Whether you’re trying to grow your triceps to improve your physique or you want to strengthen them to help improve your other upper body lifts, you may be wondering whether or not you can train the triceps two days in a row.
So, can you train triceps two days in a row? You can train triceps two days in a row. To do so safely, you should choose different exercises and train at varying intensities each day. Training triceps two days in a row should also only be done by experienced lifters and for a short amount of time to prevent burnout and overuse injuries.
In this article, I’ll review some research studies that analyze the effects of training triceps two days in a row. I’ll also discuss the reasons why you should or shouldn’t train the triceps two days in a row and the pros and cons of doing so.
At the end, I’ll provide a sample workout routine you can do if you want to train triceps two days in a row.
Training Triceps 2 Days In A Row: What Does The Science Say?
Researchers from Australia studied the effects of strength training on back-to-back days in resistance-trained men. Although they trained more muscle groups than just the triceps, one can presume that the triceps were worked since the men followed a full-body routine.
Even though the subjects reported fatigue and soreness after the first day, their performance on the second day was not negatively affected. Researchers also discovered that training on consecutive days did not worsen the participants’ recovery.
Another study conducted by researchers from the University of Porto in Portugal found similar increases in bench press and leg press strength in two groups of subjects — one that did a full-body strength training routine on non-consecutive days and one that trained on consecutive days.
Because the participants all did a full-body routine, one can assume that the triceps were worked directly or indirectly during each workout. The results from this study suggest that you don’t need to have a full day of recovery in between workouts in order to experience strength and hypertrophy gains.
Want to get advice on programming, technique, or competing? Speak with one of our coaches.
Reasons To Train Triceps 2 Days in A Row
It was previously believed that your muscles need at least 48 hours of rest before you can train them again. But as you can see from the studies above, more recent research is debunking that claim.
However, there are several reasons why you may or may not want to train the triceps two days in a row.
1. You Can Only Train on Back-to-Back Days
You may have times throughout the year when you can only train on back-to-back days — for example, if your kids are busy with extracurricular activities, you’re in a busy season at work, or you have an upcoming vacation.
During times like these, it’s acceptable to train your triceps two days in a row. This will allow you to work out the same muscle group twice in one week so you don’t have to wait a full week to train it again.
2. You’re Already Used to Working Out Two Days in a Row
If you’ve already been following a routine in which you train two days in a row, you’ll be able to transition to a program where you’re also training the same muscle groups on consecutive days.
You may feel more tired than usual on your second training day when you first start training the triceps two days in a row. But since you’re already accustomed to working out in some capacity on back-to-back days, your body should be able to adapt more quickly to training the triceps on consecutive days.
3. You’re a CrossFitter
Even if you don’t do a lot of isolation work in your CrossFit programming, your triceps are worked indirectly through movements like push presses, ring dips, and push-ups. You may do WODs that involve the upper body muscles two days in a row, and you’re working your triceps on back-to-back days due to the nature of your programming.
4. You’re Already Eating and Sleeping Enough
Training the triceps two days in a row will require you to recover properly in between each of your workouts so your body is primed to attack the same muscle group again with just 24 hours of rest.
If you’re already consuming enough calories, sleeping well at night, and not going through any other stressful life events, you’ll be more successful and less likely to become injured when you train the triceps two days in a row.
5. You Need To Strengthen Your Triceps To Help With Your Pressing Strength
Weak triceps can limit how much you can lift in the bench press or overhead press, especially if you often fail either lift at lockout. If one or both of those lifts is lagging behind, you may need to add more triceps training into your routine.
But depending on the rest of your training schedule, you may not be able to do that extra work any other day of the week. In that case, it makes sense to train your triceps two days in a row.
For a complete list of exercises that can help increase your bench press strength, check out 16 Best Tricep Exercises To Increase Bench Press Strength.
