Sunday, September 7, 2014

How to Extend and Strengthen your Triceps Muscles

Want to add size and strength to your arms? Or want to make sure you look nice in sleeveless shirts? Either ways; you need to put your triceps training under the microscope.

Unfortunately, triceps training is sometimes overlooked or under-estimated compared to biceps or chest training, but since triceps make up two-thirds of your arms size, it is critical to give them special attention in your training program.

Before you jump on exercises execution, knowing your triceps location, anatomy, and function is helpful for you to know how to select the right exercises that target triceps in first place, and eventually get the upper arms you desire.


Know your Triceps (anatomy and function of triceps)

Triceps Brachii is the only muscle on the back of the arm; it connects the upper arm bone to the shoulder blade to the longest forearm bone, and is responsible of the extension of the arm. Triceps in Latin means three heads; each head of the triceps muscle originates at different location, but all insert on the olecranon process of the ulna, the three heads of triceps are:

-  Long head originates at the lower edge of the shoulder blade, and function to adduct the shoulder joint, in addition to its role in extending the elbow.

-  Lateral head originates on the posterior humerus (upper arm bone).

-  Medial head originates at the distal two thirds of the posterior upper arm bone.


Triceps Training

Training your triceps at the end of your training routine won’t provide you with the maximum power to execute their exercises, that’s why it is advised to start your routine with your triceps or dedicated a training day for them to get the results you want.


Triceps Exercises

The best triceps exercises are the ones that target all three heads of the triceps. Here are six basic triceps exercises to add them to your training program:

Triceps Push Up

Triceps push up differ from regular push up in that hands are placed under shoulder close to each other, which puts the work primarily on the triceps muscle.

Do it: Lie face down on the floor; with hands under shoulders close to each other, raise body up off floor by extending arms, while keeping your body straight from shoulders to hips to feet, then start lowering your body until your chest almost touches the floor by bending your arms, and repeat.


Dumbbell One-Arm Triceps Extension

This is one of the most basic triceps extension exercises; the palm facing forward emphasizes the outer lateral head of the triceps. It also strengthens your forearms and shoulders.

Do it: Hold dumbbell in right hand and raise overhead to arm’s length, lower your dumbbell in a semicircular move behind your head until forearm touches biceps, then raise arm and return to the starting position, repeat the same arm then with the other one.

Dumbbell Kickback

A neutral grip (thumb forward) works all head of the triceps, whereas rotating the dumbbells so your palm faces up targets the outer lateral head.

Do it:  Bend right knee on the bench and place right hand ahead of you on the bench, lift the dumbbell in with the left hand and bend arm and raise elbow up to the shoulder height, then raise the forearm and press the weight back until forearm is parallel to the floor, when you reach that point squeeze triceps and slowly return to starting position, repeat and do the same to the other arm.

Variation: Standing Dumbbell Kickback

Weighted Seated Dips

Seated dips target all your triceps heads in first place and also strengthen chest and shoulders, the weight plate increases exercise intensity.

Do it: Put your hands on the edge of a bench with feet on the floor, knees slightly bent and weight in your lap, bent your elbows slightly and slowly lower your hips down until elbows form a 90 degrees angle with shoulder level, return to the starting position, and repeat.

Variation: Seated Dips

Triceps Pushdown

Using a straight bar, pronated grip (palms down) emphasizes the outer lateral head of the triceps. A wide grip works the long head more, whereas the narrow grip focuses on the lateral head. This exercise also works your deltoid muscle.

Do it: Grab the cable attachment with an overhand grip at shoulder width with elbows to sides and forearms close to upper arms, back is straight. Bent your knees slightly and use the triceps to extend arms with the bar down until it touches the front of your thighs level with your upper arm straight and stable next to bodyreturn to starting position, and repeat.

Variation: Triceps Pushdown - V Bar Attachment (targets all three heads of the triceps),

Triceps Pushdown - Rope Attachment (targets the lateral head).

EZ bar Lying Triceps Extension

This is a triceps extension exercise lying on a bench, a wide grip emphasizes the inner triceps (long head) a narrow grip target the outer triceps (lateral head).

Do it: Grasp a barbell with both hands then lie on a bench, place the barbell over your head then extend your arms so the barbell weight is perpendicular on your body, then pull the barbell back up to the starting position, and repeat.


Triceps Training Tips:

  • Always warm up targeted muscles (triceps) before you lift to avoid quick fatigue or injury, you can do this by:

-  Doing short 5-7 minute on treadmill, cycling, elliptical trainer machine or others.

-  Executing the same triceps exercise but with much lighter weights.

-  Doing stretching moves for triceps, and keeping the stretched position for at least 10-2- sec, like raising one arm, elbow pointing to the ceiling, palm touching the back as far as possible, supporting it with the other hand.

-  Swinging your arms back and forth couple of times.

-  Doing wall push-ups couple of times.

-  Kneeling on the floor hands on floor under the shoulders, fingers pointing inside toward your body, then slowly pull your body backward without removing hand off the floor as much as you can.

  • Don’t let go cardio, cardio will help you burn out excess body fat, especially in the back on your arms, aiding in revealing your triceps faster.
  • Rest days are as important as training days for muscle growth and recovery, leave at least 48 hours between triceps training sessions, one to two triceps training days per week are sufficient depending on training intensity.

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