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How To Target The Long Head Of The Tricep

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How To Target The Long Head Of The Tricep


How To Target The Long Head Of The Tricep: These exercises, whether done with a dumbbell, barbell, or cable, place significant stress on the long head of the triceps. The overhead motion stretches and engages the long head, making it an excellent choice for its isolation. Skull crushers involve extending the arms while lying on a bench, and they effectively engage the long head of the triceps. This exercise allows you to use heavier weights while maintaining focus on the long head.

While this compound movement primarily targets the middle head of the triceps, using a close grip emphasizes the long head to a significant extent. It’s great for your routine for overall triceps development. Leaning forward during dips shifts the emphasis onto the long head of the triceps. Be sure to maintain proper form and control while performing this exercise.

Though they are often criticized for not being as effective as other tricep exercises, tricep kickbacks can still target the long head when performed with strict form and control. A well-developed long head of the triceps contributes to a balanced and symmetrical appearance of the upper arm.

How To Target The Long Head Of The Tricep

How do you target a long head on a tricep pushdown?

Drive the rope down until the bottom. The key is to give the rope a little outward flick towards the bottom to fully activate the triceps. **Side note: You can also perform straight bar pushdowns as they are also very effective at targeting the long head.

Elbow Position

  • To emphasize the long head, it’s crucial to keep your elbows close to your sides throughout the movement. Avoid letting your elbows flare out.
  • Start with your elbows at a 90-degree angle, and as you push the handle down, keep them locked in that position. This places more tension on the long head.

Range of Motion

  • Focus on a full range of motion by fully extending your arms, bringing the handle all the way down until your elbows are fully locked out.
  • Ensure a controlled and deliberate contraction on the way up and down to maximize muscle engagement.

Mind-Muscle Connection

  • Concentrate on feeling the long head of the triceps working throughout the exercise. Visualize it contracting and extending with each repetition.
  • Squeeze and hold at the bottom of the movement for a second or two to maximize the tension on the long head.

Which tricep exercises hit which head?

“For the lateral head, overhead cable tricep pushdowns/extensions seem to be the best option whereas the rope tricep pushdowns/extensions seems to be the best option for the medial head (and for overall triceps development).”

Overhead Tricep Extensions: Overhead extensions, whether done with a dumbbell, barbell, or cable, stretch and target the long head effectively due to the overhead motion.

Dips with Forward Lean: Leaning slightly forward during dips shifts the emphasis to the long head of the triceps.

French Press (Barbell or Dumbbell): This exercise involves extending your arms overhead while holding a barbell or dumbbell, and it places a strong emphasis on the long head.

Rope Tricep Pushdown: Utilizing a rope attachment with a cable machine allows you to spread your hands apart at the bottom of the movement, which engages the long head effectively.

Single-Arm Overhead Tricep Extension: Using one arm at a time to perform overhead extensions can help isolate and target the long head.

Which head of triceps in dips?

Dips equally work the long head and lateral head of your triceps with the medial head kicking in at the top of the movement. Ensure you emphasize your triceps by keeping your body upright as you perform the exercise.

Proper Form: Maintain proper form throughout the movement. Start with your arms fully extended and your shoulders down. Lower your body until your elbows are bent at approximately 90 degrees, and then push back up to the starting position.

Hand Placement: To emphasize the triceps, place your hands closer together on the dip bars. Wider hand placement may shift some of the emphasis onto the chest and shoulders.

Controlled Movement: Perform dips with a controlled and deliberate motion. Avoid swinging or using momentum to lift your body.

Leaning Forward: If you want to target the lateral head more, you can lean slightly forward during the dip. However, maintain control to avoid overexertion and strain on the shoulders.

Warm-Up: Prior to performing dips, it’s essential to warm up your triceps and shoulders with dynamic stretching or light exercises to reduce the risk of injury.

Why is my tricep long head not growing?

Now, your problem involving the triceps is that you might be putting too much effort on the lateral and medial heads and not enough attention on the long head. This lack of muscle activation might be the reason that your triceps aren’t growing to their full capacity.

Sufficient Training Volume: One of the primary reasons for lagging muscle growth is insufficient training volume. You may not be performing enough sets, reps, or exercises specifically targeting the long head of the triceps. To promote growth, ensure that you’re incorporating enough volume into your tricep workouts.

Improper Exercise Selection: If you’re not incorporating exercises that effectively target the long head of the triceps, it may not receive adequate stimulation for growth. Consider adding exercises like overhead tricep extensions, skull crushers, or French presses, which emphasize the long head.

Lack of Progressive Overload: Muscle growth occurs when you continually challenge your muscles by increasing resistance or intensity over time. If you’re using the same weight or resistance for an extended period, your long head may not be getting the stimulus it needs to grow. Gradually increase the weight or resistance to promote muscle adaptation.

