How To Work Medial Head Of Tricep: The medial head of the triceps brachii, often referred to simply as the medial triceps, is a vital muscle located on the back of the upper arm. It is one of the three heads that make up the triceps muscle group, with the other two being the lateral and long heads. Developing the medial head of the triceps is essential not only for achieving a balanced and sculpted arm but also for enhancing overall upper body strength. This muscle plays a significant role in elbow extension, which is essential for various everyday activities, as well as athletic performance. Whether you’re lifting weights, pushing objects, or simply straightening your arm, the medial triceps is engaged. Therefore, it is crucial to target and work on this muscle group to achieve well-rounded arm development and functional strength.
We will explore various exercises and techniques to effectively target and strengthen the medial head of the triceps, helping you attain a well-defined and powerful upper arm. Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast, bodybuilder, or someone looking to improve their arm strength, these exercises and tips will help you on your to building impressive triceps. The medial head of the triceps brachii, often referred to simply as the medial triceps, is a critical component of the triceps muscle group located on the back of the upper arm. This muscle plays a pivotal role in not only achieving a well-rounded and sculpted arm but also in enhancing overall upper body strength and functionality.
To develop the medial head of the triceps effectively, it’s important to understand its unique function and how to target it specifically in your workouts. This muscle becomes particularly engaged when performing movements that involve higher shoulder elevations, such as overhead presses and triceps extensions. As the shoulder angle increases, the medial triceps becomes the primary force for extending the elbow, making it essential for a variety of exercises and activities. We will delve into various exercises and techniques designed to specifically target and strengthen the medial head of the triceps. Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast, bodybuilder, or simply looking to improve your arm strength and appearance, these exercises and tips will help you achieve a well-defined and powerful upper arm, ensuring balanced triceps development and enhanced performance in a wide range of movements.
Is the medial tricep head important?
In low shoulder elevations, the long head plays the main role in extending the elbow, but by increasing the shoulder elevation angle, the medial head takes over as the major muscle force for extending the elbow.
The medial head of the triceps brachii is indeed an important muscle group in the upper arm, especially when considering its role in various activities and under different conditions. While it may not always be the primary muscle involved in elbow extension, its significance becomes more pronounced in specific situations, as you’ve mentioned.
In lower shoulder elevations, such as when performing simple elbow extensions, the long head of the triceps takes on the major role. However, as the shoulder elevation angle increases, such as during overhead movements or exercises like the overhead triceps extension, the medial head becomes increasingly engaged and contributes significantly to the force required for extending the elbow.
This shift in muscle involvement underscores the importance of developing the medial head of the triceps. A well-rounded triceps routine that targets all three heads – the lateral, medial, and long heads – is crucial for balanced arm development, functional strength, and enhanced performance in various activities and exercises. By incorporating exercises that specifically target the medial triceps, individuals can ensure comprehensive triceps development and improved upper body functionality.
What is the function of the medial tricep?
The medial head of the triceps is active in all forms of forearm extension, while the long and lateral head are only significantly active during extension at the elbow that occurs against resistance.
Elbow Extension: The medial head is involved in the basic action of extending the elbow, which is a fundamental movement in activities like lifting, pushing, and reaching.
Overhead Movements: As the shoulder elevation angle increases, such as during overhead presses or triceps extensions, the medial head takes on a more prominent role in extending the elbow. It becomes a major contributor to the force required for elbow extension during these exercises.
Forearm Supination: In addition to elbow extension, the medial triceps also plays a role in forearm supination, which is the motion of turning the palm upward. This movement is essential in various activities, such as rotating objects or gripping items with a supinated hand position.
How do you target the lateral and medial head of triceps?
Bench dips and tricep dips (parallel handles) equally work the long head and lateral head. The medial head of your tricep will receive the greatest activation when your elbows are at your sides and you are using an underhand grip. i.e. reverse grip pushdowns and reverse grip bench press.
