T Nation

Fear of Tearing Triceps when Stretched


Hi guys, wanted the opinion of some experienced people here. I've been making some good progress on seated barbell tricep extensions. The ones done overhead where the bar is lowered behind the head to stretch the tris.

My question is, on my heavier sets, I've been getting a very powerful stretch in my long/inner head (sorry I get confused when it comes to those parts of the tricep). I understand this is a good thing and the goal of this particular movement, but lately the stretch feeling (which lasts for most of the concentric as well as the eccentric) has been so strong that I have been fearing that my tris will actually tear. Is this silly? Or should I slow down with the progress and keep the weight the same until the intense stretch feeling subsides?

If it helps, I am doing 1 plate per side for 10 reps currently (ez-bar). I know it's not much, but just giving an idea of where I'm at, if it helps at all.


start stretching your triceps regularly, they might just be tight. i do the DC extreme stretch with more weight than that and its no prob.


or if your really worried move the rep range up. i usually do OH or PJRs in the 12-15.


I use to do seated overhead tricep stretches with a DB until they started bothering my shoulder and elbow.

Now I step on some sort of band and basically do the same thing but standing up and holding onto the other end of the band. Feels awesome.


No, it's not silly. Injuries are not a myth. Lift intelligently and you will be lifting for a very long time injury free. There is no way anyone on a forum can knmow if you are on the brink of injury or not.

What kind of weight are we talking about here?


At times like that, I usually rotate that lift out for a bit and focus on stretching that area for a while.

Also, I usually do OH tri ext's after I have a good pump. Arms won't bend far enough to stretch the triceps.

Also, I cheat on 'em (depending on your def of cheating). I don't keep my upper arm perfectly vertical. Instead, I use a little momentum by pulling my elbows forward to initiate the lift. It lets me use enough weight to hammer the strongest part of the lift instead of being limited by the weakest point (the stretched position)


well,dunno if i'm experienced enough,anyway just done (very)close grip bb press,250x10/4/2 and my old elbow joints are fine BUT if I do any isolation movement with -say- 30lb i'm done and hurts like hell, so why don't bust your tris with an heavy compound and then refinish it with an isolation excercise?? I would have know this years ago :frowning:


Try them with a DB and as Jay said don't be so super strict form wise and see if that helps. This is my fav tri exercise - have been doing them for years and years. I feel a good stretch but it feels good to me not risky. But everyone has dif leverages so who knows in your case. If you really fear injury then move onto something else for a while.


I second this and would ad this, I have seen people maiking this kind of statement before and wandered why if you which is the only true judge if you are on the brink if not actually injuring yourself just simply work within parameters that do not cause this example years ago when I was working at a raquet club a member comes up to me and says "Every time I go up to 100 + lbs on the adduction machine I feel like I'm herniating myself, what do you think?"

Seriously? Does this really require someone else's opinion?

I suppose it's possible you just aren't describing a deep stretch adequately but you did say you felt like you were going to or were tearing something, if that is a accurate statement it would not go any further than that in my book STOP!!! Back off the weight tighten up the form but whatever you are doing that is feeling like tearing is not good.


While I love, and attribute a lot of my upper arm size to DB extensions (DB skulls on a decline bench actually), I won't ever do them first in a tricep session for fear of the strain it does put on the elbow tendon. This is actually what started my left elbow 'issues' last Spring, as I didn't feel like waiting to start with my usual warmup exercise of rope pressdowns. Suffice to say, I won't ever forget that little lesson.

Uness you already have the start of an injury (slighty tearing, strain etc), I wouldn't imagine there should be a real issue provided you are properly warmed up (blood inthe area, stretched a bit). You also might think about foam rolling the muscle. I still massage the hell out of my left tricep on days I'm planning to anhiliate it :slightly_smiling:



Guys, thanks for the advice. It helps loads.

A little more info: Before doing this exercise, I usually warm my tris up well with pushdowns. The thing is that this is the first time that I've really felt this kind of pain during this movement, which led me to believe it was the weight that my muscles arent used to yet.

My main concern was whether or not to back off on the weight for a while, or just ride things out and let the muscle adjust to the new load without thinking too much about it... OR ditch this exercise and do something else (worst case scenario because I really like this exercise). Bearing in mind what you have all wrote (Stu especially), I suppose I should really just take care to warm up the tris as much as possible prior to this movement.


Ovehead ext work the long head primarily. Pushdowns barely work the long head. Warm up your WHOLE triceps before going heavy


Ovehead ext work the long head primarily. Pushdowns barely work the long head. Warm up your WHOLE triceps before going heavy


Unless you're very long head dominant like someone in this thread.


Just curious for BONEZ: How do you warm up the long head?

Do you mean just do lighter warmup sets of french press before work sets?

I feel that having pump in the arms when you do stretch-type movement like french press which by the 'turgidity' limits the stretch, and can protect the tendons etc, but it's just a hunch


I warm up with supersets if pushdowns and ovehead ext in the lat tower. Thats just what i do. There are plentybof ways to warm up though. I dont hve time to look up turgidity by i think you can protect your triceps by having biceps ad forearms that limit the rom, as another option


^Reminds me of an article where Ronnie Coleman said he liked to train triceps after biceps, with the biceps pump giving him a "cusion" for tri extensions, which i'm sure limited the ROM a little.


Yea, that's what I meant. That was a horribly written post from my phone.

I left out a few words and made a few typos.


This is what I try to do.


Btw I usually try to warm up on the french press byy doing a shitload of reps as I work up in weight. Tbh i don't know if it works? I think I should try what BONES posted.