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Do Painless Free Weight Triceps Exercises Exist?


#1

Hello sirs

I train in my basement gym with free weights and every triceps exercise i tried so far hurt my elbows. i used to do all kinds of barbell extensions ( which are the best exercises of course ) in the past but cant anymore.

Is there any exercise you've tried yourself which are elbow friendly except kickbacks?

I opened this thread because powerlifting guys do lots of assistance triceps work and thought they may help me.

By the way i do dips in my chest workouts but i actually want to do more isolation type of exercises.


#2

Close grip bench and what I call rolling extensions (for example PJR pullovers) where you initiate movement with another muscle before the extension.


#3

Could you get some resistance bands? They have been huge for me having some painfree tricep exercises in a home gym.


#4

Below is a response I gave on a similar thread:

I believe triceps-tendon irritation stems from 1) not enough ‘off’ days, and 2) poor exercise sequencing.

To address #1, I would suggest clustering all your triceps-intensive work (ie, pressing movements and direct tri work) on a single training day. This will allow maximal recovery time for the tendons.

Working with Meadows opened my eyes to the importance of #2. Since I’ve started programming JM’s way, I haven’t had any trouble with my triceps insertions (and they used to hurt constantly). Think of your Triceps work as being divided into three phases. Each phase has a specific goal, and each prepares you for the following phase.

  1. Activation/warm-up phase;
  2. hypertrophy-work phase; and
  3. stretch phase.

IMO, the key to a tendon-sparing triceps workout is a thorough and proper warm-up. The goal is to engorge the muscle with as much blood as possible, but without putting undue stress on the tendon. To accomplish this, the exercise should be one that allows a hard squeeze against resistance in the flexed position (I prefer rope pulldowns, but kickbacks work really well too). The weight should be very light, allowing reps in the 20-30 range. This is key: The ROM must be kept very short–from the ‘almost fully flexed’ to the ‘fully flexed’ position. (Basically, you just break the locked-out position to the tune of a few inches, then go right back into it.) Squeeze your tris like a maniac throughout. Do 3-4 sets, with only ~30 seconds rest between.

Your tris should feel absolutely blown up at this point. That is a good thing. NOW your tendons are ready for some heavy work. Heavy pushdowns, dips, CGBP (another reason to do tris on Chest day, BTW), etc–pretty much anything EXCEPT skullcrushers (more on this below). Reps in the hypertrophy range, 8-12 or so. Do as many sets as needed.

Only NOW are the tendons ready for some careful stretching. The last triceps exercise emphasizes the stretch position. Skullcrushers with the head hanging off the bench and the bar reaching back towards the floor are great here (I do them with DBs, which allows me to tweak the hand position as needed). As with the activation phase, the weights are lighter, and the reps higher–10-20/set is probably ideal. 2-3 sets are plenty IMO.

At the end, your tris will be fried, but your tendons will not.


#5

As part of your warm up every workout for two weeks do this ONE MIN/SIDE:

Followed by this stretch ONE MIN/SIDE (30 sec lat strech/30 sec tris stretch):

Only sticking to exercises that don’t hurt is a short-term bandaid for a potential long-term issue. I promise you’ll feel much better, if not pain-free, in two weeks if you do this every warmup.


#6

[quote]Gorillakiv83 wrote:
… every triceps exercise i tried so far hurt my elbows. i used to do all kinds of barbell extensions ( which are the best exercises of course )[/quote]
If they all hurt your elbows, I’d suggest that they’ve never been “the best”.

There are lots of pain-free exercises, but there might not be a lot of pain-free exercises for you. I’d suggest warming up the elbow area with high-rep reverse curls (12+ reps per set without hitting failure). Nope, not a triceps exercise, but it’s a great warm up for the elbow joint.

I’d also consider plain old close-grip push-ups superset either before or after any other tri exercise. Or think about top half presses (going from about eye-level to lockout, standing or seated, with DBs or a barbell). Obviously neither of those are isolation exercises, but your goal and abilities should determine the appropriate exercises, not vice versa.

High-rep band pressdowns are probably one of the most common exercises for tri work/elbow prehab. If you don’t have a band or cable setup, either try to rig one up over a crossbeam, like a tow rope attached to some plates, or stick with kickbacks since they seem to be on your doable list.

EyeDentist just laid out some great info about paying attention to the order of exercises. That’s going to be a huge factor, too.


