders through the feet as you bend at the elbows. This keeps tension on the triceps. Get as low as you can. “Now, these are tough, whether you’re new to the gym, whether you’re a bodybuilder who’s been doing this for years,” says Samuel, adding that you should ensure that your elbows get below your wrists. “This is a very aggressive position with a lot of load. Sometimes more load than you might be using in normal skull crushers when using dumbbells or a barbell because [you’re] moving a lot of body weight.”
Step 2: Floor Skull Crusher
A similar concept to the exercise above, this riff challenges your triceps in a big way, but perhaps without being quite as difficult as the elevated bench version. “Instead of having all of that range where our elbows can both go below our wrists, his elbow can only get parallel with his wrist, so, he’s not getting as much stretch or range of motion on this skull crusher,” says Samuel.
Focus on driving up and straightening your arms aggressively, flexing your triceps as you go.
Step 3: Close-Grip Pushup
For the final move, position your hands so they’re on the ground a little narrower than shoulder width and get to work on close-grip pushups. Instead of pure triceps isolation, you’ll get help from your shoulders and chest to finish aggressively. Don’t just call it failure when your arms give out—when your hips start to rise and you can no longer control your core, you know it’s game over.
“When we think triceps, we’re working with weights most of the time and that makes it not really a total body idea. But this [finisher] is a total body concept and I think you feel it just through your entire body,” says Samuel. “That’s the illusion of a great, well-crafted drop set,” he adds.
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