Listen carefully fellas, the outcome of multiple surveys has stated that women ranked big, defined arms as one of the biggest turns on!
Now, It’s also the ultimate goal of every bodybuilder or gym fanatic to have big arms. Most guys who have little weight lifting experience go to the gym and start doing bicep curls and other exercises trying to gain big arms.
Little do they know that the bicep is the smaller muscle group on your arms. The bicep is divided in 2 parts, and the tricep in 3 parts. The tricep makes up 60% of your arm!
This means that if you want big bodybuilder arms you’ll need to focus more on training your triceps!
If you want to grow your triceps then keep reading for the best long head tricep exercises!
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The Triceps Anatomie
As said in the beginning the triceps (Latin for the three-headed muscle of the arm) have 3 parts obviously. The 3 parts are:
- The medial
- The long head
To get the best possible looking tricep you need to hit all 3 parts, but the long head is what gives your arms the big look. This is a large part that you see when you bicep flex. The picture below shows it perfectly.
To build muscle the same goes for every muscle group, you need to overload the muscle.
The Long Head tricep is unique in that it is a two-joint muscle – it crosses both the shoulder and the elbow.
The Lateral head is on the outside of the arm and in my opinion, it is the easiest to develop with training (basic pushdowns will do the job).
Unfortunately, it is also the least important when it comes to bench pressing. The Medial Head is the smallest head, it is on the inside of the arm above the elbow. You would generally only see this when you bring your arm up and flex your bicep.
The long head is important in maximal strength because it crosses the shoulder joint and adds significantly to joint stability – a bigger long head means more tissue to compact the joint which means more force can cross the joint
Long Head Tricep Exercises
These long head tricep exercises will be variations of dumbbell and barbell, using barbell allows to press heavier weights, but always keep form tight.
Most tricep exercises target different parts of the tricep, and some exercises hit multiple parts of the tricep, but I’m going to show you the most effective exercises for the long head triceps.
1. Incline Overhead Dumbbell Extension
This is for me the perfect warm-up exercise before I go into my heavier presses. Performing this exercise slowly really activates your tricep and best of all the long head tricep.
You don’t have to go heavy just make sure you perform the exercise slowly on the negative. Doing this exercise on an incline makes for a bigger range of motion which is great, but it works really well for people with long arms, like me.
How to execute:
- Place a bench on a 45-degree incline
- Sit on the bench or even sit on the part that has the incline. I usually do that because otherwise, I bump against the bench with my crazy long arms…
- Grab your dumbbell and kick it up above your head.
- Then slowly lower the weight until you can’t go further, then fully extend your arms.
- Repeat process.
2. Dumbbell Tricep Kickbacks
This exercise is not a crazy mass builder, but as a solid warm-up or with a slightly heavier weight it’s tough!
This exercise works best with light to moderate weights and medium to high reps. It doesn’t work well with big weights or low reps. Use kickbacks as a warm-up, or a finishing exercise, and really go for the pump
How to execute:
- bend over into an almost 90-degree angle
- Place your hand that’s without the dumbbell on the bench or dumbbell rack
- Place your arm with the dumbbell at a 90-degree angle and kick your arm back until it’s fully stretched
- Then slowly return to starting position and repeat!
3. Overhead EZ Bar Extension
You can do this exercise with a barbell, but you’ll find it more comfortable doing it with the EZ bar because it reduces the stress and load on your wrists.
To execute this exercise correctly, you need to keep your elbows in place during the exercise, if you don’t do this you turn this exercise into more of a shoulder pressing movement.
How to execute:
- Sit upright on a bench and hold an EZ curl bar overhead with your hands shoulder-width distance apart under the curved grooves.
- Then, slowly lower the bar down behind your head with elbows slightly tucked in until your forearms are parallel to the floor.
- Inhale during this portion of the exercise. Now, extend your forearms back to the starting position by flexing your triceps but don’t lockout at the top.
- Exhale during this portion of the exercise. Repeat for the desired number of reps
4. Seated Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extensions
This is one of my favorite long head tricep exercises because you can go very heavy. To do this exercise you need good upper body mobility and strength, especially when you perform this exercise without sitting on a bench.
