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Tricep exercises

Triceps exercises for a complete workout

Friday, May 03, 2013 by: Sarka-Jonae Miller
Tags: tricep exercises, body building, muscle gain

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(NaturalNews) The triceps are an often misunderstood muscle group. Despite "tri" being in the name, few people know that there are three heads. To fully work the triceps, you must do exercises that emphasize the different heads. It's impossible to isolate one head completely, but using different angles and grips ensures that each head gets the tone you want.

Triceps anatomy

The triceps consist of the lateral head, medial head, and long head. The lateral head is the most visible part on the outside of the upper arm. The long head is simply the longest portion. It runs down the back of the upper arm, and the medial head is in the middle.

The three heads work together to extend the elbow. The long head also assists in adduction, which means to bring your upper arm closer to the middle of your body. With an understanding of basic anatomy, you can perform a triceps workout that emphasizes each head.

Smith machine reverse-grip press

A bench press is a popular exercise for the triceps and upper chest. Using a reverse-grip with your hands facing you emphasizes the lateral head. Due to this unusual grip, you should use a Smith machine until you have mastered this exercise. The Smith machine prevents the barbell from falling on you.

To perform a reverse-grip press, lie on an exercise bench at the Smith machine with your chest under the barbell. Grasp the bar with your palms facing you. Space your hands should-width apart and wrap your thumbs around the bar to ensure the safest grip. Point your elbows forward. Your elbows should remain close to your sides. Bend your elbows to lower the bar to your lower chest. Next, press your arms straight, raising the bar above you and toward the ceiling. Do 8 to 12 repetitions.

French press

The French press, or overhead triceps extension, is an effective triceps exercise for the long head. Because your arms are lifted overhead, the long head of the triceps must contract to a greater degree than during other exercises.

To perform a French press, grip the end of a dumbbell with both hands. Raise the weight toward the ceiling with your arms straight, elbows pointing forward, and the dumbbell hanging over the top of your head. Then, bend your elbows to lower the weight behind your neck. Next, straighten your arms to lift the dumbbell back overhead. Do 8 to 12 presses.

Reverse-grip triceps pushdown

Triceps pushdowns are a popular triceps exercise that emphasize the medial head, if performed with a reverse grip. You should use a straight bar to facilitate the reverse grip instead of a rope, both of which should be available with a cable machine. The triceps pushdown is simple, but many people cheat by letting their elbows move outwards. To get a good workout, keep your elbows glued to your sides. That being said, spacing your hands greater than shoulder-width apart works the medial head more than a narrow grip.

To begin, face the cable machine and grip the bar with your palms facing the ceiling, elbows bent at 90-degree angles. Then, extend your arms straight, pulling the bar toward your thighs. Slowly bend your arms again to complete one repetition. Perform 10 to 15 reps.

These three exercises make a complete triceps workout. You should work up to 3 to 4 sets, but if you are a beginner you should try to do one perfect set of the three exercises rather than force yourself to do more.

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About the author:
Sarka-Jonae Miller is a former personal trainer and massage therapist. She has a journalism degree from Syracuse University. Sarka-Jonae currently writes romantic comedy novels and romantic erotica under the same SJ Miller.
Get more health and wellness tips from SJ's natural health Twitter feed or from SJ's Facebook page.
SJ's books can be found on Amazon.

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