1. Sit upright while holding a barbell in both hands at arms’ length above
your head; use a narrow overhand grip.
2. Bend at the elbows and lower the bar down behind your head.
3. Push the bar upward until your elbows lock out.
Secondary: Deltoid, forearm.
Hand spacing: A wide grip emphasizes the inner triceps (long head), whereas a narrow grip targets the outer triceps (lateral head). Keep the elbows close together, and do not allow them to flare outward.
Grip: Using a straight bar, this exercise requires an overhand (pronated) grip. Using an EZ bar or a dumbbell (see the Variations section) requires a neutral grip. An overhand grip works the inner (long) head, whereas a neutral grip works all three heads of the triceps.
Trajectory: The vertical position of the arm stretches the inner long head of the triceps, so this exercise preferentially targets this section of the muscle.
Range of motion: To isolate the triceps, motion should occur at the elbow only.
Safety: The triceps extension exercise poses two safety concerns. First, it places excessive stretch on the triceps tendon; second, it places the shoulder joint in a vulnerable position for injury. Therefore, it is not the best exercise choice for people who have elbow or shoulder pain.
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