The triceps extension exercise can work the whole muscle but do it wrong and you could be getting your shoulders involved and decreasing the range of movement, greatly affecting the results you get.
What Is A Triceps Extension
The triceps muscle (otherwise known as the triceps brachii) is mainly responsible for extending the arm. It originates at the shoulder blade (scapula) and inserts at the tip of the ulna, which is one of the bones in the forearm.
The triceps extension is done using a cable machine and because of the position your arms for this exercise, it works the muscle in the mid-range. For this reason it is best done later on in your triceps workout after shortest and longest position exercises.
One of the two most common mistakes with the triceps extension is not having a full range of movement. When the arm is straight the elbows should be almost locked, which is a good thing only when doing triceps exercises, and when the arms are bent make sure they are fully bent. A good way to do this is to briefly contract the bicep. Until you can do this your arm isn’t bent sufficiently.
The second common mistake is allowing movement other than at the elbows, whether this is at the shoulders or even the back. Both are due to starting with a weight that is too heavy, or fatigue as the set progresses and both are a way to cheat, reducing the effectiveness of the reverse triceps extension.
How To Do A Triceps Extension
1. Attach a straight bar to the cable machine and set it to its highest position.
2. Stand close and hold the bar with your palms facing down, shoulder width apart.
3. Engage your core muscles, keep your head up and have your upper arms tight against the side of your body as you fully straighten them.
4. Now with control, fully bend your arms making sure that the only movement is coming from your elbows and repeat this for the required number of reps.
Notes For Triceps Extension
1. Stand close to the machine but far enough that the bar or your hands can move freely without touching it.
2. Keep your upper arms tight against the sides of your body at all times to help prevent the shoulders becoming involved.
3. Bend your arm with control so that you get an eccentric contraction, which should take 3-7 seconds depending on your training goals, until you feel your bicep start to contract. When you do, immediately straighten your arm explosively to recruit fast-twitch muscle fibres.
4. When doing a triceps extension, make sure that you fully straighten your arm to get a full contraction.
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