The triceps is an underrated but very important muscle. It occupies a large part of the arm and plays an important role in training many muscle groups. We have five exercises for you to help build it up!
Although beginner bodybuilders often pay more attention to the biceps, the triceps, or triceps arm muscle, is much larger. It takes up two-thirds of the arm’s volume, so it has a big impact on its shape and strength. It is the strongest extensor of the elbow joint. The triceps work in all pressing exercises, but also in push-ups and pull-ups on a bar. A strong triceps is therefore very important for the proper development of all upper body parts.
The triceps is one of the so-called fast twitch muscles. This means that it likes big (possibly the biggest) loads with a small number of repetitions. On the other hand, heavy weights can cause injuries of the elbow or shoulder joints. That’s why it’s important to choose exercises that will expose them as little as possible. Here are our suggestions:
Reverse arm extensions
Not very popular, but very effective and technically relatively simple exercise. Position yourself as you would for a barbell row – kneel on a bench with one leg and support yourself with your arm, torso horizontal, parallel to the bench. With your other hand, fully extend your arm back, parallel to your torso, and then bend it back to a 90-degree angle. Then change sides. This exercise can be mixed with biceps exercises to engage the entire arms.
French barbell press while standing
Stand straight, grab a barbell with both hands, lift it above your head on straight arms, and then slowly lower it behind your head, bending your arms. Then return to the starting position. Keep your arms close to your head and try not to rock your torso. Draw your abdomen in. Alternatively, you can sit upright and perform this exercise alternately with one hand while gripping the bench with the other.
French barbell press lying down
Analogous exercise to the above, but in the lying position. We lie down on a straight bench as for pressing, and so we raise our arms. The grip can be wide. Then direct the barbell behind the head, bending the elbows. When the barbell is behind your head, stop the movement and return to the starting position. Do not escape with the elbows to the side, keep them straight and close to the chest. In this exercise, you need to choose the load wisely.
Lean with your arms on a bench, backwards, perpendicular to it. Straighten your legs, pressing your heels to the floor. Straighten your arms, body straight, abdomen tight, shoulder blades pulled together. Then, lower yourself down to the floor, bending your elbows (legs straight all the time). When your elbows bend to 90 degrees, stop the movement and straighten your arms back to the starting position. Sounds complicated, but it’s an intuitive and simple exercise. Just remember not to run your elbows outward.
Push-ups on handrails
So called dips is an exercise difficult for beginners, but very effective. Do not be discouraged and gradually increase the number of repetitions. It involves not only all three heads of triceps, but also pectoral, shoulder and back muscles. Grasp the bar with a neutral grip, that is, parallel to the body, with four fingers facing outward. Contract your legs, straighten your arms, and take a deep breath. Then slowly lower yourself down, bending your elbows until you feel tension in your shoulder joints. Don’t lower yourself too low, or you won’t be able to return to the starting position, and you may overload your joints. Remember – elbows close to the body!
Other popular and effective triceps exercises are:
– straightening the arms (individually or both at the same time) along the body, down at the pulley lift (engages all three heads of the muscle),
– pulling down an overhead bar (for the technically advanced)
– straightening arms on an incline bench (simple and analogous to exercise number one on our list)
– finally, barbell pressing with a narrow grip,
– classic push-ups with a narrow arm span.
With all of them, you should remember two key principles: slow, accurate execution of exercises in the full range of motion and maximum writing of the triceps with the straightened arm.
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