Q&A with The King of Tricep Long Head Development: Steve “Poppa Pipes” Putman!

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On this site you have heard me talking about the forearms a lot and how the forearms are the most important part of the arms for making you look massive; I was wrong. The truth is that if you really want to get a wider/thicker frame while getting rid of your “torso dominant” card then you need to get your tricep long head to a serious size. This muscle will do an AMAZING job at complimenting your lats, upper back, arms and especially your shoulders, its the missing piece of the puzzle for a monstrous physique. Don’t get me wrong, forearms are and will always be badass, but the long head will always be more impressive and important for making you look big as a whole. If you want to know more about the long head then be on the lookout because by the end of summer my SilverBack book should be out which will be talking all about how to develop the essential muscles to look massive and the long head is one of them. In the meantime, I am still gathering more information about it so just stay tuned.

Today I have a special guest that I want to introduce everybody to if you guys don’t already know who this guy is. Poppa Pipes is who I like to call the king of tricep long head development because if you look at his physique you could tell that this part of his triceps is massive and he deserves the attention, the guy trains it like its life itself. Some say that it’s just genetics, but there is more to it than that. You see, Poppa Pipes is known for doing insane overhead extensions with heavy weight with a heavy dumbell to stretch out that long head. In other words, he is really big on overloading and heavy stretching principles which are two things that I’ve been talking about on this site for years. The contraction and squeeze are cool, but I personally feel like the heavy stretch is really what is going to give you the most bang for your buck so you want to put a lot of emphasis on those type of movements if hypertrophy is the goal.

Without further ado, Poppa Pipe is going to answer the most popular long head questions and hopefully you will learn something!

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How old are you and for how many years have you been training? (Also give your arm measurements flexed and un-flexed from when you started all the way up to today). 

Hello Philippe,
Hope you are doing well.
I am 48yo and have been training for over 22 years. My cold arm measurement is as of today 21.75 and flexed with a pump around 23.

 

How long have you been training with the heavy weighted stretches for and also where/who did you learn this from? Also, people say that the heavier dumbells on extensions will make the ROM a lot smaller which will make the stretch less effective, what is your take on this statement?

I created a system of training called B.L.A.S.T which stands for Ballistic Linear Accelerated Speed Training. It is 48 different exercises that stimulates a targeted muscle at a variety of different angles and range of motion changes thus creating a state of inconsistency and forcing the specific muscle to grow because of failure at each set. It is a fast twitch based format which produces a lean, aesthetic look but also promotes growth as each set is performed to muscular defeat which releases lactic acid and signals to the brain that the muscle is incapable of performing another rep. I mix heavy and light but find doing 3/4 movements at heavier weights allows you to stimulate at the insertion point of the muscle and maintain constant tension throughout the exercise.

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What do you say when people don’t believe that you are drug-free?

I actually lifted on the United States Drugfree Circuit for years so I have been drug tested for many years. I have never tested dirty in my life. I do understand others doubting the validity of size and shape particularly my arms and that is completely fine however I choose to live my life in a state of positivity so doubters only provide me with an opportunity to educate others on the art of building    a drugfree physique. I have absolutely nothing against others who choose a different path but it simply not for me.

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We saw on your IG that you do the heavy Overhead DB extensions, whats the heaviest weight that you ever went on this lift for a 5 Rep max, 10RM, 15RM and 20RM? Also, do you grab the DB with a diamond hand shape or do you grab the dumbell with one hand over the other in more of a neutral grip position?

I use a diamond palm placement on heavy DB movements and the heaviest I’ve performed at a 5RM is 230lbs. I typically don’t count reps as I work to failure but my general working zone is around 10-12RM’s in which I use a range between 110lbs and 180lbs.

Besides those heavy overhead DB extensions, what are 2 other lifts that you can go really heavy on that you credit a lot of your long head development to? Also do you ever do any super heavy one arm overhead extensions and if you do then what’s the heaviest that you ever went on them?

I was a competitive bencher and used a close grip lifting technique which I believe assisted in the development of my long head and I also perform a superset back to back routine with kickbacks straight to single overhead cable extensions for approximately 3-5mins to failure. I have performed single arm DB extensions of 125lbs for a heavy set! In addition I do overhead rope extensions in a bent over position as well to provide variety.

