First, the Function and Anatomy of the Tricep
Plain and simple – You want bigger arms! The Tricep muscle is a larger muscle than the bicep muscle. Use the 5 Best Muscle Building Triceps Exercises in this article to help you achieve your goals.
Disclaimer – Although I am a Certified Personal Trainer, I am not YOUR Personal Trainer. This article is for informational and educational purposes only and does not establish any kind of personal trainer-client relationship with me. I am not liable or responsible for any damages or injuries resulting from or related to your use of this information. You should consult a physician, a nutritionist, or a registered dietician prior to starting any workout or nutrition program.
The Function of the Triceps Muscles
The triceps muscle is the largest muscle in the arm, and they are primarily responsible for straightening the arm.
The Anatomy of the Triceps Muscle
The Lateral Head
This head is located on the outside of the arm. The origin is on the top of the Humerus Bone, and the insertion point is at the elbow.
The Medial Head
The medial head lies underneath the lateral head, and it can only be seen close to the elbow. The origin is also on the back of the Humerus bone, and the insertion point is at the elbow.
The Long Head
The long head, unlike the lateral and medial head, has an origin point at the Scapula but also has an insertion point at the elbow.
The Muscle Fibers
Notice the direction of the muscle fibers in the illustration above. Make sure you are following the fibers when you are contracting the muscle. Visualize contracting the muscle from insertion point to origin while keeping a slow tempo. Because the three heads have different origins, the fibers are going to be running in different directions. Because of this, the rotation of the hands and arms is important for hitting a certain head.
Warm up and Stretch the Triceps
You should always warm up and stretch the Triceps muscle prior to exercise. By doing so, you will less likely pull a muscle. This is a very important step, so don’t skip it!
The 5 Best Muscle Building Triceps Exercises
The Lateral Head
Triceps Pushdown with Ropes – Great for that U-Shape Tricep Muscle
The Triceps Pushdown can be utilized for all three heads depending on the position of your hands and which bar you are using. To hit the lateral head, I would suggest using a rope. Stand in front of the machine, activate your core, lean slightly forward. Use a moderate to lightweight. Now position your hands close together, and push the weight down. Turn the ropes in at the bottom of the contraction. Make sure you go slow and contract. I want you to feel the contraction in the lateral had; this is key to building this head.
The Diamond Pushup – Grow the Lateral Tricep Head
This is a great exercise to grow the lateral head.
Begin by assuming the position of a pushup. Instead of focusing on the chest, you will be working on the lateral head, so go slow and concentrate on that muscle. Keep your abs activated, and tighten up your glutes. Keep your shoulders packed (lowered and back). Now, put your hands together with your index fingers and thumbs touching. Your hands should be forming a diamond shape. Your elbows are going to be outside of your hands. Now, do a pushup. Focus on contracting the lateral head. Go slow and control the motion when doing the pushup
If you cannot do these in a regular push-up position, then it is definitely ok to get on your knees.
The Medial Head
The Reverse Grip pushdown with One Hand
You will want to use a cable machine for this exercise, or you can use resistance bands. If you have not used resistance bands, and you would like more information, then check out my article, Best Tool to Have to Retain Muscle TIll Gyms Open. Position yourself in front of the cable machine. Keep your abs activated, chest up, and slightly bend your waist.
You will be using a single handle. Reverse your hand, and take a hold of the handle. Keep your elbow stationary to your side. Push the weight down, only using your elbow. Go slow and control the motion. You need to focus on the medial head.
The Long Head
I have found that the Skull Crushers exercise is by far the best exercise to grow the long head. You will be using a weight bench and an EZ curl bar with your desired weight. I would suggest using light to moderate weight first until you get a hang of the exercise. We want to focus on quality reps here. Begin by lying down flat on a bench as if you were doing a bench press. Bring the curl bar to your chest and push it up. Now, extend the weight from the elbows to the head. Your arm should be slightly angled back. 1 You can allow the bar to be lowered towards your forehead.
Triceps Cable Kickback with One Arm
You will notice in some of these exercises that I prefer to use one arm exercise instead of two. Over the years, I have found that I can really focus on the muscle of one arm rather than try to do both. This exercise uses a cable machine. Put the cable at the top of the machine. Bed over at a 45-degree angle, grab the handle on the cable machine. Isolate your shoulder by packing your shoulder (bring your shoulder back and down), and push the weight away from your body.
I prefer to do biceps, triceps, and forearms all in one day. Having big arms is a must for having a great frame. Many think that building big biceps is the solution; but, it’s not the overall solution. If you are interested in building your biceps, check out my article, 5 Best Muscle Building Biceps Exercises. The Triceps muscle is a bigger muscle, so treat it that way! As a personal trainer, I consider these exercises to be the 5 best muscle building triceps exercises. If you have any questions, or if you want a custom workout, please check out fitmanfitness.com and contact me.
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