Lateral Head of Triceps:
Standard Tricep Pushdown: Use a cable machine with a straight bar attachment. Keep your elbows close to your body and push the bar down while fully extending your arms. This exercise emphasizes the lateral head.
Skull Crushers (Lying Tricep Extensions): Lie on a bench and use an EZ-curl bar or dumbbells to perform tricep extensions. This movement primarily targets the lateral head of the triceps.
Medial Head of Triceps:
Reverse Grip Tricep Pushdown: Using a cable machine with a V-bar attachment or a straight bar, use an underhand grip (palms facing up) to perform tricep pushdowns. This exercise places significant emphasis on the medial head.
Reverse Grip Bench Press: Perform the bench press with an underhand (reverse) grip. This variation shifts the focus to the medial head of the triceps.
Close-Grip Bench Press: This exercise involves keeping your hands closer together on the barbell while performing the bench press. It engages both the lateral and medial triceps heads.
Do skull crushers work the medial head?
Skull crushers work all three heads of the tricep but the medial head is the main driver. This exercise can be performed with dumbbells, barbells, EZ bar, and the cable machine, and can be done on a bench or on the floor.
Reverse Grip Tricep Pushdown: As mentioned earlier, this exercise is excellent for targeting the medial triceps. Use a cable machine with a V-bar or straight bar attachment, and grip the bar with your palms facing up (underhand grip). Keep your elbows close to your sides and push the bar down to fully extend your arms.
Reverse Grip Bench Press: This variation of the bench press places a strong emphasis on the medial triceps. Lie on a flat bench and use an underhand grip on the barbell. Keep your hands about shoulder-width apart and perform the bench press as you would with a standard grip.
Diamond Push-Ups: This bodyweight exercise is an effective way to target the medial triceps. Get into a push-up position with your hands close together, forming a diamond shape with your thumbs and index fingers. Lower yourself down and push back up while keeping your elbows close to your body.
Close-Grip Bench Press: While this exercise works all three triceps heads, it still a good focus on the medial triceps. Use a grip that is narrower than shoulder-width apart on the barbell when performing the bench press.
Reverse Grip Overhead Tricep Extension: Sit on a bench with back support, holding a dumbbell with both hands behind your head. Extend your arms overhead while keeping your palms facing up (reverse grip). This movement effectively engages the medial triceps.
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).”
Lateral Head (Outer Triceps):
Overhead Tricep Extension: Overhead cable tricep pushdowns/extensions, as mentioned, are effective for targeting the lateral head. The long head is also involved, but the lateral head is the primary focus.
Skull Crushers (Lying Tricep Extensions): This exercise also engages the lateral head significantly, along with the medial head.
Medial Head (Middle Triceps):
Rope Tricep Pushdowns/Extensions: Rope tricep pushdowns/extensions are known for their ability to emphasize the medial head of the triceps. This exercise involves extending the elbows while using a rope attachment on a cable machine, allowing for a good range of motion.
Reverse Grip Tricep Pushdowns: As previously mentioned, using an underhand grip during tricep pushdowns primarily targets the medial head.
Long Head (Inner Triceps):
Close-Grip Bench Press: This exercise involves using a narrow grip on the barbell and emphasizes the long head of the triceps. It’s an excellent compound movement for overall triceps development.
Diamond Push-Ups: Diamond push-ups can also target the long head, as they involve close hand placement and engage the inner portion of the triceps.
Overall Triceps Development:
Dips: Both parallel bar dips and bench dips can overall triceps development, targeting all three heads. The emphasis can shift depending on body position and form.
Close-Grip Push-Ups: Similar to dips, close-grip push-ups work all three heads to varying degrees and are great for overall triceps development.
What part of the tricep do dips work?
Triceps dips help you target the triceps brachii muscle, which runs at the back of your arms. Besides, your delts, pecs, lats, rhomboids and levator scapulae assist to carry out the move perfectly.
