Triceps are what fills your t-shirt sleeves so if your arms are too thin to look good in a t-shirt, begin focusing on your triceps and you will not go wrong. If you’ve been working out for a while now, you’ll benefit by adding some or all of these exercises to your arm workouts.
What you need to know about tricep muscles is that they consist of three heads – lateral, medial, and long head. Each of these muscles are responsible for 3 movements – elbow extension, shoulder extension and shoulder adduction. Therefore to fully train the triceps you have to perform these 3 movements.
Here are 4 exercises that will have you perform these movements and let you focus on the triceps.
This is a great compound exercise that hits triceps and the chest. While you hit all three heads, there’s a lot of focus on the lateral movement (the lateral head). You can even make it harder by adding weight to your dips. Make sure you’re doing the exercise correctly, keep the shoulders locked back and lean a little forward, focus on the eccentric movement by lowering down slower and exploding up.
While it’s a great exercise, it does have some drawbacks. First of all, it may be too hard for you if you’re just starting out because it heavily relies on the chest muscles too. Secondly it restricts some joint movement (specifically in your shoulders) and can lead to discomfort if you have weaknesses in these areas.
This may be the best exercise for the triceps because it allows free joint movement and hits all three tricep heads but with more focus on the medial head. I would also recommend dumbbells instead of the barbell for full range of the muscle movement. Try to reach back as far as you can behind your head as you lower the weights to really hit the medial head and focus on the extension.
Make it harder with an incline bench if you need to.
Overhead Tricep Extensions
Moving on to the isolation exercises that focus more on the long head – the biggest and strongest part of the triceps. While all tricep exercises hit it, overhead extensions allow you to put more weight directly on the long head. It also activates the lateral head because it’s connected with shoulders and all you have to do is to raise your arms up. As a drawback it puts really a lot of pressure on the shoulders, so if you have problems with that, you can skip this exercise and move on to the next.
This exercise works the triceps in a similar way as the overhead extension except with less pressure on the shoulders. Out of all isolation exercises this is perhaps the most effective allowing you to really crack down on the triceps. When performing the exercise, make sure your elbows are locked and all movement goes on only at the elbows.
By changing the distance to the cable, you can control the time when your triceps are hit the most. If you get close to it, you will feel the most resistance in the beginning. I would recommend keeping some distance so that the peek resistance is at the peek extension.