Most Effective Way to Train Your Triceps
The triceps muscle directly contributes to motion at two joints: the elbow and the shoulder. It straightens your arm at the elbow, which is its primary function, but it also brings your upper arm toward your body (shoulder adduction) and backward (shoulder extension). Although the triceps primarily works alone in straightening the elbow, it works in combination with the lats at the shoulder joint.
Although the biceps gets all the buzz, the triceps is just as important to strength in the upper extremity. Many options exist that strengthen the triceps muscles, including traditional lifts such as the bench press and overhead press. However, it can be advantageous to perform strength exercises that are focused on the triceps.
Muscles for daily lifting
For example, the triceps is used in many activities of daily living. The ability to do something as simple as getting out of a chair for certain populations can be improved by focused strengthening of the triceps. Also, the triceps may be the weak link limiting performance on compound lifts such as bench press or overhead press mentioned earlier. The triceps may even be limiting your ability to do a pull-up, considering the long head of the triceps is also a shoulder adductor (it pulls your upper arm toward your body).
Triceps training evolved
We have established that triceps-focused training can be a good thing. So, how should we do it? One option is a selectorized machine design to focus on this muscle. Traditionally, these machines have been designed for triceps extension by placing the user’s arms in front of them, with their elbows at shoulder height. The Eagle NX Arm Extension demonstrates new thinking in triceps training, by placing the arms at the user’s sides when they perform the exercise (see images below).
|Comparison of Arm Extension machine start positions (traditional on left, Eagle NX on right).
10x greater muscle activation activation
Our research shows that the configuration of the Eagle NX Arm Extension results in 10x greater activation of the lats compared to the traditional design. Since the triceps and lats both contribute to the same motions at the shoulder, this means that strength training on the Eagle NX Arm Extension will result in better integration between these complementary muscles.
So consider incorporating some triceps-focused exercises into your training, and give the Eagle NX Arm Extension a tri.
Cory Hofmann, MS
Senior Research Manager
Cybex Research Institute
Cybex is a provider and manufacturer of premium commercial fitness equipment. Content featured in the Cybex Fitness Blog is meant to inspire healthy living and wellness and should not be taken as medical advice. As always, be sure to consult a physician if you are unsure of your individual exercise readiness or have a preexisting medical condition. While these programs offer great benefits, there are many considerations that should be weighed before attempting any type of physical activity.