Chest (Pectoralis Major): Dips engage the chest muscles, particularly when you lean forward slightly during the exercise. This additional involvement of the chest can depend on your body position and the angle of the dip bars.
Shoulders (Deltoids): The anterior (front) deltoid muscles are used to stabilize and assist during the downward phase of the dip.
Back (Latissimus Dorsi and Rhomboids): Your lats and rhomboid muscles, located in your upper back, help stabilize your shoulders and scapula during the dip.
Upper Trapezius (Levator Scapulae): These muscles help stabilize and control the movement of your scapulae during the dip.
Triceps Brachii: As mentioned earlier, the triceps brachii, specifically the lateral and long heads, are the primary muscles responsible for extending the elbow during the dip movement.
What works the lateral head of the tricep?
That means dips, kickbacks, and overhand-grip press-downs are all good choices for targeting the lateral head. Of course, some exercises like skullcrushers position your arms at an in-between position, perpendicular to your body, so they focus on both the long and lateral heads.
Dips: Dips, especially when performed with an upright torso and a slightly wider grip, can emphasize the lateral head of the triceps. The key is to keep your elbows fairly close to your sides during the movement.
Kickbacks: Tricep kickbacks involve extending your arm behind you while holding a dumbbell. This movement places a significant focus on the lateral head of the triceps because it involves full extension of the elbow.
Overhand-Grip Press-Downs: Using an overhand (pronated) grip during tricep pushdowns with a cable machine can effectively target the lateral head. Keep your elbows close to your body and press the bar down to fully extend your arms.
Skull Crushers (Lying Tricep Extensions): As you mentioned, skull crushers position your arms in an in-between angle, which engages both the long and lateral heads of the triceps. These exercises can a balanced approach to triceps development.
Close-Grip Bench Press: While this exercise primarily targets the long head, it also engages the lateral head to a significant degree. The narrow grip places emphasis on both heads.
Diamond Push-Ups: While often associated with targeting the long head due to the close hand placement, diamond push-ups also work the lateral head effectively, particularly when the elbows are kept close to the body.
Does a close grip bench hit all 3 tricep heads?
Yes, the close-grip bench press emphasizes your triceps muscles more than the regular bench press. It primarily trains the lateral head of your triceps. In order to build all three heads of your triceps, you should probably add a triceps extension exercise.
Lateral Head: You can focus on the lateral head of the triceps with exercises like overhead tricep extensions or tricep pushdowns using a rope attachment. These movements emphasize the lateral head.
Medial Head: To target the medial head, exercises like reverse-grip tricep pushdowns or reverse-grip bench presses can be effective, as they involve an underhand grip.
Long Head: The long head of the triceps can be emphasized with exercises like skull crushers (lying tricep extensions) or incline tricep extensions.
Overhead Dumbbell Tricep Extension: Sit on a bench with back support and hold a dumbbell with both hands overhead. Lower it behind your head and then extend your arms. This exercise effectively targets the lateral head of the triceps.
Tricep Kickbacks: Use a dumbbell or cable machine to perform tricep kickbacks. Hold the weight behind you and fully extend your arm to work the lateral head.
Targeting the medial head of the triceps is essential for achieving a well-balanced and fully developed set of arm muscles. This often-neglected muscle group plays a significant role in various upper body movements and can greatly enhance your overall arm strength and appearance.
To effectively work the medial head of the triceps, incorporating exercises that emphasize its activation is key. Reverse grip tricep pushdowns, reverse grip bench presses, and overhead dumbbell tricep extensions are all excellent choices. These exercises engage the medial head by utilizing an underhand grip or placing the triceps in positions that maximize its involvement.
To maintain proper form, use a weight that challenges you within your desired rep range, and progressively increase the resistance over time. By doing so and incorporating a variety of triceps exercises into your routine, you can ensure comprehensive triceps development and improved upper body functionality. So, don’t overlook the medial head of your triceps including targeted exercises to build stronger, more sculpted arms.