If you have skinny triceps that you want to make wider, especially when viewed from behind, then you are going to want to watch this video. Here, I’m going to show you the best way to widen your triceps and get bigger, thicker arms in the process. Many times people focus on the front of their arms by working on the biceps. While bigger, wider biceps are definitely impressive, this approach is not the best for maximal width as the triceps make up two thirds of the upper arm girth.
THE LONG HEAD OF THE TRICEPS
When triceps width is the goal, you have to look to the back. This video is going to show best triceps exercises to hit both the medial and the long heads. We’ll start with the long head. The long head makes up most mass. When training the long head, people make the mistake of just doing overhead triceps work.
This can work but to get maximal stimulation you also have to put the muscle into a fully contracted position. The two best ways to do this are Lying Triceps Extensions and Drag Pushdowns, keeping your elbows back behind body to keep long head fully shortened.
PEAK STRETCH AND CONTRACTION
If, however, you are short on time and want one effective, simple exercise that can pull double duty, it’s this Dumbbell Overhead / Kickback combo. To perform this move, take two dumbbells and perform the overhead extension while making sure to keep elbows in front your body. Upon completion, lean forward and perform a standard kickback. When performing this combo move, be sure to use lighter weight to be able to perform the kickback.
Because we are able to use a heavier weight in the overhead extensions, you will have to perform more reps in that position compared to the kickback – approximately 2:1 or 3:1 rep ratio for the extensions to kickbacks. The overhead extension portion of the move provides maximum stretch on the triceps, while the kick back puts the triceps into a fully contracted position.
THE MEDIAL HEAD OF THE TRICEPS
From there we move onto the medial head. The medial head is responsible for stabilizing the elbow while in full extension. Common mistakes here are that most people never fully extend elbow on any triceps exercise and therefore miss out on those last few inches where medial head gets the most activation. Any triceps exercise that extends the elbow, done to full lock out, is going to adequately train the medial head of the triceps.
Examples are Pushdowns, Diamond Cutter pushups with full extension, and Thumbs Up Elbow Tucked DB Bench Press. Interestingly and not surprising, powerlifters almost never have under developed medial heads of their triceps because their competitive lifts are judged on full lockout. If they don’t hit full lockout, their rep is not counted. As a result, they usually have superb medial head development.
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Jeff Cavaliere M.S.P.T, CSCS
Jeff Cavaliere is a Physical Therapist, Strength Coach and creator of the ATHLEAN-X Training Programs and ATHLEAN-Rx Supplements. He has a Masters in Physical Therapy (MSPT) and has worked as Head Physical Therapist for the New York Mets, as well as training many elite professional athletes in Major League Baseball, NFL, MMA and professional wrestling. His programs produce “next level” achievements in muscle size, strength and performance for professional athletes and anyone looking to build a muscular athletic physique.