What does the long head of triceps do?

With the arm adducted, the triceps muscle acts to hold the head of the humerus in the glenoid cavity. This action helps prevent any displacement of the humerus. The long head also assists with the extension and adduction of the arm at the shoulder joint.

Elbow Extension: The primary function of the long head of the triceps is to extend the elbow joint. When the long head contracts, it straightens the arm by pulling the forearm away from the upper arm. This action is involved in common daily activities such as pushing, lifting, and extending the arm.

Shoulder Stabilization: The long head of the triceps also assists in stabilizing the shoulder joint. Its origin point is at the scapula, or shoulder blade, and it runs down the back of the upper arm to attach to the ulna bone in the forearm. During movements that involve shoulder extension or retraction, the long head helps stabilize the shoulder.

Aesthetics: From an aesthetic perspective, the long head of the triceps contributes significantly to the overall appearance of the upper arm. When well-developed, it forms the distinctive “horseshoe” shape of the triceps, adding size and definition to the back of the arm. This can enhance the visual appeal of the arm, particularly from a posterior view.

What is the best exercise for the long head of triceps?

I think dips are honestly the best tricep workout. Make sure you do a close grip and don’t go too low. And overhead rope extensions work great as well. But most do an exercise you like and push hard!!

Exercise Technique

  • Maintain a stable and upright torso.
  • Keep your core engaged to support your lower back.
  • Use a controlled, deliberate motion throughout the exercise.
  • Perform the exercise through a full range of motion to maximize tricep engagement.
  • Choose an appropriate dumbbell weight to challenge your triceps without compromising your form.

Long Head Emphasis: This exercise stretches and targets the long head of the triceps effectively, providing a unique stimulus that other exercises may not offer.

Isolation: Overhead tricep extensions allow for a more isolated contraction of the triceps, reducing involvement of other muscle groups.

Variation: You can perform this exercise using dumbbells, a barbell, an EZ-curl bar, or a cable machine, offering versatility in your training routine.

Progression: By gradually increasing the weight or resistance, you can continually challenge the long head of the triceps for muscle growth.

Is 3 exercises enough for the triceps?

When training triceps, you train at least 3 different movement patterns to effectively hit all three heads of the triceps. The first, is the lateral head, which is hit when doing pressing movements, often with heavier or moderately heavy loads (8-12 reps).

Training Frequency

Frequency: How often you train your triceps in a week can influence the number of exercises you need. If you’re training triceps multiple times per week, you may not require as many exercises in each session.

Individual Response

Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to how your triceps respond to your current routine. If you’re consistently making progress in terms of strength and size, your current approach may be sufficient.

Variety and Periodization

Periodization: Periodically changing your exercises and workout routines can help prevent plateaus and fresh stimuli for muscle growth. Including a variety of exercises over time can be beneficial.

Do dips target all three tricep heads?

As you’d expect, tricep dips smoke your tricep muscles, which are made of three ‘heads’ (the long, lateral and medial head), but they do so much more than that and can also be an effective move for your chest, shoulders and core too.

Dips, when performed with a narrow hand placement (closer together on the dip bars or parallel bars), emphasize the lateral head of the triceps. This is the outermost portion of the triceps muscle. When your hands are close together, the emphasis shifts towards the lateral head, making it a key player in the movement.

While the primary focus of dips is on the lateral head, the medial head, which is the middle portion of the triceps, is still involved. It acts as a secondary stabilizer muscle during the exercise. Dips may not as much isolation for the medial head as some other tricep exercises.

Dips do engage the long head of the triceps to some extent, but they don’t place a significant emphasis on it. The long head, located at the back of the upper arm, contributes less to the movement compared to the lateral head. The long head’s involvement mainly serves as a stabilizer during dips.

How To Target The Long Head Of The Tricep


Gradually increase the weight or resistance you use in your exercises to challenge your muscles and stimulate growth. This progressive overload is essential for muscle development. Maintain strict form throughout your triceps workouts to minimize the risk of injury and maximize the effectiveness of each exercise. Focus on the mind-muscle connection to engage the long head fully. Building a well-developed long head of the triceps takes time.

Don’t rely on a single exercise. Incorporate a variety of movements into your routine to target the long head from different angles. This will prevent plateaus and ensure comprehensive tricep development. A balanced diet with sufficient protein is essential for muscle growth. Ensure you are consuming enough calories and nutrients to support your training goals. Stay committed to your workout routine, and results will come with persistence.

Adequate rest between workouts and proper sleep are crucial for muscle repair and growth. Overtraining can hinder progress, so listen to your body and allow it to recover. If you’re new to weightlifting or have specific fitness goals, consider consulting a fitness professional or personal trainer. They can be personalized and ensure you’re targeting the long head effectively. 

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