Firstly we have to look at the tricep muscle and understand what we are working with before we delve into training it. It is found on the back of the arm and works on an opposite motion to the biceps. It’s primary function is extension which basically means it straightens our arm, but it can also work as a stabiliser muscles in smaller movements such as writing. Whilst most people tend to focus solely on their bicep muscles it may intrigue you to find out that actually the tricep is a larger muscle than the bicep and consists of three heads.
The longest head of the muscle runs down the back of your arm it originates at the scapula. The medial head is positioned in the midline of the triceps and lies deeper than the other two. Lastly the lateral head lies on the outside of the arm and this is usually the part of the muscle you see and the part that tends to stand out. You may feel a slight yawn coming on as I give you this information, however, it is extremely important as if you do not train all three heads of the triceps your muscle will not only be out of balance but it will not gain its full strength potential.
Most people tend to work on the lateral head and forget about the other two. The exercises I have provided for you will encourage you to work on all three heads for an all rounded tricep workout!
For the long head skull crushers work well. You can use a bench or the floor for this exercise. Make sure that you engage your core throughout the exercise and keep your lower back in contact with the surface you are lying on at all times. Select a suitable dumbbell for the exercise. Remember you are working on a relatively small muscle so don’t go too heavy to begin with.
- Start by holding the dumbbell with both hands in a vertical position above your chest keeping your arms straight.
- Slowly take the dumbbell down behind your head only flexing the forearms and keeping the elbows in a fixed position.
- Breathe out then return the dumbbell to the starting position.
For the medial head the close grip bench or dumbbell press is a great exercise. Again you need to set up on a flat surface preferably a bench. Choose your dumbbells or weight on the barbell wisely. It is better to do your first set lighter and increase then go too heavy and end up losing your form. Keep your core engaged throughout like in the skull crushers.
- Pick the dumbbells off of the floor and place them on your thighs. Lie backwards slowly and press them over the chest palms facing towards each other.
- Slowly lower the dumbbells to your chest keeping them in close proximity to one another. Elbows should be brushing your rib cage.
- At the bottom of the repetition the dumbbells should not touch your chest.
- Breathe out contract your core even more then return the dumbbells to the starting position.
Lastly for the lateral head perform some tricep dips. These can be supported if you do not have the strength to perform them without. This exercise needs to be performed with care to avoid tension going into the shoulders and neck. It should be performed on two parallel bars that are approximately shoulder width apart.
- Raise yourself up so that your arms are straight and the parallel bars are below you.
- Slowly lower yourself down keeping your torso upright and your elbows close to your body to make sure your triceps are working fully.
- You elbows should bend to a 90 degree angle.
- Take a deep breath out then return to the starting position.