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How to get ripped triceps: A workout for getting cut

The ultimate guide to getting truly ripped triceps.
Written By  James Jackson
Last Updated on 2nd May 2022
A shredded bodybuilder showing how to get ripped triceps

If you want to learn how to get ripped triceps, then you're in the right place. This guide will help you to get the triceps cuts that you desire by providing arm-building advice and a full workout routine.

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How to get ripped triceps

Getting ripped triceps isn't complicated if you're willing to put in the effort. All you need to do is build enough muscle for your tricep cuts to look good and then remove some body fat from around your arms.

Lower your body fat level

A shredded bodybuilder flexing his ripped triceps

It doesn't matter how well-developed your triceps are; if your arms are covered with excess body fat, then you'll never have cut triceps no matter how hard your train.

Now, do you need to get bodybuilder-level lean to have ripped tricep muscles?

No, you don't. Most men tend to store relatively little body fat on their arms anyway in comparison with their stomach, so bringing your body fat down to a moderately low level is usually enough to get those triceps cuts popping.

Of course, getting shredded triceps means putting your body in an energy deficit so that you can drop fat. This usually entails reducing your calorie intake, but you can also create an energy deficit by burning extra calories. Indeed, it's often best to do both by increasing your activity level and eating in a small to moderate calorie deficit.

Develop all three tricep heads

A fitness model showing all three heads of the triceps brachii muscles

The long head of the triceps is arguably the most important triceps muscle for looking lean because, being located on the outside of your arm, it's the most visible of the three tricep heads.

However, if you really want that horseshoe muscle, then you need to develop all three heads of the triceps.

To work the long head, you need to do exercises where your shoulders are either in flexion (overhead and lying tricep extensions) or in extension (kickbacks). This is because the long head is the only tricep muscle that crosses the shoulder joint, so it's not all that active when your shoulders are in a neutral position, such as during pushdowns.

Don't worry about building the medial head because it's active during every tricep exercise that you perform, whether you want it to be or not.

Lift in all the rep ranges

A ripped bodybuilder demonstrating how to get cut triceps

When bodybuilders used to tell you how to get cut triceps, they'd often recommend high-rep training to make the muscle leaner.

However, as we now know, muscle is just muscle. In other words, all muscle is lean, and you can't make muscle tissue any more shredded by doing high reps.

Still, doing high-rep tricep exercises can definitely give you a temporary boost in vascularity, which will make your triceps look leaner and more impressive.

Additionally, high-rep training—especially on a set-by-set basis—usually works your triceps with more volume than low rep lifting, which can actually lead to higher levels of muscle growth, meaning that your triceps will look better once you remove some of the body fat.

Doing high reps also burns more calories than low reps, which will help you to expend more energy and thus indirectly sculpt ripped tricep muscles.

A ripped tricep workout to get cut

A weight lifter performing a ripped tricep workout to get cut

This ripped tricep workout is intense because it attacks your tris from every angle and with a variety of muscle-sculpting rep ranges.

Getting cut tricep muscles obviously takes weeks and often months, but if you perform this session consistently (1-2 times per week), then you'll be doing everything in your power training-wise to get those tricep cuts.

Rest 1-3 minutes between sets or until you feel properly recovered. For the final exercise, which is a superset, I haven't specified rep ranges because the idea is to train until you only have 1-2 reps left in the tank.

You can train to failure, but you'll likely be able to do more training volume (the main driver of muscle growth) by leaving 1 or 2 reps in reserve on most of your sets.

1: One arm dumbbell overhead extension — 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps

2: Rope pushdown — 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps

3: Tricep kickbacks — 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps

4A: EZ lying tricep extension — 3-4 sets

4B: EZ close grip bench press — 3-4 sets

Conclusion: How long does it take to get tricep cuts?

A ripped bodybuilder with very impressive tricep cuts

Now that you know how to get ripped triceps, the next question is probably how long will it take?

The answer, of course, depends on a few things.

The higher your body fat is right now, the longer it will take you to get cut triceps.

The more developed your triceps are now, the better your tricep cuts will look when you get lean.

In general, most lifters can see significant improvements in their physique in 6-12 weeks; fat loss results happen much faster than muscle gaining results. So be patient and don't drop your calories too low in an effort to get ripped triceps as quickly as possible.

References

  1. Reynolds, G. (2021a, July 7). How Weight Training May Help With Weight Control. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/07/well/weight-training-exercise-control.html
  2. Hosie, R. (2021, March 22). The weightlifting rep-range rule is a myth — here’s how you should work out to build muscle and strength. Insider. https://www.insider.com/weight-lifting-rep-range-rule-myth-how-train-build-muscle-2021-3
James Jackson
James Jackson is a personal trainer who uses his expertise in strength and conditioning to create helpful workout tutorials that show fitness enthusiasts how to build muscle while staying safe in the gym. He draws on the latest sports science data as well as tried and tested training techniques to get the best results for his clients without them having to live in the gym.
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