If you really want to have your triceps feeling the burn, look no further than JM Blakley’s Ultimate 6-Rep Triceps Workout.

This isn’t going to be your average burn. This one’s going to be a slow burn.

You need to do a triceps extension at the slowest you can possibly move without stopping but still being able to contract your muscles. Pay close attention to the attachment (a rope attachment was used in the video), your muscles (or your client’s muscles), and the weight stack.

WATCH: I am JM Blakley

This should be a smooth movement at every part. Resist ratcheting and pausing. There is no stopping. If you stop by accident, start it back up.

During the first rep, “tune in” to your muscle. The second rep will be the hardest and most painful and requires the most discipline. The third rep is easier because there’s so much pain on the second rep that there’ll be an endorphin release so it won’t hurt as bad. You’ll be more fatigued, though.

Don’t forget to breathe and do not speed things up.

“This requires discipline to hold your technique, to hold your speed, and to not to do a rep, but to be doing a rep. It’s more important to be doing this rep than it is to have done it.”

When you’ve pulled the attachment all the way down, your triceps should be completely straight. Flex isometrically as hard as you can. The motion in the muscle should almost be invisible.

“There is nothing but a tricep.”

Check the weight stack for movement; you’ll be able to see if it’s ratcheting. If you’re the one doing the movement, you can look at the stack, but you’ll be feeling it more in your muscles.

“You’ll have to go past tired if you want to improve.”

Rep 2 is where the rubber meets the road. You’ll be tempted to go faster than the first rep. Don’t do it. Go slow and steady. You’re building discipline and tolerance to pain. Think of it as building up your toughness by refusing to give in to pain. There are several ways to deal with the pain, though; you can try to mentally block the pain or “go into the pain.” This exercise is a great opportunity to experiment with different techniques to continue to train with pain.

Notice how on the way back up of the second rep Jessica’s arm starts to shake. That’s means it’s becoming difficult because the fibers that she started with are completely fatigued, and now the motor pattern is much more confused because it’s new; they’re getting to new fibers that she doesn’t usually use that are firing.

The final rep won’t be nearly as painful, but it will be tough since your muscles will be fatigued.

“There will be a surge of reward as soon as she drops the weight.”

Also, notice how JM talks to Jessica. He encourages her and tells her she’s doing a good job. He doesn’t get into her face to yell at her when she’s going too fast; instead, he gently corrects her and reminds her that there will be a reward (in this case, lunch) when she’s done with that final rep. And what a difference that makes!

This exercise is one that JM and a few others have been developing to minimize joint stress, which is one reason the weights are lighter, but the person doing it still gets in a ton of muscle work. It forces the lifter to use muscles they wouldn’t always use while doing a similar movement. And it trains your resolve and pain tolerance. Plus, it’s easier to recover from!

So, where are the other reps? They weren’t shown on the video because they’d be long and redundant, but the sets and reps are as follows:

  • 1x3
  • 1x2
  • 1x1

Remember to keep the weights light, move slowly without stopping, and do not speed up. Enjoy the burn!