T Nation

Tricep Help

What’s up? I’ve always had kind of a problem with tricep exercises. I do tricep pushdown, dips, and close grip bench just fine. However, when I do kickbacks or skull crushers, it doesn’t feel right.

Whenever I do kickbacks, it hurts my shoulders and whenever I do skull crushers, it hurts my elbows. Its not like a real intense pain, just feels like maybe I shouldnt do those. I usually just ignore it and go on.

So, I was wondering if anyone else has this problem and what other exercises could I do besides the ones I listed.

Thanks in advance for any tips…

Umm, kickbacks just blow in general.

Skullcrushers (i.e. extensions) hurt alot of peoples elbows, not much to do for it I don’t think except general joint friendly stuff.

If extensions bother you, don’t do them, they aren’t mandatory.

Are your triceps underdeveloped? If not then you may not need all the extra work. If you are doing enough heavy pressing, and close grips are ok, then you may be fine with that.

On the skull crushers - You have to keep your elbows in at your sides as much as possible. The further out the elbows - the less the triceps are recruited.

A couple of variations of skulls may alleviate some of the stress on your elbows.

Set-up for regular skulls, but rather than holding the bar straight-up over top of you for the starting position, hold the bar at a bit of angle (around 60 degrees) towards over the back of your head (while keeping the arms straight).

Keep your elbows locked in that position while you proceed with the movement. I find that to help keep this position, it may be useful to start with your head a little over the edge of the bench (ie. head not resting on the bench).

Decline skulls also seem to take some stress off the elbows.

Article by Eric Cressey with some info on skull-crusher & general extension related elbow pain;
http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=1270397
(take home point - don’t do them all the time, especially if they’re hurting you.)

If kickbacks hurt your shoulders, don’t do them - there are better ways to build triceps. If you think there is something in particular up with your shoulders that the kickbacks are highlighting, get a physio to check your shoulder stability & posture.

Thanks for the advice, guys. I don’t think my tri’s are underdeveloped, I’m really strong at the tricep pushdown. (my fav. workout)

I think I’ll just stick to Tricep Pushdown (rope) and close grip bench and do dips on the day I do fully body workout. I don’t see how it would be possibel for my shoulders to be injured, I mean I have been playing ice hockey for 12 years, but that’s why we where shoulder pads.

Oh, something I will try is reverse grip pushdown, with the one handed strap. Heard that is pretty good isolation.

depending on body orientation and hand position, dips can be more a full-body, shouolder, chest workout. Bench dips will target tris better.

[quote]rainjack wrote:
On the skull crushers - You have to keep your elbows in at your sides as much as possible. The further out the elbows - the less the triceps are recruited. [/quote]

What muscle do you recruit more when you flare the elbows out?

[quote]nptitim wrote:
rainjack wrote:
On the skull crushers - You have to keep your elbows in at your sides as much as possible. The further out the elbows - the less the triceps are recruited.

What muscle do you recruit more when you flare the elbows out?[/quote]

You tend to cheat more when the elbows are more flared out. Which means other muscles are helping out. Which means less stress is placed on the triceps.

To be more specific I think flaring out the elbows on extensions and pressing exercises recruits more of the Lateral Head of the triceps and keeping the elbows more tucked-in recruits all heads of the triceps in a more synchronized manner. I’m not an expert so…

-Serious

[quote]Serious Guy wrote:
nptitim wrote:
rainjack wrote:
On the skull crushers - You have to keep your elbows in at your sides as much as possible. The further out the elbows - the less the triceps are recruited.

What muscle do you recruit more when you flare the elbows out?

You tend to cheat more when the elbows are more flared out. Which means other muscles are helping out. Which means less stress is placed on the triceps.

To be more specific I think flaring out the elbows on extensions and pressing exercises recruits more of the Lateral Head of the triceps and keeping the elbows more tucked-in recruits all heads of the triceps in a more synchronized manner. I’m not an expert so…

-Serious[/quote]

You also get a mini pressing movement when you flare the elbows, so you are bringing in pecs and anterior delts. The more the flare, the more of a press it becomes.

Why would you even want to do kickbacks?

Try Tate Presses. Look them up on here or the “exercise index” at www.elitefts.com. They’ll put some mass on your lower triceps by the elbow.

Good luck.

DD