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Why are we talking about different heads of triceps and why can’t we do all main exercises targeting the whole tricep at once. Yes, right. You don’t have to focus too much on each head if your main goal is to be fit and healthy.
So who needs to focus on each head of the tricep? Mostly bodybuilders and also people aiming for symmetrical arms. If you want to look like a bodybuilder or if you have one looking underdeveloped or is not symmetrical, then you need to train your weak head more.
So here, in this article, I will share with you some of the best tricep exercises you can do to target the medial head. Now before I start, let’s talk about each head in brief.
Tricep brachii is located at the backside of your arms and their main function is to extend the elbow. Tricep covers about 2/3rd of your arms which means that to get bigger arms, you must train your triceps. We should know that triceps have three heads-
- Long head
- Short or lateral head
- Medial head
The long head of the triceps is the largest part of your triceps and is found at the back of your arm. The long head is different from the medial and lateral heads, as it crosses the shoulder joint and assists in shoulder extension.
The lateral head is found at the outermost part of the humerus which is visible mostly from the side view. This gives you a tricep that horseshoe look from the side.
The medial head is found in the mid part of the tricep muscle which is present just below the long head. The medial head is responsible for providing stability during heavy compound movements like the bench press.
Keep in mind that no matter what exercises you pick, the tricep muscle as a whole will work and all heads will be active. There are some positions and angles where you can work on some heads more than the other but you can’t stop any tricep heads to activate during the exercise.
Best Medial Head Tricep Exercises
Some of the best tricep exercises to target the medial head are dips, diamond pushups, reverse grip pushdowns, and heavy presses with dumbbells or barbells. Let’s discuss some more exercises here.
1. Close-Grip Bench Press
This is an awesome compound exercise where your medial head will act as a stabilizer. You can start your workout with this exercise. Close grip bench press will help you in increasing the size of your triceps and is one of the best way to target the medial head.
How to do
1. Lay down on a flat bench with your feet placed on the floor. Your feet should be under the knees.
2. Grab the barbell with both hands at about 1-2 feet away from each other. Have a spotter behind you to lift the weights for you.
3. Lift the barbell up and hold it at the top. The barbell should be in line with your chest. This will be your starting position.
4. Bring the barbell down towards the lower part of your chest. Breath in as you go down.
5. Pause at the bottom and then push the weights up, back to the starting position.
You can go heavy on this exercise! You can do this at the beginning of the workout after some warm-up sets with lighter weights. Make sure that you don’t hurt your elbows during this exercise, As a personal trainer, I have heard so many people feeling pain after they do close grip presses. the main reason for that is that you are using heavier weights than required. So make sure that you gradually increase the weights.
2. Bench Dips
Dips are a great way to train the medial and outer heads of the tricep. This can be done on the bench or the bar. So if you are at home and want to train the medial, then dips are a great option for you. Make sure to completely extend the elbow at the top so that you can completely target the entire tricep muscle.
How to do
1. Place your hands on the edge of the table with your back facing the table. Both hands should be at a shoulder-width apart.
2. With the help of an arm, take your legs forward and take your body in front of the table without moving the arms.
3. Keep your legs straight with both feet together. Your shoulders should be rolled back and your chest should be up.
4. Now start moving your body down by flexing your elbows. Reach the bottom and then come back straight up.
You can make this exercise easy by bending from your knees rather than keeping them straight. Remember to keep your neck neutral.
3. Dumbbell Tricep Press
It’s a great dumbbell tricep exercise to build strength for bigger lifts. Many bodybuilders and powerlifters do this exercise to increase their strength and performance. By performing the press with an underhand grip, you will activate the medial head more.
How to do
1. Lie on a bench with dumbbells on each hand. Your foot should be behind the knees. Roll your shoulders back before starting the exercise to involve fewer anterior delts.
2. Your grip should be underhand making it look like a V from below. Tuck your elbows in and move down and up straight in line with the stomach (upper). Don’t lift your feet during the exercise.
3. You can use a neutral grip ( hands facing each other) as a variation but make sure that you go down and up in a straight line to create more stimulus on your triceps.
4. Diamond Push-ups
This is a bodyweight exercise for your triceps. This will be a great strength-building exercise apart from the dips. The ACE study ranked the triangle pushup as the top best tricep exercise out of the other 7 major tricep exercises.
