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BIM Lab: 3 Exercises for the Tricep Muscles

In this article, we are going to be focussing on the tricep muscles! 

The triceps brachii are the muscles on the back of your upper arm – hopefully this comes as no surprise to you. The ‘tri’ refers to the three individual heads to this muscle group: the medial head, the lateral head and the long head. The long head of the tricfulleps crosses the shoulder to attach on the scapula and assists the more powerful latissimus dorsi in extending the shoulder in addition to extending the elbow.

In order to take the long head of the triceps through its full range of motion, you need full elbow flexion and shoulder flexion simultaneously, and the following exercises will help you towards this. 

1) Standing overhead tricep extensions with rope 

What will this help?

The triceps are also an essential component of upper body strength and assist in exercises such as bench press, push ups, overhead presses, and dips. We like to add in some direct tricep work to build more muscle recruitment and to ensure the triceps get loaded in a full range of motion and this is a great variation that does just that.

REPS:

  • Complete 3 sets of 8-15 reps

COACHING CUES: 

  • Note that you will be required to extend your arms fully overhead. If you are unable to, then this exercise is not for you! 
  • Set cable attachment low and grab onto rope
  • Start with elbows bent and pointing straight up towards the ceiling, palms facing inwards, and your ribs should be set (down and pulled inward)
  • Straighten arms and slowly return to starting position 
  • This can also be done with a dumbbell; however, we find it more comfortable with a rope attachment and there is less of a chance of hitting yourself in the head with a weight!
  • If you have trouble maintaining a good rib position, try completing this exercise in a seated position on a bench with back support so that you can focus on maintaining pressure in your ribs on the bench as you straighten your arms

 

2) Decline skull crushers

What will this help?

This variation will allow you to bring the tricep into a great stretch, which will allow you to build strength in a slightly greater range of motion. If you are experiencing any discomfort on the underside of your elbow please avoid this exercise variation and focus on soft tissue release of the area instead!

REPS: 

  • Repeat for 3 sets of 8-12 reps

COACHING CUES:

  • Use a decline bench set at 10-15 degrees (you can prop up one side of flat bench with weight plates if you don’t have access to a decline bench)
  • Holding onto dumbbells, bend your elbows while making sure to keep them pointing towards the ceiling (many people let their elbows lift here so be sure not to do that to keep the contraction isolated in your triceps)
  • Straighten your arms fully and think about maximally contracting your triceps

 

3) Roll back tricep extensions 

What will this help?⁣

Since many muscles cross the elbow joint (16 to be exact!) it has a very high concentration of force in a very small area. This can sometimes lead to issues in the elbow, especially if you are not considerate of programming to account for this. If you are prone to elbow pain or simply want a tricep exercise that won’t put much stress on your elbow this exercise is for you. This exercise is a combination of a pull over and tricep extension. The roll back tends to be more joint friendly not being a “true extension” because of how the movement is finished. The rolling extension also allows you to use more weight as a result of the involvement of the lats. 

REPS:

  • We suggest performing this exercise towards the end of your workout for 10-12 reps with a moderate weight, as going too heavy for low reps can be stressful on the elbow joint

COACHING CUES:⁣

  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand and lie on your back on the floor with your arms locked out above your chest 
  • Bend your elbows until the bottom of the dumbbells touch just above your shoulders (or as close as you can get)
  • Then roll the dumbbell back so that it lies flat on the floor 
  • Reverse the motion by contracting your lats and triceps simultaneously to pull your arms forward and lock out your elbows with control rather than trying to be explosive
  • That’s one rep

 


 

We hope you found this series of tricep exercises helpful and if you have any questions or want to know more about anything featured in this post, please feel free to email Andrea at andrea@balancemotion.com. 

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About the author

Andrea Lawson has been a practicing Kinesiologist since 2008 and is the founder of Balance in Motion, a training facility created for people to rehabilitate from injuries, improve athletic performance, and crush their health and fitness goals. She is passionate about providing a space where anyone can step foot in and feel both comfortable and productive no matter the injury, age, or stage they may be at in their fitness journey. With this vision, Andrea has witnessed her clients achieve goals they never thought possible, and gain unmatched levels of confidence in themselves, helping them to Go Beyond Better.

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