This Arms Crusher Uses Tension to Build Muscle

Next time you do an arm workout, make sure to take some time to really appreciate the gains you’re making. You shouldn’t just slow down, either—Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., wants you to come to a full stop.

Today’s exercise builds up a ton of time under tension in your arms, forcing you to work through a tricep pressdown movement in a more deliberate manner than you would if you just repped through the set as quickly as possible. You’ll pause just past the midway point of your rep, which gives you the opportunity to get a more explosive squeeze to help build up your triceps.

“That pause erases the energy you generated at the start of the movement,” says Samuel. “That means your triceps essentially have to restart the motion from ground zero, creating new acceleration to finish off the pressdown. That leads to a different quality of contraction at the bottom of the rep; you should feel a strong burn in your tris.”

To perform the tall kneeling tricep tension pressdown, you’ll need an exercise band and a tall anchor like a pullup bar to attach it to—but Samuel says you can also use a cable machine if you’d prefer. If you don’t have a sturdy band, check out this option from Draper’s Strength.

Men’s Health/Eric Rosati

  • Get into a tall kneeling position beneath the exercise band or cable tower. Squeeze your abs and glutes to keep your torso strong and straight.
  • Grab the band with both hands, with your palms facing parallel.
  • Squeeze your triceps to press the band down. Once your forearms are just below parallel with the ground, pause for a count.
  • After coming to a complete stop, fire your triceps explosively to finish out the pressdown rep.

    To add the tall kneeling tricep tension pressdown to your arm day routine, try 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps. For more tips and routines from Samuel, check out our full slate of Eb and Swole workouts. If you want to try an even more dedicated routine, consider Eb’s New Rules of Muscle program.

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