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The Complete Guide To Training Your Triceps – Long Version

This article covers Basic Anatomy, The Tricep Exercises, some Good Articles and worthwhile Videos.

Scroll to the end for Key Rules of Tricep Training and Sample Workouts.

The Basics

The “triceps brachii” is the muscle on the back of the upper arm, connected to the humerus and scapula bones, and to the ulna. They are the largest muscle group in the upper arm and have three “heads” (“tri-ceps” means “three-heads”), the lateral head, medial head and the long head.

The long head crosses the shoulder joint, the lateral head forms the “horseshoe” shape when the arm is straight, and the medial head is deep and not that visible, but contributes to overall mass.

Unconventional-Workout-Triceps

  • The Medial Head is primarily made up of small type I (slow twitch) fibers (responds best to high rep work). Worked best with arms at sides and underhand grip.
  • The Lateral head is mainly made up of large type IIb  (fast twitch) fibers types (responds best to heavy low rep work). Worked best with arms at sides and overhand grip.
  • The Long head is a blend of the two fiber types. Worked best with arms overhead.

New Lifters

If you are new to lifting I recommend quickly visiting this page to understand the basic terminology of words like barbell, reps, and supersets.


Article 1 – Your Ticket To The Gun Show @ T-Nation

  • The Long Head is involved in extending and adducting the shoulder e.g. pullovers and lat pulldowns
  • Exercise with elbows farther apart than hands stresses the Lateral Head, particularly with shoulder internal rotation (elbows out)
  • Hands wider than elbows hits the Long and Medial Heads more
  • A supinated grip (palms up) also emphasizes Long and Medial Heads
  • Tricep Extension with the arms down (elbows pointed to ground) emphasizes the Medial Head
  • Close Grip Press, Elbows Out – Lateral Head
  • Close Grip Press, Elbows In – Medial/Long Heads
  • Decline Close Grip Press (and Dips) – Medial Head
  • Incline Close Grip Press – Long Head
Article 2 – Most Effective Mass-Building Triceps Workout @ Bodybuilding.com
  • Top 5 – Bench Dips, Close Grip Bench, Cable Pushdowns, Skull Crushers, Overhead Extension
  • Limit yourself to 9-12 sets of Tricep Work
  • Triceps are utilised in chest training, so train them after chest work
Article 3 – The 10 Best Muscle-Building Triceps Exercises @ Bodybuilding.com
  • Skull Crusher, Close-Grip Bench, Weighted Bar Dips, Weighted Bench Dip, Tricep Dip Machine
  • Board Press, Overhead DB Extension, Cable Overhead Extension (Rope), Cable Kick-Back, Cable Pushdown
  • Narrow Push ups (hands not much closer than shoulder width, elbows in
Article 4 – Complete Guide to Big Biceps & Triceps @ T-Nation
  • Focus on ‘peak resistance’ at different parts of the movement
  • Cable Pushdowns (Rope) – Lateral and Medial Head. Spread the hands apart at the bottom of the movement.
  • PJR Pullovers – Long Head. 1-2 sets of 15-30 reps, avoid heavy
Article 5 – Top Tricep Training Mistakes @ Simplyshredded.com
  • 1. Not Hitting All Three Heads
  • 2. Exercise Order – Start with the compound lifts you can go heavy on (close grip bench, dips), then two-arm free weight or cable, then single arm to finish.
  • 3. Too much focus on machines and cables.
  • 4. Improper form
  • 5. Overtraining. Minimum 48-72 hour rest, total 12 sets.
Article 6 – Dumbbell Or Cable Kickbacks? @ Muscleandperformance.com
  • DB Kickback – elbow high as possible, upper body almost parallel
  • Dropping the elbow makes it a shoulder-triceps move and hits the tricep-delt groove
  • Put a D-Handle or Rubber Ball attachment to cable machine, same form as DB Kickback
  • Cable is better by providing constant tension
  • Use both exercises to as they offer slightly different benefits

The Exercises

To see how to perform all the main Triceps exercises, click here.

Video 1 – Top 5 Tricep Exercises by Rob Riches (Rope Pulldown, Close-Grip Bench, Weighted Bench Dips, Seated Overhead DB Extension, Cable Kick-Back)

Video 2 – Top 5 Home Triceps Dumbell Exercises by Buff Dudes (DB Press, Standing DB Extension, Double Arm Kickbacks, Weighted Bench Dips, DB Skull Crushers)

Video 3 – Tricep Torture Workout (Skull Crushers, Dips, Close Grip Bench)

Go To Page 2 to Discover The Key Rules For Tricep Training and some Sample Workouts