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Do you only apply this “overloaded stretch” philosophy to your triceps, or do you also apply it to your biceps by doing heavy incline curls to stretch out the bi’s?

I apply the B.L.A.S.T. Methodology of training to my biceps as well as my entire physique as I believe it provides a platform for rapid gains and aesthetics. I primarily do preacher curles and bent over movements for biceps.

Whats your take on heavy Pullovers with a dumbell for tricep long head development?

I actually don’t perform pullovers as I don’t feel as deep of a contraction as I do with overhead DBs .

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Do you ever get some elbow pain from all of these heavy extensions and if you don’t then what are your tips to stay injury free?

I have often been asked about elbow pain but thankfully I have never experienced any pain as I attempt to slow the movement at the bottom of the range and pause to prevent wear and tear. I have been fortunate as I have lifted heavier weights for a long period of time but I also believe that performing an inconsistent variable and range of motion change actually builds surrounding tissue strength that prevents injury.

 

How many times do you train your long head per week and do you ever do Dick Presses? (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkdvhW8TaO4)

No I have never performed Dick presses. I train arms 3 X per week M W F.

 

Do you believe that the tricep long head is the most important muscle for making an individual look big? 

Yes I absolutely believe that the Long Head of the Triceps make your arms appear and legitimize size! I also feel that tricep development in general is a must for larger arm growth as it is a 3 headed muscle group and make up the majority of size if performed correctly.

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Do you think that you’ve hit your arm genetic potential? If not then how much more size do you think you can add to them?

In regards to my arm size,  I am still adding size and definition as I am working diligently to discover additional angle changes that will allow me to push my genetics to the max so I am hopeful that I can add improvements every year. I don’t know at this point what my limitations are but I am focused on fulfilling my maximum potential. In addition I am coming out with an Arm development video series hopefully to be completed and released this year.
SUMMARY
To conclude, these are basically some of the main points that you can get from Poppa Pipes philosophies of getting a big Long Head:

-The Standing Overhead DB Two Hand Push Press should be your main long head builder that you base most of your progress on. Not to forget that you want to go HEAVY like Steve is doing (but slowly and overtime). Remember that he said he has done 5 reps with a 230lb dumbell so you want to get your overhead extension to AT LEAST 150lb for a set of 10 or so. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqFJw2Gp6Eg

-Don’t go below 5 reps on heavy extensions and I agree with this 100%, but if you have sensitive elbows then I would actually not recommend that you go under 10 reps in order for you to get more out of less weight.

-If you notice in the interview he mentioned that he pauses at the bottom to “de-load” the elbows and he also tries to slow down the eccentric. Since the DB is bigger as it gets heavier and since the ROM also gets smaller too, he compensates by slowing down the eccentric as much as he could to get a longer amount of time under tension in the overloading stretch, very smart.

-High exercise selection and a multitude of rep ranges are other things that he is very big on which makes sense because you need more than one lift for overall development and you need more than 3×10 or 4×15 too. He is also big on doing overhead single arm cable extensions for 3-5 minutes which must be amazing for really pumping and burning out that long head to the max. In other words, he is big on using methods that take the muscle beyond complete failure which is a great strategy to murdering/improving any muscle group.

-He does and has done heavy unilateral overhead extension lifts and he isn’t big on pullovers.  

-Heavy Bent Over Cable Overhead Extensions must be a staple with heavy weight. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plQtrvoWVvo

-He is very big on keeping his elbows healthy and this is very important because even in my 101 Tips for Pain-free Elbows I talk a lot about how if you want to reach your arm genetic potential then you need to keep those elbows healthy so I appreciate the fact that he is aware of that. The link for my e-book is right here if you are interested: https://www.fitworldexposed.com/ebooks/

-Last but not least, one of the other main things that we could learn from Poppa Pipes is that in order for a goal to make sense you will need a plan, determination, consistency and patience. Steve knew over 20 years ago that he wanted a huge pair of tricep long heads so he put a lot of his eggs in that basket. If you really want to achieve something in life then it is important that you stick with your goal for a long period of time because if you are constantly changing your goals then you’ll never achieve them! Steve stayed consistent since the early 90’s and he earned the name Poppa Pipes!

 

Thank you for your time Poppa Pipes! If you want to see more of him then I’d highly recommend that you add him on IG @Poppapipes 

YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvOpK72WDNFBU4n6sTZ8D3A