The triceps are part of a muscle group called “Extensor Muscles”. This means that, every time your elbows are bent and your arms are extended, your triceps are involved in the movement.
The triceps are divided into three heads: Medial Head (near the inside of the body); Long Head (in the middle of the arm); Lateral Head (in the outside of the arm).
Although biceps are the pride of most bodybuilders, it’s the triceps that occupy more space on the upper part of the arm (about 60%). That’s why they should be worked as much as your biceps, especially if you want to have big arms.
If you play a sport that requires a fast arm movement, like tennis, baseball, volleyball, basketball, etc., it is important to strengthen your triceps.
Note: When you perform triceps exercises, do several types of movement. Otherwise, the muscle will get used to one movement only, and if you don’t to this, you might get injured when you perform a more abrupt movement, that goes beyond your limits. An injury in the triceps may take 6 months of more to fully recover.
The arms are used to several types of movements and effort on the daily basis. That’s why you need to give them different stimuli at the gym, where there used to be a thin line separating effort from pain. The rule is simple: to develop the arms, you need to increase the load.
READ ALSO: The best biceps exercises
Take a look at the three exercises we suggest:
It is, in fact, the most efficient body weight exercise than you can perform to hit the lateral head of the triceps. It is a complex exercise that works other muscle groups like the pectoralis major and minor, the deltoids (anterior part), rhomboids, the latissimus dorsi, etc.
How to perform it?
Put your hand on a bench (close grip). Place your feet on another bench in front of you and keep your legs slightly bent. Lower the body, until you feel a slight stretching of the shoulders. Push your body upwards again until your arms are fully extended. Don’t let your shoulders go up while you’re performing the exercise. Repeat the movement as many times as necessary.
If you want to decrease difficulty, you can put your feet on the floor. If you want to increase difficulty and intensify the exercise, put a weight strap in your thighs.
Tricep extension (sitting) with one dumbbell
How to perform it?
Sit on a leveled bench and lift the dumbbell over your head, while keeping your elbow straight and with semi-pronation. After that, lower your forearm towards the back of the upper part of the arm, keeping your elbow in a vertical position. Stretch the forearm over your head. Repeat the movement depending on the number of times you want. As soon as you complete a set, switch arms.
Pulley triceps extension (pronation)
This exercise works the three heads of the triceps (lateral head, medial head and long head). It is an easy exercise, recommended for those who are initiating weightlifting workouts. Sets of 10 – 15 reps will get you the best results.
How to perform it?
Standing and facing the pulley, hold the handle. Inhale when you’re pulling the cable downwards until your elbows block, without separating your body from the cable (ever). Exhale when you get back to the initial position.
– If you do this exercise with a rope, you’ll be working the lateral head of the triceps the most.
– If you execute the movement with your hands in pronation/supination, you’ll be working the medial head the most.
– In case you’re using a load that’s much too heavy, it is advisable to bend the body onwards so you can increase your stability.
Pekool, Tríceps com polia alta, mãos em pronação, n/d, translation and adaptation of the original version
N/d, Exercícios para tríceps, n/d, translation and adaptation of the original version
Gon, Guía de Ejercicios | Musculación, 22nd of October 2013, translation and adaptation of the original version
N/d, Os Melhores Exercícios para os Braços – Bíceps, Tríceps e Antebraços, 22nd of February 2011, translation and adaptation of the original version