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Everything Triceps Brachii - Anatomy, Best Exercises & Programming

Jan 16, 2022


Everything Triceps Brachii – Anatomy, Best Exercises & Programming

The Triceps Brachii are a 3-head posterior arm muscle that crosses two-joints (bi-articulate) – long, lateral, and medial heads. All heads insert into the elbow therefore not having any impact on radioulnar supination. When you do a biceps curl, the positioning of your hands plays a role via EMG. When doing a triceps extension, hand position DOES NOT.

Origin (proximal): Long Head – Infraglenoid tubercle of scapula, Lateral Head – Posterior Humerus above spiral groove, Medial Head -Posterior Humerus below spiral groove.

Insertion (distal): Olecranon process of ulna

Action: Long Head = Elblow Extension, Extension & Adduction of Humerus, Lateral & Medial Head = elbow extension only.


The best triceps exercises get the humerus AND the elbow to extend.

Close Grip Bench Press: If you want big quads, you squat. If you want big glutes, you deadlift & hip thrust. If you want big arms, do multi-jointed exercises that engage the triceps i.e. close grip bench press & close grip push-ups. The elbow will extend and you will be creating more damage by engaging the chest, deltoids and serratus anterior muscles.

Pronated Body Weight Extensions aka Chris Dips. One of my favorite triceps exercises because of the full range of motion (ROM) due to the humerus flexing which forces more extension at the humerus and elbow concentrically. The lower the bar goes, the more difficult the exercise becomes. This exercise will destroy your core as well!

Skull Crushers: There are a lot of variations that can be done in a supinated position on a bench with elbow extension aka Skull Crushers. I like to keep my humerus in constant motion to engage more of the long head of the triceps vs strict elbow extension aka keep your elbows locked. Begin with 3-5 sets with your feet on the ground and then add in another 3-5 sets with your feet straight out to engage the core.

Banded Triceps Extensins: Strict elbow extensions are great at the end of the workout for sets of 20-50 reps with limited rest (less than 60-seconds.) To optimize metabilic stress (1 of 3 mechanisms for hypertrophy by Brad Schoenfeld aka Dr. Hypertrophy) perform high reps with short rest periods. The goal is to keep the burn in the muscle aka CHASE THE BURN!!!


Aim for 9-15 total working sets per triceps workout, ideally 2-3x per week.

  1. Close Grip Bench Press 3×12-8-5 rest 3-5 minutes

  2. Skull Crushers 3×10-8-6 rest 2-3 minutes

  3. Chris Dips 3×10 rest 2-3 minutes

  4. Skull Crushers w/ feet elevated into close grip push-ups 3×12/AMRAP rest 2-3 minutes

  5. Banded Triceps Extensions 2×50-40 rest less than 60-seconds


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