A great exercise that compliments many of the compound movements used to gain power and strength. There are a wide variety of ways to perform this exercise. Standing, lying down, inclined, with barbells or on the cable machine the number of ways to accomplish this exercise are truly staggering. Because of this only the most fundamental movements from this group will be emphasized and explicitly explained.

STANDING

The best method to do this exercise standing would be to use the cable pulleys and either the straight bar or double rope attachment on the cable. It should be noted that using the double rope attachment will place more of an mphasis on the lateral head of the tricep group. To begin, select the appropriate amount of weight on the machine and stand facing the pulley and weight stack. The bar, ropes or EZ bar should be approximately at your sternum. Keep your feet shoulder width apart and grasp the bar keeping your elbows secured to the side of your body. You want your elbows to remain completely motionless to reap the most benefits from this exercise. Press down on the bar as if you were trying to drive it into the ground until your arm is straight. Slowly let the bar up but return it only close to the original starting position. You should inhale before the press down and exhale during the press.

A variation upon this is to use the same motion only bending over at the waist and bringing the bar towards you at an angle. The starting position of the bar is now slightly over the crown of your skull. You should keep your back straight during the entire movement and remember to breathe. An underhand grip can be used in place of the overhand (this is not possible using the double rope attachment) to place a stronger emphasis on the long head of the muscle group.

SITTING OR KNEELING

You should sit with your back straight and feet spread apart in front of you. Take an appropriately weighted dumbbell and place your hands underneath one end with your palms facing up. Experiment until you have found a grip that you are comfortable with. Raise the barbell above and slightly behind your head. It may be easier for a spotter to hand you the barbell rather than bringing it above your head on your own. Your arms should be extended above your head with the weight in hand. Keeping your elbows motionless, inhale and then lower the weight behind your head until your hands are level with the base of your skull. Press the weight up until your arms are nearly fully extended exhaling through to the end. Inhale at the top and repeat the motion for your desired number of repetitions. You can also substitute dumbbells in each hand or a barbell in lieu of the single dumbbell.

The variation would be to use the same position and movement except that you use the cable and pulley to provided resistance. This is easiest when the double rope attachment is used but you could just as easily accomplish the same exercise with the straight bar or EZ bar attachment.

Tricep extensions from a kneeling or bent over position are usually aided with a weight bench. Begin by selecting a suitable amount of weight and sturdy weight bench. Rest your right knee and right hand on the bench. You should be bent over with your back straight and your right arm near complete extension. Grasp the weight and bring it up just below your ribcage. While keeping your left elbow locked into your body, inhale and then extend your arm exhaling through the motion. Bring the weight slowly back to the starting position. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions for each arm. Grips differing from the standard hammer grip (as if you were holding a hammer or the butt of a pistol) require your elbow to be further away from your body. Remember to keep your elbows motionless and squeeze at the apex of the motion.

Bending over at the waist while sitting on the bench allows for a few variations on the above exercise. While bent over, keeping your back straight and headhyper-extended, grab the dumbbells with each hand and bring your upper arms in line with your back so that your arms form a ninety degree angle. Your palms should be facing backwards and your feet should be together in frontof you. Inhale and extend your arms outward until they are parallel with the floor exhaling through the motion. Slowly return the dumbbell to the starting position and repeat. A hammer grip may be employed for variety and to concentrate more on the medial head of the triceps. You may also perform the previous exercise in this position using both arms at once to more efficiently utilize your time. During all of the exercises it’s important not to swing the weight and to concentrate on the muscle being worked.

SUPINE

With the exception of the extension behind your head, all of these exercises may be performed either lying flat or declined on the weight bench. You may substitute barbells, dumbbells or and EZ curl bar for any of these exercises.

Begin by selecting an amount of weight you are comfortable with and is congruent with your current training methods and goals. Lie back on the bench so that the top of your head is at the very end of the bench. Have your spotter hand you the weight or lie down with it so that it rests above your stomach. If you are using the barbell your hands should be spaced approximately eighteen inches apart (about the width of four compact disks). Press the weight above you and center it above your neck. Bending at the elbows only and keeping your upper arm motionless, inhale and slowly lower the bar the top of your forehead. Exhale as you press the bar to the starting position and lock your arms at the top. Repeat for the desired amount of repetitions.

The variation of this exercise involves a slight change in the starting position of the barbell or dumbbells. Rather than begin with the bar above your neck start with your arms slightly bent and parallel to the floor. Lower the bar slowly inhaling during the motion until your knuckles are facing the floor. Exhale as you extend the bar to the starting position and lock your arms at the end. Repeat the motion as necessary.

Remembering to keep your back in alignment, never move your elbows, never swing the weight and never use weight beyond what you can handle will ensure fruitful outcomes and an enjoyable injury free work out.

Sources:

  • My own personal experience and knowledge gained from weight lifting with a freind who is a certified personal trainer
  • Bodybuilding.com

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