You can do this exercise in many ways, you just have to find out which one you prefer. The 3 ways are:
- Standing overhead dumbbell tricep extension
- Seated without bench support
- Seated with bench support.
The standing and seated with bench support are the exercises that are more athletic exercises because they require more core strength. That’s why I prefer the dumbbell with bench support, as I can also use heavier weights.
5. High Cable Overhead Tricep Extension
Overhead tricep extensions can be painful on the elbows. If that is the case for you then using cables is a much better option. They are both as effective so don’t worry about that!
Cable exercises are great for supersets. As your using the same setup for tricep pushdowns as you are for overhead tricep extensions. For the superset, do the overhead extension first and then go right into the tricep pushdown.
How to do it:
- Attach the rope grip to the overhead pulley, and grab the rope with an overhand grip
- Turn your back to the machine, and take 1 step forward. Lean forward to about 45 degrees, and for extra stability place one foot against the machine.
- Bend your elbows as far as you can without raising your upper arms and repeat.
6. Seated Dips
Seated dips or bench dips whatever you want to call them are GREAT. The best thing is you can do them anywhere! Whether you’re in the gym, at home, or in the park. The only thing you’ll need is a bench, chair, or something elevated off the ground.
The dip works not only your long head tricep but also your chest and deltoids. Doing them seated is a great way to gain strength to finally do an actually classic dip, which is quite hard to do when you’re first starting out.
How to do it:
- Find something like a gym bench, a chair, or something elevated off the ground.
- Place both of your hands onto the bench and completely stretch your legs, and move your buttocks off the bench until you can con lower your hips straight to the ground.
- Lower your body to the point when your arms have a 90-degree angle and then press up and repeat the process
7. Close grip push ups
When you’re in the gym every day you quickly forget that bodyweight exercises are great for building muscle as well. Bodyweight exercises like the pushup or pull-up are great to build the foundation of your body, as the pushup and dip are great for building your chest and triceps, and the pull-up or chin-up is great for building your back and biceps.
My favorite push-up variation to build the long head tricep is the diamond push-up. This one can be harder for the inexperienced trainer, but once you do it more often they become easier.
did this one every day during lockdown and I maintained so much muscle mass just because of this exercise.
How to do it:
- Go into a normal push up position
- Then move your hands towards each other and place them in a triangle position.
- Then perform a push-up, but make sure your elbows are pointing outwards.
8. Close-grip barbell bench press
The close-grip barbell bench press is great for building mass on your long head tricep, but it’s crucial to get the execution right!
The number one mistake people make is that they place their hands completely against the other on the barbell. What this is going to do is place more tension on your wrists and possibly injury, and not enough tension on the triceps.
How you want to perform the exercise is as follows:
- Lay down on the bench and rotate your shoulders back, make sure your chest is out and have a hollow back
- Place your hands around shoulder-width apart on the bar.
- Lower the bar in a slow controlled movement up until 10 centimeters from your chest. (lowering the bar completely to your chest will activate your pecs, we want to limit this and place most of the tension of the triceps)
9. Tricep pushdowns
You can perform the tricep pushdown in many variations like, cable, EZ bar, or the v-bar pushdown which I like the most. This is a great long head tricep exercise because you can keep constant tension on the tricep and you can really isolate the long head tricep. Now, let’s get into how to do it.
- Attach whatever attachments you’re using high on the adjustable cable machine.
- Take a step backwords, keep your feet together, bend your knees, and arch your back.
- Bring the V-bar in front of your hips while maintaining a neutral spine.
- When in this position push straight down and bring it up.
- Repeat this process for 8-12 reps.
Long head tricep workout plan
The exercises in this long head tricep workout plan are all examples that you can do. You don’t have to do all of these in 1 session. Try to variate between exercises, but do the exercises that feel best for you and build the most mass.
- Incline dumbbell tricep extension. 3 sets – 10-12 reps, moderate weight
- Cable, v-bar pushdowns, 3 sets, 12-15 reps, moderate weight
- Diamond push up
Heavy working sets
- Close grip bench press – 8-12 reps, 3 sets. Start with heavier weight, because you’ve already warmed up.
- EZ bar overhead tricep extensions
- Weighted dips