Triceps Exercises | Photos and Instructional Guides for Arms


The triceps muscle group makes up two-thirds of the upper arm and it’s sometimes referred to as the “tri’s” by bodybuilding enthusiasts. The triceps enable the extension of the elbow joint resulting in straightening of the arm. This muscle group is also known as the triceps brachii. The name denotes the three-headed muscle of the arm. The three heads include the long head, medial head and the lateral head.

Exercise Guides For Your Triceps!

The long head is by far the largest section of muscle since it contributes more to the overall density of the triceps. The long head is located at the back of upper arm and it starts from the shoulder and scapula and ends at the elbow. The lateral head is located on the outside of the arm and when this area is well-developed, the end result is the coveted “horseshoe” shape. The medial head is covered by both the lateral and the long head and it’s only visible at the humerus. It is responsible for the extension of the lower arm at the elbow.

The long head of the triceps muscle gets stretched when the arm is overhead. The long head of the muscle is responsible for adducting your arm which means shifting your arm closer to the mid-line of the body. The long head is a flat muscle with a teardrop shaped head at the upper arm and from about three-quarter length, it points out to the end of the elbow. At the upper portion, the long head is wide, thick and fleshy and extends to the front of the upper arm. Developing the long head muscle of the triceps is the most important part for adding size to your triceps.

There are several kinds of overhead exercises which help to build up the long head of the triceps. Overhead dumbbell extensions are a great movement to target the long head. Similarly, the one-arm cable extension, or the one-arm and two-arm overhead dumbbell extension help to build the long head. The cable extension is great because it provides steady resistance. Certified trainers always caution that while performing any type of exercises when the weights are overhead, you should always use the assistance of a friend to assist or “spot” you in order to avoid injury.

The lateral head of the triceps lies on top of the upper arm and it’s function is to extend the elbow. This muscle is made of fast twitch muscle fibers which are used to generate high force, power and speed. The lateral head starts from the armpit and flattens out to the mid-arm to meet the long head. Pushdown exercises, especially when using a cable attachment, help to increase the stress on the lateral muscle. The one-arm reverse pushdown also helps to target the lateral muscle. The skullcrusher exercise, when done on a flat bench or decline bench, also helps to improve the strength and size of the lateral head. Performing EZ bar triceps extensions and dumbbell extensions also help to develop the lateral head very well.

The medial head of the triceps is covered by the long head and the lateral head, and is not clearly visible from the front. It extends from the lower half of the inner back corner of the upper arm. Although the above mentioned exercises help to develop the medial head, incorporating the close-grip bench press is the key exercise to build the medial head. Performing seated dumbbell extensions on an incline bench also helps to develop the muscles of the medial head. Bar dips are also great for improving the size and strength of the medial heads along with targeting the other two heads simultaneously.

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