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June 13, 2022 10 min read

To get strong and powerful-looking arms, blast your triceps with some great tricep workouts. Big triceps are not only desirable for professional bodybuilders or those who want to look like bodybuilders, but strong triceps also greatly increase the overall strength of your upper body.

Strength training muscle groups like your triceps have everyday applications and can help your overall health.

There are some good exercises that work out the whole tricep, and these can have great effects, but to get really well-defined triceps, or to rectify arm imbalances, it can be useful to add tricep workouts that isolate the different parts of the triceps.

Let's dig into some tricep anatomy, so you know what we're talking about when we say “medial head tricep,” and then we'll get into the best exercises for getting this muscle totally ripped.

Anatomy of Triceps

The tricep brachii is located on the backside of your arms, and its main function is to extend your elbow. Taking up 70% of your arm, the triceps get their name which begins with “tri” because they have three parts called heads.

The three heads are as follows:

1. The Long Head

The long head of the triceps is the largest tricep head. It’s located on the inside of the posterior side of your upper arm. It originates at the scapular, just near the shoulder joint. The long head is the only tricep head to cross the shoulder joint, as the other two heads originate on the humerus (upper arm bone).

2. The Lateral Head

The lateral head is smaller than the long head and is located on the outside of the posterior upper arm. Interestingly, the lateral head is said to be the strongest tricep head as it has a higher ratio of fast-twitch muscle fibers.

3. The Medial Head

The medial head is the least visible and smallest. It is located at the bottom center of the posterior upper arm. The medial head attaches to the humerus, as does the lateral head, but at a lower point.

It's also the only tricep head that has a higher ratio of slow-twitch muscle fibers, which makes it an endurance muscle head.

Overall, it plays an important role in elbow extension, with and without resistance.

The medial head is small but mighty; it stabilizes your elbow and aids in filling out your upper arm so that it will look proportionate. It can not be entirely separated from the other heads, so you’ll need to emphasize its involvement with the correct exercises.

The function of the medial head is to aid in the extension of the forearm at the elbow joint, as well as the stability of the elbow. It also helps to fill out the back of the upper arms, making for a proportional look. This head is active with every forearm extension, even without resistance, unlike the long and lateral heads that are mainly only activated when extending against resistance.

The Importance of Training Each Head

There’s no denying that the tricep muscles must all be proportionately developed to create aesthetic-looking arms. When you’re first starting out in weightlifting, it doesn’t seem as important to emphasize the different heads, and this might be true in some aspects.

When your arms are undeveloped, you’ll notice growth no matter what.

But as you start to become more advanced, you’ll notice that one head might be more developed than another or that your triceps development has stagnated.

In order to have fully developed triceps, you must do exercises that target each head appropriately.

While most exercises can work all three heads, there are exercises that can emphasize the involvement of a specific head based on the movement or training variable.

This can allow you to improve a tricep head that is lagging or simply hit each one more thoroughly.

The 10 Best Triceps Exercises for the Medial Head

To get more sculpted, full-looking arms and achieve greater upper body stabilization, try adding these medial head of the triceps exercises into your next arm day.

1. Close Grip Bench Press

 

The close grip bench press is an awesome compound exercise where your medial head will act as a stabilizer. You can start your workout with this beast of triceps and chest exercises.

The close grip bench press will help you in increasing the muscle growth of your triceps and is one of the best ways to target the medial head.

How to Do the Close Grip Bench Press:

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.

Feel free to go heavy on this exercise.

The close grip bench press is a great way to start your workout after some warm-up sets with lighter weights. One thing that you will want to look out for is elbow pain when performing.

One of the main causes of elbow pain when doing close grip bench presses is doing too much weight before your elbows (and the triceps that help stabilize them) are ready, so if you are experiencing elbow pain, try to lower the weight and build up slowly over time.

2. Bench Triceps 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 bodyweight 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 Bench Dips:

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.

If you are finding this exercise difficult, you can bend your knees slightly instead of keeping your legs straight to lessen the amount of weight you have to lift with each dip.

3. Dumbbell Tricep Press

 

The dumbbell tricep press is a great arm workout to build strength, definition, and to prepare you for bigger lifts. This is a popular exercise with bodybuilders and powerlifters, who do this exercise to increase their strength and performance.

How to Do the Dumbbell Tricep Press:

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

 

Diamond pushups are another great bodyweight exercise for your triceps that you can do virtually anywhere you have some open space. In addition to strengthening your triceps, diamond pushups are great for strengthening your upper body in general and are a great addition to just about any workout routine.

How to Do Diamond Push-ups:

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.

A great tip for this exercise is that if you are getting tired after some reps, you can lower your knees to the floor and continue with the exercise.

5. Reverse-Grip Cable Tricep Pushdown

 

The reverse-grip cable tricep pushdown 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.

How to Do a Reverse-Grip Cable Tricep Pushdown:

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

 

The Cable overhead extension is an incredibly popular tricep exercise. While you can do this exercise with a bar, doing the exercise with ropes will allow you to rotate your arms and open your hands at the very end of the movement. This will put extra tension on the medial head.

How to do a Cable High Pulley Overhead Extension:

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.

We advise you not to go too heavy on this exercise to prevent the risk of neck injury. Instead, focus on doing a high amount of reps with each set. To make sure that you are doing this exercise with the proper form, keep your back straight and your abs tight during the exercise.

7. Close-Grip Tricep Press

 

The close-grip tricep press is another great strength builder. This is a compound exercise that really packs a punch and is very popular among those who want to increase the size and strength of their arms as well as their pecs. This exercise will work out your whole tricep, as well as your upper body, while the close grip will engage the medial head.

How to do a Close-Grip Tricep Press:

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.

8. Seated Barbell Tricep Extension

 

The seated barbell tricep extension is another great way to target all of the heads of the triceps, including the medial head. With this exercise, you will get a good workout for the medial head as that muscle is engaged when you completely lock your elbows at the top.

How to Do a Seated Barbell Tricep Extension:

1. Sit on a seat and grab the bar with a close overhand 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.

If your wrists hurt during this exercise, you may want to switch from a barbell to an EZ bar, which may mitigate any wrist pain.

9. Tricep Kickbacks

 

Tricep kickbacks are a go-to tricep isolation exercise that can really help build muscle. This exercise can feel uncomfortable to some people, but as long as you do not overdo it with the weight and make sure that you are doing the exercise with the correct form, this can be a great addition to your tricep strength training routine.

How to Do a Tricep Kickbacks:

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.

Make sure not to go too intense with heavy weights for this workout. Tricep kickbacks are all about a high rep range and the proper form.

10. Single-Arm Overhead Tricep Extension:

 

This exercise is great for those who have one arm that is stronger than the other since you can work on a single arm at a time, potentially focusing on one arm more than the other, to achieve balance.

How to Do a Single-Arm Overhead Tricep Extensions:

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.

Get Ready to Watch your Arms Grow

Since the triceps are such a large part of your arm, doing exercises that work out the triceps is essential for any bodybuilding routine, whether you are just working out for your health or working out for increased strength and huge muscles.

If you are a beginner, you may want to simply do workouts that activate all three heads of the triceps, but as you continue with your workout journey, you may want to consider focusing on each individual head to achieve the desired result.