If you want your triceps to grow to their full potential, you need to make sure you’re building up each of your triceps’ three heads individually, as well as together, because that’s the only route to continuous progress and maximum size. As you already know, your triceps has three heads – the lateral, long, and medial.
The long head comprises the bulk of the triceps muscle; it originates at the shoulder blade and runs the length of the upper arm and it’s basically the muscle that helps you power through bench presses. And for complete triceps development, you have to learn how to position your arms so that the long head of the triceps receives optimal stimulation.
The long head is fully stretched only when your arm is raised overhead, so exercises like overhead extensions give you an opportunity to really target it. Achieving a full stretch is critical to muscle growth because a fully stretched muscle is capable of a stronger contraction. If you tend to keep your arms by your sides during triceps exercises, it’s time to try better ways to adequately and optimally target this significant part of the muscle so that you can reap greater gains!
How to maximally work the triceps’ long head?
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to add more overhead moves to your routine and they’re incredibly versatile – you can choose to perform overhead triceps extensions with an EZ-bar, dumbbells, cable or a rope and the results will be equally great. Also, look for a way to emphasize the long head by placing your arms in a more overhead position during other exercises – for example, when performing skullcrushers or close-grip bench presses, opt for an incline bench instead of a flat one.
Full Range of Motion
To fully activate the long head of the triceps muscle, you need to make sure you complete full repetitions and thereby recruit every possible muscle fiber. The position of your elbows makes a great difference in targeting the long head. The triceps must be pre-stretched in order to get a full contraction, and the way to do this is by placing your elbows above your head. Focus on taking the muscle through a complete range of motion, full stretch to full extension.
Different Rep Ranges
Just like any other muscle, the triceps’ long head consists of both slow and fast twitch muscle fibers, and you should aim to train both. The way to do that is by using both heavy sets of 4-6 reps which target the fast-twitch fibers responsible for explosive strength and lighter sets of 12-15 reps which hit the slow-twitch muscle fibers that yield endurance.
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Keep the focus on the long head of your triceps and you’ll have no trouble building maximum triceps mass. Good luck!