Triceps for Pressing – Garage Strength

Triceps for Pressing


You’re under the bar for a new bench press personal best, mentally you’re locked in and positionally your set, the bar is just past halfway on the way up, then boom... the bar just stops moving. This is probably the worst thing that could happen during a pressing movement, but anyone who has lifted weights before has been there. And if you want to grow your pressing lifts and not beat yourself up for missing lifts, then building the BACK of your arms to “Status: Hercules,” will unlock endless gainz to build your pressing, and this blog is going to teach you how!


In nearly every pressing movement, the triceps are the last line of offense to complete the lift. When looking at nearly any elite athlete with a BIG press, whether it be the flat bench, incline, or overhead, they most likely ALWAYS have big triceps. As the biceps perform elbow flexion, the triceps perform elbow extension. In Latin, triceps stand for “three headed arm muscle,” due to having three muscle heads; the long, medial and lateral head.


During elbow extension, all 3 heads of the triceps will contract. Meaning that focusing on certain exercises may add some isolation to a head to grow, but in the end, they all will be stimulated. Genetics will always play a role in the amount of muscle fibers someone will have in their triceps, but doing various movements will create a new stimulus to the body and force it to adapt, whether its through sarcoplasmic and myofibrillular hypertrophy. And through this adaptation, the muscles will grow to overcome the stimulus, resulting in positive progress. An Important aspect to remind yourself when trying to build your arms is that the triceps are the antagonistic counterpart to the biceps, therefore, triceps actually will indirectly aid in the development and strength of the biceps creating greater blood flow and nutrient uptake in the upper arm area.


Roles of each head:

  • Long Head:
  • Biggest muscle of the 3 heads and besides elbow extension, the long head also crosses at the shoulder joint and assists the Latissimus Dorsi in shoulder adduction. Typically this head is best stimulated when the arms are overhead, so DB Overhead Extensions are a great exercise for the long head.
  • Medial Head:
  • Centered in the middle of the upper arm between the long and lateral head. This head is lower near the olecranon so it assets in joint stability. Typically best stimulated when the arms are at the side and with either a neutral or reverse grip, so Ghostface Kickbacks and Cable Pressdowns would work to hit the medial head.
  • Lateral Head:
  • On the outward facing side of the humerus or upper arm, and responsible for displaying the horseshoe! Having your arms at the side and utilizing an overhand grip, through exercises like Straight Bar Pushdowns and Parallel Bar Dips will hit the lateral head big time!

Lifts to Improve Pressing!

To get better at pressing , the only magic pill out there is that you simply have to press more frequently. And through the use different multi-joint exercises you can do that. By changing grip width, range of motion, and utilizing accommodating resistance, the triceps can be put into a position to stimulate growth.

Close Grip Incline Bench Press


The close grip incline press puts greater focus on the triceps at the bottom of the lift as well as a lockout. With the hands a closer grip width, the pecs, which usually take on much more load and has a greater stretch-shortening cycle then the triceps.

Stop wasting your time continuing to miss lifts and beating yourself up for it. After reading this blog,, you should have a much better understanding of how the triceps work and how they influence pressing motions. building them up through Compound isolated movements and them growing the muscle fibers with sarcoplasmic hypertrophy exercises will grow those fibers and allow them to be a fac0rwhen you go for your next big PR!!

T'Mond Johnson

T'Mond Johnson is a Sports Performance Coach at Garage Strength. He coaches athletes and clients of all ages to reach their athletic and lifestyle goals.


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