The 8 best stretches and exercises for Triceps

The triceps brachii, or more commonly known just as the triceps, are located at the back of the arm and is the major muscle in the extension of the elbow, or straightening the arm. Triceps brachii muscle means “three-headed arm” muscle as it originates in three places, attaching at the scapula (shoulder blade) and at two places at the top of the humerus (arm bone). The three heads act in varying movements of the upper arm and elbow, but with its origin on the scapula, the long head also acts on the shoulder joint and is also involved in backward rotation and adduction of the arm. The muscle inserts in just below the elbow at the olecranon of ulnar.

Injury to the triceps can cause a range of symptoms including;

Pain patterns for tricep trigger points

Back of Arm Pain
Back of Shoulder Pain
Dorsal Forearm Pain
Upper Thoracic Back Pain
Volar Finger Pain

Less commonly;
Front of Arm Pain
Lateral Epicondylar Pain
Medial Epicondylar Pain
Olecranon Pain [1]

Your massage therapist will likely work the triceps in conjunction with other muscles in the area such as the biceps, muscles of the forearm and muscles of the rotator cuff, depending on where your pain is.

Stretching Triceps

Tricep stretch

The best way to stretch triceps is to reach up with you the arm you want to stretch, bend at the elbow, and reach over with your other hand and grasp your elbow on the top, so your palm faces down towards the mid-back.

If your flexibility is not good enough to be able to reach your elbow with the opposite hand, have a towel in the hand of the affected side, and reach the bottom of the towel with the other hand at the back of the body. Gently tug the towel down while gripping.

A cross body stretch will also stretch the long head of the triceps. Reach your straight arm across the body and use the other arm to create tension and support the elbow.

Strengthening Triceps

Exercising the triceps directly will achieve the best results, with compound movements.


Close Grip Bench Press

  1. Lie on a flat bench with your feet flat on the floor. Make sure your back is completely flat on the bench, with no “arching” of your spine.
  2. Grip the barbell with an overhand grip, shoulder width or slightly less than shoulder width apart. (Do not make your grip too narrow as it limits stability of the barbell which can lead to injury)
  3. Push up using your chest and shoulders to lift the barbell above your body, then lower it slowly ( a count of 2) towards the centre of your chest. Hold for a count of one.
  4. Without “bouncing” the weight, force the barbell back up over the middle of your chest, straightening your arms and locking your elbows once your arms are fully straight. Hold for a count of one.
  5. Repeat.

Tricep Dips

  1. To get into the starting position, hold your body at arm’s length with your arms nearly locked above the bars.
  2. Now, inhale and slowly lower yourself downward. Your torso should remain upright and your elbows should stay close to your body. This helps to better focus on tricep involvement. Lower yourself until there is a 90 degree angle formed between the upper arm and forearm.
  3. Then, exhale and push your torso back up using your triceps to bring your body back to the starting position.
  4. Repeat the movement for the prescribed amount of repetitions.

Overhead Extensions

  1. Sit on a bench with back support.
  2. Grip a dumbbell at one end using both hands. Your palms should be facing inward.
  3. Hold the dumbbell overhead with your arms fully extended.  This is the the start position.
  4. Keep your upper arms close to your head (biceps roughly level with your temples) and near to 90degrees to the floor.
  5. Moving only your forearms, lower the dumbbell in a smooth arc behind your head until your forearms and biceps touch. Hold for a count of one.
  6. Return to the start position by using the triceps to extend your arm and raise the dumbbell. Exhale as you do this.
  7. Repeat.

Lying Chest Overhead Extensions

  1. Lie on a flat bench, holding a barbell on your chest with an overhand grip. (Your hands should be shoulder width apart)
  2. Get into starting position, raising the bar above your chest by extending your arms, but do NOT lock your elbows.
  3. Keeping your arms slightly bent, slower lower the weight in a smooth arc to a position behind your head by rotating your shoulders. (as if putting your hands in the air)
  4. Keep moving the barbell behind your head until you feel a slight stretch in your chest. Hold for a count of one.
  5. Return to the start position in a smooth revers arc.
  6. Continue holding the weight above your chest, then repeat.

Tricep Cable Rope Push /Pull Downs

  1. Set up a cable station with a straight bar on attached to the top pulley.
  2. Grip the bar with an overhand grip,with your hands slightly less than shoulder width apart.
  3. Position your feet shoulder width apart,with knees slightly bent for stability.
  4. Pull the bar down until your forearms are parallel to the floor with your elbows close to your body and your wrists locked in a straight position. This is your staring point.
  5. Moving only your forearms, push the bar down towards the floor until your arms are fully extended and you feel a stretch in your triceps. Hold for a count of one and squeeze your triceps.
  6. Return to the start position moving your forearms only. Hold for a count of one then repeat. [2]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *