Triceps muscle is one muscle composed of three heads. To get bigger triceps you have to be sure that you are doing triceps exercises that hit every one of the three heads of the muscle in your tricep workouts. In this video, I show you some examples of exercises for your triceps that do just that. I am going to demonstrate how to get bigger triceps by attacking the long head, medial head and lateral head of this muscle for maximum size.
First, it is easiest to concentrate on the long head of the triceps since it is unique in its origin. This head of the tricep muscle doesn’t originate on the upper arm bone but actually on the shoulder blade or scapula. This means that it crosses the shoulder joint and can have actions on the motion at the shoulder joint. In the case of the long head, it can extend the arm behind the body when maximally contracted. This is important since you want to know how to stretch it and place more tension on the muscle when picking exercises to target this head favorably.
In order to do this, you want to find exercises that allow you to place your arms up overhead (which will stretch the long head of the triceps slightly and increase the tension that it can generate because of this). Tricep exercises like push aways or even lying dumbbell extensions and French presses are going to put your arm in this position safely. An overhead dumbbell extension is not as ideal however since it does jeopardize the health of your shoulder due to excessive internal rotation while performing it.
Before moving on to the other two heads, however, I do want to address the concept of active insufficiency. This happens when you maximally shorten the muscle that crosses the two joints by putting both joints at their end range. In the case of the long head, you would extend the elbow at the same time that you prolong the arm behind the body. This position, while generating less tension does generate an incredible contraction as the muscle fibers are maximally shortened. Some argue not to train here, while I totally disagree. This position is very helpful for getting people to feel a contraction and improve mind-muscle awareness which will carry over to better workouts overall.
Feel free to include the triceps kickback and cobra push-up as exercises that you can do at the beginning of your tricep workouts to wake up the muscles and help you establish a strong mind muscle connection from the outset.
Next, you have to cover the medial and lateral heads of the tricep muscles. The fundamental difference in exercises for each of these tricep heads is the position of the arms and elbows during the extension of the elbow. Just like with the quads in leg extensions, if you turn your arm in during a pushdown or similar exercise, you will focus more on the outer or lateral head of the triceps. On the contrary, if you turn your arm out our underhand, you will focus more of the attention on the medial head.
There are many tricep exercises that you can do and only some of them are shown in this video. The key is, the science behind their selection will not change. In order to maximally work the triceps in any workout, you will want to hit them from all angles by choosing exercises that hit every head.