Authored by Andy Chasse’ in Exercise
Published on 07-03-2009
Many people seem to have a high level of difficulty effectively targeting the triceps to increase mass and strength. However, the triceps are actually one of the most easily trained muscles groups due to the low complexity of the muscle and the amplitude of exercises that recruit them.
From the scientific side, the triceps muscle group solely consists of the triceps. Of course this seems normal considering the name, but many other groups contain a wider variety of muscles. The biceps, for example, include both heads of the biceps brachii and the brachialis. The triceps brachii, on the other hand, simply consist of three seperate heads. These heads are known as long, lateral, and medial. Each of these triceps brachii heads may be targeted differently as the plane of motion changes. This backs up the statement above concerning the large amplitude of triceps exercises. As far as function, the triceps brachii is responsible for elbow extension, as well as shoulder extension and abduction. While this may seem like a rather small list, these three movements occur in a variety of exercises.
The following list will provide a number of exercises for each of the important functions of the triceps:
1. Vertical Press. This category consists of any pressing movement down in a vertical fashion. In other words, all overhead pressing exercises are included here. Overhead pressing involves both elbow and shoulder extension, two of the triceps brachii functions. Some of the most well-known overhead pressing movements include the military press, push press, and push jerk. If you are new to overhead pressing, this is the order in which they should be learned. The military press may be performed either standing or sitting and is simply a straight press above the head. It is important to understand, however, that the shoulders and elbows are both very delicate joints. While these overhead exercises should be performed at a high intensity for best results, be sure to listen to your body. A rotator cuff injury is no fun at all.
2. Pushdown. The pushdown consists almost entirely of elbow extension. It is one of the most basic and effective triceps exercises. Pushdowns may be performed in a multitude of different positions, but the most commonly seen pushdown is done with the use of a cable machine. Secure a rope attachment onto a cable apparatus at the highest notch. Grip the rope with palms facing in. While keeping the elbows static and pulled towards the body, use the triceps to extend your elbows until they are in a locked position. With elbows still in and static, allow the elbows to unlock and repeat. Perform this exercise with a higher number of reps as compared to the pressing movements. This may also be used as an elbow and shoulder rehabilitation exercise if the overhead pressing above doesn’t turn out so well.
3. Horizontal Press. As with the vertical press, the triceps are heavily recruited in the horizontal press as well – and for the same reasons. For all the bench press fans out there, make sure to apply a large amount of focus to the triceps. They are solely responsible for the top half of the bench press. Remember, the triceps function to extend the elbows. Locking out a bench press also refers to straightening the elbows. Horizontal pressing may be done with various implements, however the barbell and dumbbell are the most common. As with the overhead press, perform these movements at a high intensity and be sure to take the necessary precautions to avoid injury.