Never underestimate the power of a bodyweight exercise. You should do these exercises quite often to increase the overall strength of your upper body.
How to do
1. Kneel onto the floor and place your hands on the floor with both the tips of your thumbs and forefinger touching each other. It should look like a diamond!
2. Now take both the feet back and keep them together. Your legs should be straight and your hands should be under the chest.
3. Now slowly take your body down and keep your torso straight. Your elbow should be in and your shoulder should be pinged back.
4. Pause at the bottom and then push back to the starting position.
Pro tip– After a few reps, if you start getting fatigued, then bring your knees down and then continue with the reps.
5. Reverse-Grip Cable Tricep Pushdown
This is a great variation of the regular triceps push down. The underhand grip will allow you to focus more on the medial head of the tricep. The reverse grip will keep your shoulders in a proper position at the beginning of the exercise.
Targeted Muscles- Long and medial head of the tricep
How to do
1. Attach an easy bar at the upper end of the cable machine. Hold the end part of the bar and lean slightly forward.
2. Start pushing the weights down and completely extend your elbows at the bottom. Your chest should be up all the time.
3. Slowly return back to the starting position and stretch fully at the top.
6. Cable High Pulley Overhead Extension
Cable overhead extension is a popular exercise in the gym. Most people do this with a bar instead of ropes. When you use ropes, you can rotate your arms and open the hands at the very end. This will put extra tension on the medial head.
How to do
1. Attach a pulley at the top of the cable machine and then hold each end of a rope. You can also use a straight bar for this exercise.
2. With your back facing the cable machine, step a few steps forward and stand at a split stance. Bend slightly forward and keep your hands parallel to the floor.
3. Start moving your hands forward while keeping your straight. Fully extend the elbow at the end.
4. Now slowly bring the ropes back to the starting position and stretch your triceps at the end.
You should not go too heavy as it can injure your neck. Also, keep your back straight and your abs tight during the exercise. This exercise will also work the long head more when you completely stretch your triceps during the eccentric phase.
7. Close Grip Tricep Press
This is another great strength builder. If you want fully developed triceps, then you must perform heavy compound movements like this one. This is an exercise for those who want to increase the size and strength of their arms. Also, a close grip will allow the medial head to work more.
How to do
1. Hold one dumbbell on each hand and lay down on a flat bench. Point your feet back. Hold two dumbbells together.
2. Go down without changing the wrist position. Touch your lower chest with dumbbells and then go back straight up. You should always maintain that v position throughout the movement.
3. You can also perform this on an incline bench. But make sure that you are going straight up and down and maintaining that v angle.
You can also do this exercise on the floor. If you have pain when you do any pressing exercise, then the floor version will be better as it restricts the range of motion and your shoulder joint will have less stress especially when your arms are at the bottom. Also, you can do a close grip dumbbell floor press if you don’t have a bench.
8. Seated Barbell Tricep Extension
Another great way to target all heads of the triceps. Here, your triceps will get that extra stretch at the bottom which allows the long head to activate the most. It will also target the medial head when you completely lock your elbows at the top.
How to do
1. Sit on a seat and grab the bar with a close grip. Keep your back resting on the seat. You can also take the help of your workout partner to hand over the bar to you.
2. Keep your hands up with your elbows extended and this will be your starting position.
3. Slowly lower the barbell and stretch your triceps at the bottom. Breath in on the way down while keeping your back straight.
4. Stop at the bottom and then use your triceps to bring the weights up. Bring it back to the starting position and extend the elbows at the top.
You can use the EZ bar for this exercise as it is more wrist-friendly as compared to the straight bar. Also, it is advisable to have a spotter at the back who can always support you whenever you need help.
9. Tricep Kickbacks
This is a great isolation exercise for your triceps which you should add to your tricep workout. Here, you can focus on each side separately which will help you to build symmetrical arms. It will work all heads of the triceps.
How to do
1. Hold a dumbbell on one hand and place the other hand on a bench. Your one leg should be on the bench for support.
2. Take your hands up behind the back such that arms are parallel to the ground. This will be your starting position.
3. From that rowing position, kick your hands up without lifting the elbow. Come back to the same position and go up again.
You should choose lighter weights for this exercise. If you go heavy, you may end up swinging the weights without engaging the triceps. To perform the movement slowly while feeling the right muscles.
Some people might find tricep kickbacks difficult and they feel uncomfortable in getting into the right position. So if you are having any trouble or pain in the shoulder joints during the movement, then you can try some other alternatives to tricep kickbacks.
