When it comes to increasing the girth of your arms, many focus on developing the biceps, but in reality your triceps are the largest muscle group in your arm, making up almost two thirds of them!
The triceps brachii muscle is comprised of three heads (pictured below) that connect the humorous and scapula bone to the forearm bone. The triceps is the primary extensor of the elbow and is involved in every pushing motion.
It is important to perform movements that incorporate all three heads, and knowing the location of each part of the tricep brachii will enable you to perform exercises that specifically isolate and stimulate their growth, and will have you busting the arms of your shirts in no time!
The three heads of the triceps are: - The long head: the largest of the three heads, it is responsible for the 'hang' on the bottom of the arm when performing a front double bicep - The lateral head: responsible for the lateral aspect of the 'horseshoe' - The medial head: partially located underneath the other two heads, it contributes to overall mass
Featured: Eddy Ung demonstrating the muscles of the Triceps Brachii
Development of the long head of the tricep brachii creates a well-rounded, aesthetically pleasing upper-arm. The muscle fibres making up this area are well balanced, so a range of volumes and velocities will effectively stimulate their growth. The long head plays a role in stabilising the shoulder joint and so the best exercises to target this area involve overhead movements such as isolateral dumbbell extensions and skull crushers with an EZ bar. When performing skull crushers we recommend lowering the bar behind the head for greater isolation of the muscle. Dips and tricep pushdowns with an angled bar also hit the long head, however the former movements will more effectively isolate this area.
The lateral head is the smallest of the heads and is responsible for the lateral aspect of the 'horseshoe'. It is comprised of mainly type IIb muscle fibres and will respond well to fast paced movements. The best exercises to target the lateral head are close grip bench press, dumbbell kickbacks and inverted tricep pushdowns.
Working with the lateral head, the medial head of the tricep brachii cannot be selectively isolated. It is predominantly made up of type I muscle fibres and so may respond to slower movements. The best way to target this muscle is to remove stimulation of the long head by performing movements such as close-grip bench press and dumbbell kickbacks. By doing this, you are dividing the stimulus for development across two of the heads rather then three.
Featured: Nathan Roe demonstrating the famous 'Side Tricep' pose
So for big arms, don't just focus on your biceps. We suggest performing a range of movements that will specifically target each head of your tricep brachii, and to focus on the the parts of your tricep you feel are lacking size and definition.
If you have anything to add or want to ask a question, feel free to comment below!
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