Positions of Flexion: Triceps
Walking into the gym, you start to feel a bit small, a bit pathetic. Your bench press hasn’t grown since 10th grade and you realize that many of the 15 year old kids can out press you! Their triceps are massive and their sleeves fill out their adult extra large t-shirts while you are still sporting your youth medium Abercrombie tee from 2006. Maybe it’s time to brush up on your tricep knowledge? Maybe it’s time to smash some work and figure out what you can do to stimulate some serious growth!
Arms are a grown man’s credentials to work ethic. A big set of cannons hanging off the shoulders makes every dude feel proud of their time in the gym. The sweep of the triceps is beautiful and tells everyone that the size matters and the strength is evident!
It is understood that the long head of the triceps contributes to elbow extension more at shoulder elevation while the medial head takes over at 90 degrees and above of shoulder elevation. We also know that the triceps as a whole is used to hold the elbow in place while fine skills are being expressed, such as typing and writing. It is also the antagonist to the biceps and when the biceps is undergoing a serious amount of stress, the tricep can contribute to elbow stiffness through cocontractions. The tricep is also key to stabilizing the humerus in various positions, leading to some impact on the shoulder joint as well.
During the mid-range movement of the triceps, the arm is directly out in front of the torso. This means movements such as bench press, close grip bench press, DB benches and lying extensions are all inside the mid-range. This position is generally where your triceps are the strongest and can stimulate the greatest amount of high threshold motor units. This is crucial for understanding growth! If you want the triceps to grow, you MUST push the weights in the mid-range.
Total contraction of the tricep is when the forearm is in line with the upper arm and the elbow joint is fully extended. The ideal position will have the hand in a lock out position slightly behind the shoulder and hips, leading to a massive point of contraction. Movements such as Ghostface Kickbacks and pushdowns on a long rope are key exercises to find the contracted position.
This point of a fully lengthened tricep occurs when the upper arm is next to the side of your head and the lower arm is flexed past the head. Think about a Miracle Gro or barbell Telle extension. The hands go well past the head, the tricep is lengthened and then STRETCHED further when the elbow flexes. This can also be done in a sitting position with one arm dumbbell extensions but nothing beats the Miracle Gro in an EMG testing for the stretched position!
You know the positions of extension for the triceps now, the mechanics are understood, now it is time to GROW! Try this simple routine that we use in Bize and Trize and get those beefy arms growing. This will give you the tricep pump to end all tricep pumps! Comment below if your triceps got obliterated!
1A) Close grip bench 5 second eccentric 5 x 7
Rest 30 seconds
1B) Miracle Gro 5 x 12-15
Rest 20 seconds
1C) Ghostface Kickbacks 5 x 25
Rest 2 minutes, make sure you stretch during your rest period!
Understanding the mechanics of the triceps is important for comprehending growth and stimulating the necessary muscle fibers. The triceps can lead to MASS across the entire upper body because of their role in pressing! By engaging with tricep training on a regular basis, the gains will be incredible. Try out our routine and let us know in the comment section below how the pump feels!
Dane Miller is the owner and founder of Garage Strength Sports Performance. He works with a select handful of clients on building comprehensive programs for fitness and nutrition. Several times a year he leads a workshop for coaches, trainers, and fitness enthusiasts.