Is your medial tricep head lagging? Include these tricep medial head exercises in your workout routine and watch your guns crow.
Guns. Pythons. Cannons. Starsky and Hutch. Whatever you call them, every bodybuilder wants big, muscular arms. They fill out your favorite t-shirt, and it’s a great ego boost when a cute girl at the bar asks you to flex and feels your muscles in admiration. You’ve doubtless spent countless hours doing curls in an effort to increase the size of your arms. While bulging biceps are awesome and curls are fun, it’s important not to neglect the back of your appendage. They may not be as glamourous, but the triceps make up a full ⅔ of the mass of your arm. This means you should be training them as often, if not more often, than your beloved biceps. If the medial head of your triceps is lagging, focus on these medial head exercises below to pack on some serious arm size.
The triceps consist of three different bundles of muscles that join together at the elbow. These three bundles, or heads, work together to extend or straighten your elbow. The lateral head, the smallest of the three, gives your arms the coveted “horseshoe” shape and is located on the outer side of the humerus. The long head, the largest portion of the triceps, is the long, bulky section running down the the back of the arm.
The medial head, which we’ll be focusing on, is located in the middle of arm, right above the elbow. It lies underneath the lateral and long heads, and is somewhat invisible. This doesn’t mean you should disregard its significance however. On the contrary, by increasing the strength and size of the medial head, the other parts of your triceps will be pushed out dramatically, resulting in more arm mass and definition.
Since the tricep bundles work together, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to truly isolate them during exercise. However, by focusing on certain exercises and a with a few tweaks of form, you can target the medial head primarily. The following medial head exercises work all three heads of the triceps, but target the medial head specifically.
DECLINE CLOSE-GRIP BENCH
Everyone loves to bench press. You can pile on the weight and max out to impress your friends. Personally, I feel it’s an overrated medial head exercise for bodybuilders. That is unless you’re targeting your triceps, especially the medial head. Set yourself up like you would for a normal bench press, but move your hands closer together. How close? It really depends on comfort level. Try putting your arms straight out from your shoulders to start. If you feel you can comfortably bring your hands a little closer, go for it, but if you feel strains in your wrist, widen your grip a bit.
By bench pressing with your hands closer together, you minimize pectoral and deltoid recruitment, and place a majority of the stress on your triceps. The heavy pushing motion will tax your medial head especially. By utilizing the decline bench, your arms are positioned closer to your torso, resulting in even more recruitment of the medial head of the triceps.
PARALLEL WEIGHTED DIPS
If you’re not doing dips, you’re missing out on a great overall upper-body developing exercise. If you have access to a weight belt, they really allow you to pile on the weight and go heavy. Dips will work your entire torso, from your chest and shoulders to your back and arms. If you pay attention to your form, however, you can make them primarily a medial head tricep exercise.
Try to remain as vertical as you can as you dip down. It will be impossible to remain completely upright, but resist the urge to lean forward, as this will result in pectoral recruitment. Focus on full contraction of the triceps as you complete a rep. Hold the contracted position for 2 full seconds. As you descend, keep those elbows in and your head up. To really feel a burn in your triceps, try doing ultra slow reps, pausing for a second every couple of inches.
Another way to add some spice to dips is with drop sets. If you’re using a weight belt or holding a dumbbell between your thighs, perform a set until failure with the weight. Then, immediately drop the weight (gently!) and perform a set of free weight dips to failure. Then, proceed to cry.
REVERSE GRIP SINGLE ARM PUSHDOWNS
Everyone’s favorite triceps exercise seems to be pushdowns. Maybe because they can be done with little effort. Maybe because lifters can stare at themselves adoringly in the mirror. Whatever the case, this medial head exercise can be a great tricep builder if its done with intensity.
To put emphasis on the medial head, reverse your grip. Your palm will be facing up and you’ll be pulling the weight down with your tricep muscle. Again, focus on peak contraction, holding the end position for a second before bringing the arm back up.
Perform this exercise one arm at a time to utilize a powerful rest-pause technique. Do 12 reps with your left arm, then immediately do 12 with your right. Then, without any further rest, continue with your left arm. Then your right. And so on. This will allow you to safely overload the medial tricep head.
STRETCHING AND MASSAGE
Don’t forget to properly stretch your muscle after working out. An intense stretch while the muscle is engorged with blood, or pumped, feels great and will help prevent injury down the line. As a bonus, some lifters report that intense stretching of an engorged muscle will stretch the fascia and make room for even more muscle growth.
To stretch the triceps, raise one arm and bend your elbow, trying to touch your back. Use your other hand to push down on your elbow. For a more extreme stretch, sit on a bench and grab a moderately heavy dumbbell. Get into position for an overhead tricep extension. Let the weight slowly fall behind your back and hold for 30 seconds.
To further recovery, consider massaging your triceps. It will relax the muscles, promote circulation, and stimulate the stretch reflex. Luckily, self-massage can be done quite easily with your tricep, though, like most massage, it’s more fun with a partner.
There you go, a set of medial head exercises for your triceps. Are these exercises working out for you as well? Let us know in the comments!