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The best tricep finisher and tricep burnout techniques

Can you handle these intense tricep finishers and burnout exercises?
Written By  James Jackson
Last Updated on 2nd May 2022
A man doing a tricep finisher to burnout his triceps

Are you tough enough to handle these intense tricep finisher techniques?

Below you’ll find 5 of the toughest tricep burnout protocols in bodybuilding. They’ll be sure to pump up your triceps and test your pain tolerance, so make sure that you’re prepared to push yourself to new limits.

Related: Tricep superset workout

The 5 best tricep finisher exercises for the end of your workout

Here are 5 challenging tricep finishers that will make your workout much more intense. In addition to these intensity techniques, you can also do 21s for your triceps.

1. Tricep triple drop set

A man performing a tricep triple drop set

The tricep triple drop set is a simple yet brutal intensity technique that takes your triceps to failure and beyond. Essentially, you pick your favorite tricep exercise and then perform 3 consecutive tricep drops.

If you’re really hardcore, then you could even do 3 sets of this tricep triple drop set, which would be sure to spark new muscle growth if your gains have been stagnant.

Pushdowns are my exercise of choice for this tricep drop set because changing the weight is really straightforward on a selectorized stack. That said, dumbbells can work well, too, if you have access to a big rack of weights.

Avoid using barbells for tricep drops sets (unless they’re preloaded bars) because you’ll need to change the weights between drops, which completely defeats the purpose of this intensity technique.

2. Skull crushers into close grip bench presses

A man doing skull crushers superset with close grip bench press

Don’t be fooled by the convenience of this tricep finisher; it’s an extremely intense burnout technique that will flood your triceps with pump-inducing metabolites.

Start by performing skull crushers to failure (bring the bar behind your head to really stretch the long head of your triceps). Then, once you can’t do anymore skull crusher reps, immediately start performing close grip bench presses until your triceps are burnt out.

To really challenge and change your triceps, I recommend doing 3 of these sets where you start with skull crushers and immediately transition into close grip presses.

If you want, you can avoid locking your elbows out to get the best possible pump. But since locking out the elbows is the main function of the triceps, I like to go as close to full extension as I can without physically locking out my elbows.

3. Diamond push-ups into tricep dips

A man performing a triceps finisher

If you’re looking for an equipment-free tricep burnout, then this muscle-building pairing is the ideal triceps finisher to include in your workout.

The logic behind it is simple; tricep dips are easier than diamond push-ups, so you can always do dips even if you’ve reached complete failure on diamond push-ups. This enables you to keep training and pumping up your triceps beyond when you’d usually call it quits.

To make this superset into a tri-set, you can start with regular diamond or close-grip push-ups, then do them on your knees, and finally, finish the triceps burnout with bench dips.

4. The proper pushdown drop set

A weight lifter doing a tricep drop set finisher

This unique tricep drop set requires a bit of anatomical explanation. But don’t worry, it’s not complicated.

Muscles are weakest when they’re maximally contracted. For the triceps, this is when your shoulders are in extension, which is to say, behind your body.

Knowing this, you can take a tricep pushdown and extend the set by altering your shoulder position. This is easier to do during a single-arm pushdown.

So, you’ll start by doing a pushdown with your arm/shoulder behind your torso. This trains your triceps in their maximally shortened/contracted anatomical position, and it feels a bit like a kickback.

Once you reach failure in this pushdown position, do pushdowns with your shoulders/upper arm in a neutral position (neither behind nor in front of your body).

Then, once you reach failure there, bend over at your waist, move your shoulder forward into moderate flexion, and start doing pushdowns in that position.

5. Tri-set tricep burnout

A man doing a triceps burnout exercise sequence

Using the above logic, this tri-set tricep burnout combines 3 tricep exercises into one intense, extended set.

Again, we’re starting where your triceps are weakest and ending where they’re strongest so that you can keep the set going for as long as possible.

First, you’ll perform dumbbell kickbacks to failure. This movement trains your triceps in their most contracted position.

Then, you’ll do overhead extensions to work your triceps in their most lengthened position.

Finally, it’s onto close grip bench presses to work your triceps in the middle of their range of motion, which is the position in which they can produce the most force.

The verdict: Which tricep burnout is the most effective?

A man performing an intense tricep burnout finisher

All of these tricep burnout techniques will get you results if you push through the discomfort and keep pumping out reps. In other words, your effort (and consistency) is more important than finding the best tricep finisher.

That said, for convenience and overall feel, I really like doing skull crushers immediately followed by close grip bench presses. You don’t have to hop between equipment or even get off the bench, which means that you can keep the tension squarely on your triceps.

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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