A classic exercise. This can be performed with many variations – angle of bench, hand position and equipment: dumbbells, barbells, ez-bar (the bar with bends in it) or cables. It works the triceps, the muscle on the back of the arms.
As can be seen the triceps (13) have 3 heads,two attaching to the back of the arm bone – the humerus – and the other attaching to the low edge of the shoulder blade1. It is very common for the non-dominant arm triceps to be much weaker than the dominant arm and this is caused by the shoulder sitting too high so the attachments of the triceps are less than optimal. To overcome this, some serious work needs to be done releasing and stretching the muscles that lift the shoulder up; principally the upper trapezius and the levator scapula. The other end of the triceps attach just below the elbow.
- Only move from the elbow joint. Just as with bicep work any other movement reduces the load on the triceps and reduces the effectiveness of the exercise.
- Imagine the elbows are magnetised. As the muscle tires, the elbows tend to widen.
- Concentrate on feeling the contraction in the triceps. It will help to do a slight pause just up from the lowest point.
- the heads are called the Medial Head, the Lateral Head and the Long Head. Different triceps exercises will hit different heads [↩]