10. Overhead Dumbbell Tricep Extension (Single-hand)
This exercise is good for those who have one side of your tricep weaker than the other as you can train each part separately. Proper extension of the elbow is the key factor to activate the medial head.
How to do
1. Stand straight and take one dumbbell in your hands. Lift the dumbbells and hold them with your elbows extended.
2. From that position, start lowering the dumbbell until your triceps are fully stretched at the bottom.
3. Move the dumbbells up by bringing your hands up and extending your elbows fully at the top.
Your elbow should point up towards the ceiling. Go back up and repeat the movement. Breathe in when you go down and breathe out when you go up.
Don’t swing the weights. Use weights according to your strength to fully control every single rep. Don’t compromise your form just to lift heavy weights.
It’s always better to move your body in a full range of motion. It will make your muscles do the most work. Also, it will help you in improving mobility and range of motion. Always concentrate on the muscles you are targeting and try to develop mind and muscle connection. Every single rep should be a quality rep.
Medial Head Tricep Workout
Given below is the tricep workout you can do specifically if want to target the medial head. The exercises below are already discussed in-depth, so if you have any doubt, then just scroll up to get the information.
One of the most important things to do before starting any workout is a warm-up. You must do some kind of aerobic exercise like walking or cycling for about 5 minutes. After that, do some dynamic stretching and then perform 2 sets of close grip bench press with the plane barbell.
|1.||Close Grip Bench Press||8||4||2 min|
|3.||Reverse-Grip Cable Tricep Pushdown||12||3||60 seconds|
|4.||6. Cable High Pulley Overhead Extension||15 each||3||45 seconds|
Disclaimer- It is always recommended that before starting any workout, you should consult your physician or fitness professional.
If you want to do a workout at home or if for any reason you can’t go to the gym, then these are the equipment you should consider buying. You can do many different exercises if you have this basic equipment with you.
`1. Adjustable Dumbbells
Having adjustable dumbbells can be very helpful in performing workouts at home. You can do so many exercises with dumbbells. One of the important things to consider before buying dumbbells is whether you can increase or decrease the weight of the dumbbells.
Having adjustable dumbbells is very beneficial as you can increase the weight of the dumbbells as you progress. Bowflex is a very popular equipment company and they have good quality products. Their dumbbells and bench press machines are very popular.
You can check out their dumbbells by clicking here
2. Adjustable Bench
An adjustable bench is another basic and most important piece of equipment you should have in your home gym garage. You can do so many exercises like incline, decline, or flat bench presses. You can adjust the bench angle to hit different parts of the chest.
You can also buy an adjustable bench from Bowflex by clicking here.
3. Dip Bar
If you don’t have a dip bar at home, then you can buy it from sports royals as they have very quality dip bars available. There are so many other products they have. You can check out their dip bars here.
Instead of a dip bar, you can also buy a power tower where you can do so many exercises including pull-ups, dips, hanging leg raises, chin-ups, and much more. So if you are planning to work at home or already working out in your home garage, then you must have a power tower. You can check sports royals power towers here
4. Home Gym Machine
If you want one machine that allows you to do all different kinds of exercises, then Bowflex Xtreme 2 SE is the best. It is a very popular machine and has so many good reviews. Their quality is also good. However, if you don’t work out at home too often, then you might not need it. This product is for those who usually work out at home and want to build their own home gym. Click here to know more about their product
So these were some of the best medial head tricep exercises. All the exercises discussed above will anyhow activate the whole tricep muscle but performing these will help you in focusing the medial head more.
Make sure that when you design your workout program, you should add some major compound exercises like dips and presses and do them first. Then do some isolation exercises like tricep pushdowns and kickbacks to specifically each head.
If you found this blog helpful, then do share it with your friends or share it on social media so that more people can read it. Also, if you know of any other medial head exercises, you can share that in the comment section below.
- 12 Best Alternative to Dips for Chest and Triceps
- 12 Best Long head Tricep Exercises For Big And Strong Arms
- 12 Best Lateral Head Tricep Exercises For Bigger Arms
Roshan Pillai is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer with more than 6 years of experience in lifting weights and guiding people to get fit. He has worked as a personal trainer in gyms and is the owner and editor of fitnessproworkout.com. He is passionate about fitness and helping people to get in shape.