Developing Horseshoe Shaped Triceps

Submitted by Mr.Berg on Sun, 02/09/2020 - 12:13
Elias Petsas bodybuilder triceps

The following article was written by bodybuilding historian "Achiles Kalos" (1974) - Berg

"As the triceps muscles constitute about two-thirds of the upper arm a good plan would be to train them twice as hard as the biceps. Too many bodybuilders concentrate mainly on the biceps and seldom consider the triceps.

I know fellows who have had trouble getting their arms bigger for years, yet once they specialised on their triceps, increases were rapid.

ELIAS PETSAS, the 1972 Amateur Mr. Universe, has always given his triceps attention, and as a result his arms measure near the 19 inch mark at a height of 5 ft. 6 inches!

At the same time Elias has developed a good back, deep muscular chest with outstanding deltoids. Under the circumstances he has devoted his energies to acquiring large muscular arms. He feels that the arms will prove the major factor towards winning big titles. Of course it is no good working the arms at the expense of the rest of the body.

When training his triceps, Elias also includes Deltoid and Thigh work in the same programme. The following day he trains his biceps with the rest of the body. This enables Elias to concentrate more on his arms when he separates the biceps and triceps. 

It stands to reason that if you pump your biceps you cannot devote all your energy to the triceps. By training different groups on a split routine, Elias has been able to train his body to the best of his ability.

He trains very hard indeed and I would not recommend his routine without previous experience in triceps specialisation. As a matter of fact, I suggest you only do two groups 3 sets each.

Elias employs mostly the compound method or super set system by employing two direct triceps exercises, one after the other without the usual rest. This of course is rugged. Only after the two direct movement are done one after the other, does Elias take a brief rest.

He likes variety and feels it is important to attack the muscles from every angle. At the same time training becomes more interesting.

I am listing the exact triceps routine that Elias is presently working on.

1. Seated Barbell triceps Extensions 160lb 6 sets, 8 repetitions

2. Lying Barbell Triceps Extensions with Z Bar - 225lb 6 sets, 10 reps

3. Bent Forward dumbbell Kick-back with 65lb dumbbell, alternated 6 sets, 8 reps, with Seated Triceps Extension, using Z Bar - 170lb, 6 sets, 20 reps

4. Pulley pushdown done drome behind the back - Elias varies his grip and does about 40 reps for 3 to 6 sets. This is a rather unusual way to do pushdowns.

5. Ordinary pulley pushdown 180lb. alternated with Triceps dips with feet elevated, 200lb., each 6 sets, 10-15 reps

The routine outline is, in my opinion, severe and bit too lengthy. Therefore only attempt the first two or three exercises, starting with three sets and increase the sets only when you feel you are capable of doing so. Do not be surprised if your triceps are sore for a few days.

elias petsas triceps workout

Above Petsas illustrates the start and finish of the Lat Machine Triceps Press Down. This is one of the best triceps movements and allows cramping at the bottom by pulling back. The one arm Kick Back with dumbbells is another triceps movement that gives shape and definition to the horseshoe shape.

elias petsas benchpress

Now we see the incline bench press with barbell. This should be done with both wide and arrow grips for different effects, then the Parallel Bar Dips, most valuable for triceps work, and the triceps press on flat bench, then the standing triceps press - both excellent."