#7

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
Could you get some resistance bands? They have been huge for me having some painfree tricep exercises in a home gym.[/quote]

yes, i’ve had a resistance band for years and never used it.
i searched youtube and found this video.
i think i may do this exercise.


#8

[quote]EyeDentist wrote:
Below is a response I gave on a similar thread:

I believe triceps-tendon irritation stems from 1) not enough ‘off’ days, and 2) poor exercise sequencing.

To address #1, I would suggest clustering all your triceps-intensive work (ie, pressing movements and direct tri work) on a single training day. This will allow maximal recovery time for the tendons.

Working with Meadows opened my eyes to the importance of #2. Since I’ve started programming JM’s way, I haven’t had any trouble with my triceps insertions (and they used to hurt constantly). Think of your Triceps work as being divided into three phases. Each phase has a specific goal, and each prepares you for the following phase.

  1. Activation/warm-up phase;
  2. hypertrophy-work phase; and
  3. stretch phase.

IMO, the key to a tendon-sparing triceps workout is a thorough and proper warm-up. The goal is to engorge the muscle with as much blood as possible, but without putting undue stress on the tendon. To accomplish this, the exercise should be one that allows a hard squeeze against resistance in the flexed position (I prefer rope pulldowns, but kickbacks work really well too). The weight should be very light, allowing reps in the 20-30 range. This is key: The ROM must be kept very short–from the ‘almost fully flexed’ to the ‘fully flexed’ position. (Basically, you just break the locked-out position to the tune of a few inches, then go right back into it.) Squeeze your tris like a maniac throughout. Do 3-4 sets, with only ~30 seconds rest between.

Your tris should feel absolutely blown up at this point. That is a good thing. NOW your tendons are ready for some heavy work. Heavy pushdowns, dips, CGBP (another reason to do tris on Chest day, BTW), etc–pretty much anything EXCEPT skullcrushers (more on this below). Reps in the hypertrophy range, 8-12 or so. Do as many sets as needed.

Only NOW are the tendons ready for some careful stretching. The last triceps exercise emphasizes the stretch position. Skullcrushers with the head hanging off the bench and the bar reaching back towards the floor are great here (I do them with DBs, which allows me to tweak the hand position as needed). As with the activation phase, the weights are lighter, and the reps higher–10-20/set is probably ideal. 2-3 sets are plenty IMO.

At the end, your tris will be fried, but your tendons will not. [/quote]

wow, this is pure gold man.
thank you very much. i will try it as soon as i return from Prague.


#9

[quote]jskrabac wrote:
As part of your warm up every workout for two weeks do this ONE MIN/SIDE:

Followed by this stretch ONE MIN/SIDE (30 sec lat strech/30 sec tris stretch):

Only sticking to exercises that don’t hurt is a short-term bandaid for a potential long-term issue. I promise you’ll feel much better, if not pain-free, in two weeks if you do this every warmup.

[/quote]

thanks man, i will try them.


#10

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:

[quote]Gorillakiv83 wrote:
… every triceps exercise i tried so far hurt my elbows. i used to do all kinds of barbell extensions ( which are the best exercises of course )[/quote]
If they all hurt your elbows, I’d suggest that they’ve never been “the best”.

There are lots of pain-free exercises, but there might not be a lot of pain-free exercises for you. I’d suggest warming up the elbow area with high-rep reverse curls (12+ reps per set without hitting failure). Nope, not a triceps exercise, but it’s a great warm up for the elbow joint.

I’d also consider plain old close-grip push-ups superset either before or after any other tri exercise. Or think about top half presses (going from about eye-level to lockout, standing or seated, with DBs or a barbell). Obviously neither of those are isolation exercises, but your goal and abilities should determine the appropriate exercises, not vice versa.

High-rep band pressdowns are probably one of the most common exercises for tri work/elbow prehab. If you don’t have a band or cable setup, either try to rig one up over a crossbeam, like a tow rope attached to some plates, or stick with kickbacks since they seem to be on your doable list.

EyeDentist just laid out some great info about paying attention to the order of exercises. That’s going to be a huge factor, too.[/quote]

thanks Chris. band pushdowns seem like a great idea, i will definitely give them a try.
warming up the elbows with reverse curls is also very clever, i will try that too.
i may start with high rep band pushdowns and fill my elbows with blood.
then i can superset close grip push ups with db kickbacks. this routine looks doable.