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Best Tricep Exercises

How to Train All Three Heads of the Triceps for Bigger Arms.

The triceps are one of your arms’ most prominent muscle groups, from the elbow to the shoulder. They consist of two-thirds of your upper arm. They are important for your capability, building strength, performance, and overall looks.

The triceps, muscles situated at the back of the upper arm, play a major role in arm movement extension of the arm and overall upper body strength. While bodybuilders and celebrities may focus on the biceps for aesthetic purposes, neglecting tricep exercises can lead to an imbalance in the muscle and delay overall arm development.

Including tricep exercises in your fitness drill is crucial for achieving well-rounded arm strength and aesthetics. It offers a range of benefits that enhance your daily functionality and athletic performance.

Whether your goals are to sculpt toned arms for body-building competitions or improve your performance in sports, understanding the significance of tricep training will inspire you to give attention to these muscles in your workouts.

This article will briefly explain the importance and benefits of training your triceps and show you some of the best exercises for each tricep head. Whether you want to improve your lockout strength, shoulder stability, elbow health, reduce pain or build bigger arms, this article will help you in achieving your goals.

What are the three heads of the triceps and their functions?

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The triceps brachii, also known as the triceps muscle, is behind the upper arm. Contrary to popular belief, the triceps is not a single muscle, but rather a combination of three different heads that intersect each other:

1.Long Head: The long head of the triceps begins from the scapula and attaches to the elbow. It is the most extensive and frequently targeted triceps section during exercises.
2.Lateral Head: The lateral head, the second-largest component of the triceps, originates from the humeral shaft and connects to the elbow.
3.Medial Head: The medial head is the smallest part of the triceps muscle and starts from the posterior side of the humerus, extending to the elbow joint. Despite its relatively smaller size, it is crucial to address this section to achieve a well-rounded and developed appearance of the triceps.

Understanding the individual components of the triceps muscle is essential for effective targeting and overall development during triceps training exercises.

Training exercises for all three tricep heads

When developing well-rounded triceps, it’s important to incorporate exercises that aim at all three heads of the muscle. You can achieve balanced triceps development by focusing on activities that engage the long head, lateral head, and medial head.

Here are some practical exercises that target each of the triceps heads:

Long Head:

Woman performing triceps exercise at Finessfit gym
  • Overhead Triceps Extension: Hold a dumbbell or barbell with both hands, raise your arms overhead, and lower the weight behind your head by turning your elbows. Raise your arms back to the initial position.
  • Skull Crushers: Lie on a bench with a barbell or dumbbell, extend your arms straight up, and slowly lower the weight towards your forehead by bending your elbows. Extend your arms back up.

Lateral Head:

  • Close Grip Bench Press: Lie on a bench with your hands positioned close together on the barbell. Bing down the weight to your chest, then push it back up while keeping your elbows close to your body.
  • Tricep Pushdowns: Stand before a cable machine with an attached rope or bar. Keep your elbows at your flanks and push the rope/bar down until your arms are fully extended. Slowly return to the starting position.

Medial Head:

Woman exercising with push-ups at Finessfit gym, Northcote, a 24-hour facility
  • Diamond Push-ups: Assume a push-up position with your hands close to each other, forming a diamond shape with your thumbs and index fingers. Lower your chest toward the floor while holding your elbows close, then push back up.
  • Dips: Position yourself on parallel bars or the edge of a bench, with your hands gripping the bars or bench. Lower your body by turning your elbows until your upper arms are parallel to the ground, then push back up.

By incorporating these exercises into your triceps training routine, you can effectively target and develop all three heads of the triceps.

How to avoid common mistakes while doing tricep exercises?

When performing exercises for all three triceps heads, you must be conscious of general mistakes that can delay your progress and probably lead to injury.

By avoiding these mistakes and focusing on proper form and technique, you can maximize the effectiveness of your triceps workouts. Here are some tips to help you avoid common mistakes:

  • Using Too Much Weight: One common mistake is using too heavy weights, sacrificing proper form and range of motion. Start with lighter weights and slowly increase the load as your strength improves, ensuring you maintain good posture throughout the exercise.
  • Poor Range of Motion: It’s essential to perform exercises through a full range of motion to engage all three triceps heads effectively. Avoid cutting the range of motion short or using partial reps. Lower the weight till you feel a stretch in the muscles, and then extend fully to maximize contraction.
  • Incorrect Positioning: Maintain proper body positioning throughout the exercise to target the intended triceps heads. For example, when performing overhead triceps extensions, keep your elbows forward and near to your head to target the long head. Avoid flaring your elbows to the sides, as this shifts the emphasis away from the triceps.
  • Ignoring Stability: Some triceps exercises, like dips or close grip bench presses, require stability. Ensure you have a stable base by engaging your core, maintaining your shoulders down and back, and maintaining proper alignment. Avoid excessive swinging or using momentum to lift the weight.
  • Overlooking Other Muscle Groups: While focusing on triceps training is important, it’s essential to maintain overall balance in your workouts. Incorporate exercises that target other muscle groups, such as the chest, shoulders, and back, to ensure overall upper body strength and balance.
  • Insufficient Recovery Time: Give your triceps muscles enough time to recover between exercises. Aim for at least 48 hours of downtime between triceps workouts, allowing your muscles to repair and grow. Overtraining can lead to fatigue, decreased performance, and increased risk of injury.


The triceps are essential for your upper body development and function. By training all three heads of the triceps with a variety of exercises, you can enhance your muscles, routine, and build.

Remember to use proper form, technique, and intensity when performing tricep exercises and to rest and recover adequately between workouts. Consult a fitness professional for guidance or assistance with exercise techniques and programming.

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