Your tricep is the muscle on the back of your upper arm, while the medial head tricep is the bottom part of that muscle.
You use this muscle when your arms are above your shoulders. Pull-ups, overhead presses, and climbing – all of these activities need a strong medial head tricep.
If you want to improve your calisthenic routine, define your triceps or simply develop stronger arms, you need to include at least one of the exercises below in your gym sessions.
1. Reverse Grip Floor Press
Normally when you work on a floor press exercise, you hold the bar or dumbbells with your knuckles pointing towards your head.
However, this movement targets your biceps, your lateral head, and your long head – not the medial head.
To target the medial head, simply reverse your grip. Hold the bar or dumbbells with your knuckles pointing away from your face – just like the model is doing.
If your medial head is weak, start with the light barbell or light weights until you feel comfortable and confident in this position.
Lie on the floor or a bench and lift the barbell over your chest, then bring it back down in a slow and controlled manner until it’s just above your head.
It can be tempting to let your arms lie against the floor when the barbell returns, but doing that will reduce the impact of the exercise.
Remember, that a good workout requires focus and determination, so if you feel yourself naturally letting your arms rest, kick yourself back into gear!
Do 10 reps of this exercise, take a 3-minute break, and then go again for another 10 reps. Do this 5 times in total.
As you get stronger you can increase your weights or increase your reps depending on the equipment you have available.
2. Tricep Pushdown
The triceps pushdown machine normally has either a rope or a straight bar attached to wires which are linked to weights.
The model is using a bar, which is great at targeting the triceps alone, while the rope can also help with wrist strength.
To complete the workout, start with your forearm parallel to your elbow, then pull the bar or rope down until your arm is straight.
Then slowly return to your starting position in a controlled manner. When pulling down and returning your medial head tricep is in control.
You might think the return aspect of this workout is non-consequential, but dropping the rope and starting again means missing out on half of the exercise.
Complete the full rotation to get the most out of this workout.
Complete 8 to 10 reps, then take a 3-minute rest. Do this 5 to 10 times before moving on.
3. Arm Elevation
Whenever you lift your arms over your head, you are activating your medial head triceps.
You need this part of your muscle to lift your arm over your head. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to lift your arm over your shoulder.
You can work out the muscle without using gym equipment. Instead, simply lift your arms so your elbows are above your head, and then pull your arm straight.
Like the model, you can move your arms from a straight position to a bent position to create a rep.
This model is also using a resistance band, but you can use weights or even full water bottles to create the same effect.
If you are completely new to exercising, then simply straighten and release your arms without weights or resistance bands.
But everyone else should pick up a band or weighted object to add extra tension to the movement.
Complete 10 reps of this movement, with a 1-minute rest. Do this 10 times.
4. Bench Dips
The bench dip doesn’t need any special equipment. All you need is a bench or something similar for your arms to hold onto.
Starting in the same position the model is in, you need your thighs to be parallel to the bench, your calves to be straight and your back straight too.
Then lower your body until your bottom almost touches the floor. From this point, you need to return to your starting position.
If it feels like your legs are doing all the work, then they might not be in the right position. They are probably extended too far. Try to bring them in so they are in line with your knees.
To make this exercise harder, you can extend your knees so your legs are straight. This puts more weight on the lifting motion, so gives your arms more to work against.
This might seem contradictory, but it’s all based on leg placement. In the first version your legs are simply there to hold you in place, nothing more.
If they are at a 45-degree angle or similar, they end up holding your weight, which defeats the purpose of this exercise.
But if they are completely straight, then they cannot help you push up your body weight.
To make it harder again, add weights to your extended legs.
Do this exercise 8 to 10 times, then complete 3-minute rest. Do this 5 times.
5. Tricep Extension
The tricep extension is very similar to the arm elevation exercise. It has the same movement but is targeting different muscles.
Where the arm elevation only focuses on the medial head tricep, this exercise also focuses on the long head.
If you want to lose weight in your tricep area, and not gain muscle, then stick to the arm elevation exercise.
If you want to gain muscle and strength, then include this workout in your routine.
For your arms to get stronger, you need to work out your long head as well as any other tricep muscles you are concerned about.
This is because the long head makes up two-thirds of your muscles.
Beefing up that area will make your muscles stronger faster, and you’ll see a difference quicker too.
To complete this workout you need to lie on your back, and have your elbows bent with your weights above and to the side of your head.
Make sure your forearms are straight, and the weights are level with your eyes.
Then lift your forearms into a straight position, hold for a second, and return them to the starting position.
Do 8 to 10 reps, and then take a 3-minute break. Do this 10 times
6. Triangle Pushups
Triangle push-ups are also known as diamond push-ups. Both names are referring to the gap your hands make when you have the position correctly established.
You should only take on this exercise if you are already good at regular push-ups.
The triangular position makes this workout harder as it changes your center of gravity and forces you to use your medial head triceps, which might not be strong enough to lift you just yet.
Make sure your hands are parallel to your shoulders and not next to your head. If your hands are parallel to your head, you will end up working on your shoulders instead of your triceps.
7. Cable Overhead Extensions
We are heading back to the cable machines now – the one with the rope or the bar.
This time, you want to pick the machine with a rope as it will give you a better grip for our overhead movement.
Put one foot out in front of the other, keep your core tight, and then push the rope straight out and away from your head.
This will leave you in the same position the model is in above.
Slowly, let the rope go back. This controlled slowness adds to the workout. That is one rep. Do this 10 times with a 3-minute rest at the end.
This exercise works mostly on the long head more than the medial head, so if you only want to lose weight on your arms (not gain muscle), then skip this suggestion.
Working out your medial head triceps will help you with pull-ups and climbing, perfect for any rock climbing enthusiasts among us.
It’s also a great way to reduce fat around your arms and keep your arms tight.
It will take a couple of months before you see any real changes, so don’t be disheartened if your body takes a while to develop.
Remember, changing your body and growing stronger requires dedication, so keep at it!
Frequently Asked Questions
Triceps-specific workouts don’t help with fat loss specifically. Instead, they help you gain muscle, which in turn will increase your metabolism. It’s the high metabolic rate which helps you lose weight.
This is why tricep weight loss routines take a long time to complete, as your body isn’t removing the weight fast.