Triceps: Training the Three Heads

The triceps (three-headed) muscle take up two-thirds of your arm space, making it larger than the biceps muscle.

triceps training

It is composed of

  • The long head that runs down the back of your arm and is the largest of the three heads. It’s also referred to as the inner head.
  • The medial head is positioned on the midline of the triceps, lying deep within the arm. This head is appropriately referred to as the middle head at times.
  • The lateral head is located on the outside of the arm, giving that familiar horseshoe shape that makes your triceps stand out. This head is often referred to as the outer head.

Smart Training Tips:

To build serious mass on your triceps, you need to train each head in a precise order. As the angle of your arms change, the intensity of stress affects the heads differently.

  • Begin training, with the long head train that first and work down to the smallest head, the lateral head. Training with the longest head and working down allows you to put the most intensity and power into the primary head that is responsible for overall size.
  • Thumb Placement: Exercises such as skulls, overhead extensions and pushdowns, shifting your thumb to the same side of your hand where your fingers are (a false grip) will put greater emphasis on your triceps.
  • All three heads work as a team. You can only vary the zone effect with training.
  • While training, make sure to lower slowly all the way down until your triceps are parallel with the ground. At the top of the movement, squeeze your triceps hard for 1 second.

triceps training

Exercises for the long head
  • Skulls/lying triceps extensions/French press
  • Overhead extension (reverse grip too)
  • Pushdown using straight bar with a narrow grip
  • Close-grip bench press
  • Dips
Exercises for Medial Head
  • Close-grip bench press
  • Overhead extension
  • Skulls
  • Pushdown (v-bar or straight bar)
  • Reverse grip pushdown
  • Dips

triceps training

Exercises for Lateral Head
  • Rope extensions
  • Kickbacks
  • Pushdowns
  • Dips

In the first week do workout 1, second week do workout 2 and so on. See how your triceps look and feel after this cycle.

For Triceps Strength Exercises (instructions), Click here.


The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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