Written by Billy Diconcini
05 October 2006


Jay Cutler

The Ultimate Beef!

By Billy Diconcini

Jay's Three-Headed Monster


Remember way back when all you ever heard about were biceps? As a kid, you asked your dad to flex his muscles and sure enough, it was peak city (hopefully). Well, soon enough pecs made their way into the vernacular of mainstream society largely due to the meteoric rise of a former champion bodybuilder turned Hollywood action star with an accent that could only be likened to Dracula. Following on the heels of biceps were lats, and of course, the obsession of millions everywhere, abs, better known as the famed six-pack. Now, you can add triceps to the list. After all, they're the biggest muscles of the arms and readily on display from virtually every angle.

Titanic triceps account for more total mass to the upper arms than their famous counterparts, biceps. Huge, thick triceps are mandatory in every pose, especially when standing relaxed. Whether you're onstage or hanging out in a bar wearing your favorite skintight T-shirt, they can be seen from the front, back and side angles with arms bent or hanging straight down. The formerly neglected triceps are making a strong surge to the top. Women want them tight, so they don't jiggle, and men want ham hocks hanging off the bone, threatening to rip the seams off their most flattering T-shirts. And let us not forget the sheer illumination of pure bad ass those huge 'ceps are gonna give ya. Yeah, everybody knows triceps now.



Jay Cutler, long known for his freaktown legs and medicine ball delts, has quite a hefty pair of triceratops himself. Although not widely acclaimed for his arms- even though they measure 22 inches and are complete in every aspect- a closer peep will reveal that Cutler is a bona fide card-carrying gunslinger. His side triceps pose is a winner. The outer heads are prominent even when relaxed. In the front and rear double-biceps pose, the hang of his triceps is just vicious! The long heads sweep ever so downward for that full-blown look. These horseshoes win the top prize with every toss.

Jay usually trains triceps before biceps, as they are a bigger, more complex body part that requires a wide variety of movements from multiple angles. As usual, his high volume approach is tailor made for just such an endeavor. Triceps moves are performed a tad more strictly than most other
exercises in the Cutler domain. He doesn't perform them in slow-motion, time- elapsed fashion, but he doesn't go bananas like a gorilla trying to swing dance with a chimpanzee, either. Let's walk with this giant as he takes a torch to his titanic triceps.


One From the Bottom

One of Jay's little mind tricks is to set the pin on the second to the last weight from the bottom. It's what he calls his "one from the bottom of the stack" theory. It's a mental challenge designed to make him think he can't do the whole stack. It's simply a way to get the inner motivational juices flowing, because he can definitely do the whole stack and then some. This shows that he's not an "ego-lifter." You know the type: the guy in the gym who only cares about showing the world he can use the whole stack, even though he looks like he's having a seizure. If this describes you, step back and check yourself!  All right, time to get to the exercises.



Rope Pushdowns                            5 x 8-10

Machine Dips                                   3 x 8-10

Pushdowns                                      3 x 8-12

Overhead Extensions                     3 x 8-10

Close-Grip Bench                            3 x 8-10

One-Arm Cable Extensions           2 x 10-12


Rope Pushdowns

First up are rope pushdowns. He likes to start with these, as they're tops for warming up the elbows. To keep those elbows pain free, he'll start with a couple of light sets for 20-30 reps. This gets the blood in there and the joints well-lubed for the real work to come.

Starting at chest level, he leans slightly into it to push the rope handles down to his sides. Because of the sheer mass of both his triceps and lats, it's impossible to keep his elbows glued to his sides, as we've all been told is the "proper" way to do them. Hence, you'll see his arms flared out to the sides. At the bottom, you'll note that he spreads the handles apart for that blistering contraction. This really makes those outer heads pop.

After the horseshoes are filled with oxygenated blood, he starts the real workout. Three work sets for eight to 10 reps make his arms billow out when they hang down. For his last set, he might utilize a few rest-pause reps. After getting all the reps he can, he'll release the rope handles, take a quick couple of breaths, then grind out four to five more excruciating reps. And that's just the first chapter in this saga. 


Machine Dips

Next on the hit list are machine dips. Jay prefers to remain half-standing, as this gives him better leverage. He starts with the handles around his lower pec line and commences to pile drive them to full lockout at the bottom. His head remains facing forward, keeping his body erect and negating this from being a pec movement; keep that torso up to make this a triceps blaster and not a pec pounder. One feel set followed by three working sets and he's just about ready for that skin graft to hold all that pumped beef.


Pushdowns with Bar

Back to pushdowns. This time he uses a cambered bar handle. Taking a medium-wide grip, he really leans his 300-plus pounds into it.  It's all about keeping the cable from flattening you on your ass when that whole weight stack comes up for air. The cable brushes his ear, slices down his neck and disappears in the middle of his monstrous pecs as he powers through the move. Elbows are flared wide from the body, very exaggerated. The extreme stance and elbow flare allow him to use monstrous weights and really torch them tri's. For those of you so inclined, this means the next time you're at the checkout stand checking out a hot cashier, you can lean on the counter to pop those outer triceps and watch her swoon with admiration (yeah, wake-up meathead!). One feel-set and three work sets of eight to 12 reps and his "triceratops" threaten to burst free through his skin.


Overhead Dumbbell Extensions

Jay stalks over to the dumbbells for overhead dumbbell extensions.  Depending on how he feels, he may do them one-armed or with both hands on the inside plates of a big-ass dumbbell. Today, it's a double-barreled blast. He sits on the seat of a preacher bench and uses the arm pad for back support.  The dumbbell is hefted up to a shoulder and from there straight up over his head. Both hands are on the inside of the inner plate. From here, he lowers it slowly with elbows flared out before extending his arms straight up over his head. Three work sets of eight to 10 reps work their mojo.


Close-Grip Bench Press

Now, it's time for an old standby: close-grip bench presses. He uses the standard Olympic bar and bench for these. These smack the belly of the beast, really digging at the meat of the triceps. His grip is medium close, not as close together as is traditionally demonstrated in most books and magazines. But in bodybuilding- as in life- you go with what works. Cutler feels that too close a grip puts too much strain on the wrists and elbows. Since he's been practically injury free for his entire career thus far, we take his word for it. The bar is lowered carefully to his lower chest before being exploded upward by the three-headed beast. Again, the elbows point out to the sides. Three work sets of 8-10 reps.


One-Arm Cable Extensions

Last but not least are one-armed cable extensions. Grabbing an overhead pulley, he moves his hand across his body for a fuller stretch and tighter contraction. Starting with the cable in front of him with his arm across his body so his right hand is up near his left shoulder, he pulls that handle down until his hand is at his side. It's crucial to get that peak contraction at the end. If you ain't hollering in pain, you're not getting it. He jumps right into two working sets of 10-12 reps.



A quick gulp from his gallon jug of icy, cool water and he's off to battle biceps. For now, triceps have received ample attention to be fruitful and multiply. Jay's main goal is total proportion and symmetry. Unfortunately for his competition, this means everything on this kid will be freaky. And his triceps are no exemption to the rule.