6. You’re a Bodybuilder
Some bodybuilding plans such as the Arnold split require you to train the chest and back one day and the arms and shoulders the next day. Since many movements that work the chest also work the triceps, you’ll be training the triceps two days in a row.
Reasons Not To Train Triceps 2 Days In A Row
1. You’re Under-Recovered or Extremely Sore
There are many times when working out when you’re sore can help you feel better. But if you’re so sore that you can hardly straighten your arms, you might need to take a break. You’d be better off waiting a few days until you train your triceps again.
Likewise, if you didn’t sleep well the night after your first triceps training session or your nutrition was all over the place that day, you should skip your next triceps workout. Trying to train the same muscle group on consecutive days when you’re under-recovered can inhibit your ability to focus and perform your best in your second workout.
2. You’re New to Lifting Weights
Individuals who are new to lifting weights can recover faster and make fast progress because their bodies haven’t yet adapted to a new training stimulus. But this doesn’t mean that a new lifter should jump straight into a routine that requires them to train the same muscle group two days in a row.
Your body and mind both need time to adapt to a lifting routine and perfect each of the movements. Trying to train the triceps two days in a row when you’ve never touched a barbell or dumbbell can lead to injuries or leave you so sore and tired that it leaves you unmotivated to keep working out.
3. You’re a Powerlifter Who’s Peaking for a Meet
While one would think that you should do whatever you can to boost your bench press strength leading up to a powerlifting competition, you don’t want to overly fatigue your triceps right before your meet because you’ll be too tired to perform your best on the platform.
Instead, in the weeks leading up to your competition, you should reduce both your training volume and training frequency and increase exercise specificity — meaning you should cut back on your bench press accessories and prioritize your competition lifts.
If you have an upcoming powerlifting meet, check out more peaking strategies in the article How To Taper For Powerlifting (6 Mistakes To Avoid).
Pros & Cons of Working Out Your Triceps 2 Days In A Row
Now that you understand why you should or shouldn’t train the triceps two days in a row, let’s review the pros and cons of following this training methodology.
1. Training the Same Muscle Group Two Days in a Row Can Help Alleviate Sore Muscles
Sore triceps are common after doing a lot of isolation work, but they can also become sore after doing compound movements such as bench presses and overhead presses. That soreness you feel a day or so after a workout is called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
Gentle movement helps promote blood flow to the muscles and can help relieve the symptoms of DOMS. Doing some light tricep work after a heavy tricep day may help you feel better if your muscles are sore.
2. It Allows You To Maintain Your Fitness Routine When You’re Busy
Some people only have time to train twice a week, and those two days may fall on back-to-back days. If you fall into that category, training your triceps two days in a row will allow you to keep up with your fitness routine when you’re busy so you can fit more workouts into your schedule.
If you only have two days a week to train, check out my recommendations for how to structure a 2-day powerlifting split.
3. It Prolongs the Window of Protein Synthesis
Protein synthesis refers to the process in which your muscles produce protein, which is what helps them repair and grow after a resistance training session. It can stay elevated for as long as 24 hours post-workout.
As such, training your triceps 24 hours after you last trained them can prolong that window of protein synthesis and give you a greater muscle pump that lasts for a longer period of time.
1. You Can’t Train to Failure
Training to failure when you’re training the triceps two days in a row isn’t possible. You won’t be able to recover enough in time to have a successful training session the next day.
And if you wanted to train to failure during your second workout, your triceps will already be fatigued from the previous workout. You likely wouldn’t have the strength or energy to push the intensity on your second workout day.
2. It’s Not an Efficient Long-Term Training Strategy
Training the same muscle group two days in a row isn’t sustainable for the long term, especially if you’re also doing other types of workouts on your non-training days.
The triceps especially are involved in a lot of pressing movements. If you’re also doing a lot of chest exercises throughout the week, your triceps are being put under a lot of stress that’s not sustainable for a long period of time.
3. Your Performance May Decline Initially
Until your body adapts to training the triceps two days in a row, you may notice a decline in your performance on your second day of training. You may not be able to lift the same amount of weight or perform the same amount of reps and sets that you’re used to while your body adjusts.
