T Nation

Best Triceps Lift for Size?


Ok so I am wanting to narrow down what in all of your opinions is the single best tricep move for size. Including rep range, tempo and weight percentage. Let's focus on the whole tricep and not the upper and lower. So basically what would be the one lift you would do if you had to only pic one.


waits for holymac and waylander's gigantic triceps to enter thread


Hm does kickbacks I heard.


weighted jerking off while suspended from olympic rings by my knees. Ask CW.


French Presses with a pause in the stretched position as acute an angle as possible between forearm and upper arm. 4x12,10,10,8-10

That said, don't do only 1 exercise for triceps, lol.

Recipie for big tris:

Heavy press
Horizontal extension
Overhead extension
Squeeze movement if you wish


Upper and lower? Come on. This is why everyone should pick up an anatomy book at least once in their life.

The tricep has 3 heads. Not an upper and lower half.

Train all 3 heads for max size.

There is a perfectly adequate thread in the tcell about each muscle group. Started by MODOK I believe.

Follow KingBeef's advice.


that is one scary ass facial expression lol. nice tri's though


That's my "you gonna get raped" face


Well said bonez.


Asking for it with that pic this time KB...




When I posted it I specifically remembered you busting on the last pic I posted with a ridicuous facial expression, lol. God, I knew I should have just blocked it out entirely so thread didn't become about it


Seriously though, solid tris.


Nahh you just like being creepy like that. 10$ says KB has a white van with "Free ice cream" painting on it...



Do you have any tricks up your sleeve to avoid elbow discomfort/pain when performing stretching exercises? Pretty much all sorts of extensions hurt my elbows, only exception being regular cable pushdowns with various grips.


Bonez I fully understand the anatomy of the triceps, I didn't rack up 1000's of posts on here and not pick anything up. You have developed some impressive arms, so what is your fab lift, or lifts.


KB has some of his own tips of course, but here's one that's never failed me:
PJR's (control the negative and don't bounce out of the stretch, do not let the upper arms come all the way to perpendicular to the floor either... You can lock out but you don't have to).

Those are the most elbow friendly extensions you get imo. Some DB's make them impossible to do though.

Another: Lying Tricep Extensions with a pullover motion (i.e. not skullcrushers) where you bring the bar down behind the head and basically do an EZ bar PJR (can go heavier here), though they are usually a teeny bit harder on the joints. May occasionally have to phase them out for a while.

Both have a good bit of long-head focus.

Doing those pullover+extensions (how far you go into the stretch is up to you, if you want to go real heavy, I would not go all the way down) with the bench in front of a cable stack with the right attachment (similar to EZ bar for me) can also work well.

-Use elbow sleeves from EFS or TK's...

-Warm/ramp up properly, do stretch exercises and exercises that are hard on the elbows after your other tricep work...

Things I can't do... Traditional skullcrushers/nosebreakers impinge something in my elbows... Straight bar extensions on the bench, odd on the tendon and impinge something... Lying DB Extensions unless I make it a pullover-extension and tbh they suck even then past the 70's-80's no matter what I do...
Overhead Extensions I can occasionally do but only with the long, heavy EZ bar (not the regular curl bar, the bigger one is like 50 lbs and both grip areas are spaced wider apart and angled more)

As far as tricep anatomy... The lateral and medial head do the same thing: Extend the elbow. They come from the humerus.
I haven't had much luck isolating either... They both come from the same tendon and insert into the same bone over only one joint.

That being said, elbows flared pressing seems to put more strain on the lateral head (just feeling it, can't say if it really makes a difference), especially BTN presses.

Medial head... Ok, technically you can hit it with pushdowns and all that same as the lateral head, but I found mine growing out only with heavier pressing exercises, esp. elbows in (might be because I'm much stronger with tucked elbows on the bench)... Pushdowns and such have done jackshit for it.

I'm not certain, but it seems that in some guys, the medial and long head are fused? At least that's what it looks like. I wonder if BBB can chime in and confirm whether that's possible and if that fused head then performs the functions of both in equal measure.

As it is, my long head get nothing out of any free-weight press. It just doesn't have to do much there and pure elbow extension/pressing only trains it (from one side and it seems that it's just not effective). I once thought that dips put a lot of strain on it, but it's just the long head being pushed against the lats... No dice.
Gotta say that pushdowns have never really done anything but give me a pump. I use them for warming up at most (usually not strict either, but as a pulldown+pushdown if that makes sense, just focusing on the long head instead of the lats for the pulldown part)

Long head spans all the way from the shoulder to the forearm, does not come from the humerus.
Mostly stabilizes the arm during strict pushdowns/extensions and so on, does basically the same thing as the lats to the arm. Thus a pullover motion combined with an extension part to stress it fully.

Smith wide reverse grip benching and IH presses (press towards feet as well as up) may be the only pressing variants (and pressing AGAINST the rack towards your feet on free-weight stuff)
that do anything for it because it's main function is being trained to a degree there, but I would not want to rely on those alone.


Always do freeweight extensions last in the routine when your tri's are fully pumped and absolutely make sure to keep your reps higher, I'd say never use a weight where you can't get at least 8 good reps.

I'm actually in the middle of taking some time off from free weight extensions because my left elbow started bothering me from moving up in weight too fast and going too low in reps. When there's no more pain in my elbow from doing pressing exercises and I throw extensions back in (I miss my french presses :frowning: ), I'm definitely going to be following the guidelines above. I might even go as far as only doing extensions every other workout if I feel the need.


Note: Big/strong long head matters little as far as pressing strength carryover is concerned... Might help stabilization though, esp. for shirted benchers... Overhead stabilization as well... Other than that, it looks cool and without it, your arms will likely look kind of skinny from behind.

May also help elbow health, though I'm not 100% sure there...


Is it the tendon (above the elbow), or is it dull pain around the elbow and forearm?