Tips on How To Structure Your Back-To-Back Triceps Workouts
While you can train the triceps two days in a row, there are a few tips to follow to ensure you’re getting the most out of your workouts and training in a safe and effective manner.
1. Don’t Train at the Same Intensity on Both Days
When you’re training the triceps on back-to-back days, you shouldn’t train at a high intensity with each session. With only 24 hours to recover in between each workout, your muscles won’t be prepared to train at a high intensity again the following day.
2. Don’t Do the Same Movements on Both Days
Doing different movements on each day that you train your triceps will not only prevent you from getting bored but will allow you to effectively train all three muscles of the triceps — the medial head, the lateral head, and long head — which can help prevent injuries.
Examples of movements that train each of the three triceps muscles include:
- Close-grip bench press
- Skull crushers
- Dumbbell squeeze press
- Overhead tricep extensions
3. Spend More Time Under Tension
Slowing down your lifts and spending more time under tension can help promote hypertrophy even if you’re not lifting very heavy because you have to recruit more muscle fibers to complete each rep.
Tempo work can also help reduce your risk of injury because you don’t have to lift a lot of weight. This means you’re not putting more stress on your CNS when it’s already trying to recover from a previous workout.
An example of how you can do tempo work to train the triceps is to do close-grip bench presses and lower the bar to your chest for a 5 count or do a 3-second descent when you do dips.
Wondering if you can also train the chest two days in a row? Check out my article Can You Train Chest 2 Days In A Row? (Pros & Cons).
Sample 2 Day In A Row Triceps Program
Below is a sample triceps routine that you can do two days in a row. The first day will be your low-volume heavy day while the second day will be your high-volume light day.
On both days, you should select weights with which you can perform the suggested number of reps with good form while leaving 2-3 reps in reserve.
You’ll also notice that I only included a few exercises per workout. This is because you’re likely also training other upper body exercises in these same workouts or on separate days. Since many pressing movements also work the triceps, you’ll want to avoid fatiguing the triceps too much so you can do more pressing work throughout the week as well.
Triceps Workout Day One
- Weighted dips – 4 x 6 (or a dip alternative)
- Close-grip bench press – 3 x 6-8 @ 60-65% of your bench press 1RM
- Overhead tricep extensions – 3 x 8-10
Triceps Workout Day Two
- Skull crushers – 4 x 8-10
- Dumbbell squeeze press – 4 x 8-10
- Cable pushdowns – 4 x 10-12 (or another tricep pressdown alternative)
- Diamond push-ups – 2 x AMRAP (as many reps as possible)
Other Triceps Training Resources
- Is Bench Press Good Enough For Triceps? (Expert Opinion)
- 10 Best Lateral Head Tricep Exercises (That Actually Work)
- Can’t Feel Triceps In Close Grip Bench? Try These 5 Tips
- 8 Close Grip Bench Press Benefits (Plus, 1 Drawback)
- Blood Flow Restriction Training For Arms (Complete Guide)
- How Do Powerlifters Train Arms? (Definitive Guide)
Training triceps two days in a row can be done as long as you strategically choose your exercises and vary your training intensity. However, this is a training methodology that should only be done by experienced lifters who are already accustomed to training at a high frequency.
It’s also best to only train the same muscle group two days in a row for one or two training blocks if you’re trying to overcome a weakness in your pressing strength or physique. After training the same muscle group on consecutive days for several weeks, you should space out your triceps days for another one or two training cycles so you don’t become burned out.
About The Author
Amanda Dvorak is a freelance writer and powerlifting enthusiast. Amanda played softball for 12 years and discovered her passion for fitness when she was in college. It wasn’t until she started CrossFit in 2015 that she became interested in powerlifting and realized how much she loves lifting heavy weights. In addition to powerlifting, Amanda also enjoys running and cycling.