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  • Best exercises improving lateral (outer) head of the triceps

    In one of the previous articles – “3 Triceps Exercises for explosive growth“, we discussed which exercises are best for building triceps mass. We gave you 3 amazing exercises to jump-start the growth process. After all, triceps takes 2/3 of arm muscles. So if you want big arms, forget about obsessive biceps training, it’s important to have a sensible workout plan for muscle building.

    horseshoe tricepsBut back to the point. Those exercises will give you massive inner/medium triceps heads and not so much for outer head. And to get that horseshoe triceps, you will need to hit your triceps with isolation exercises. On top of that, lateral head is the one that is visible the most when you are wearing sleeveless shirt.

    So what are the best isolation exercises for lateral head of the triceps?


    You’ve probably heard about these. This exercise is best done with straight barbell (not EZ, and not triceps). But if you have weak joints/tendons use EZ barbell, since this exercise is heavy on your wrists. The difference between this exercise and French presses is that you lower the weight not behind your head, but directly on your forehead (of course stopping the weight 2-3 inches away).  That’s where exercise got its name. Make sure you use light weights at the start and when you go heavier – use a spotter, if you don’t want to smash your head with a barbell.


    Triceps kick-backs.
    One of the best exercises for your outer triceps head. It’s simple, but not easy. Take the light dumbbell and kneel over bench, and support your body with one arm. Upper arm (the one that will perform the exercise) should be parallel to the ground and elbow should not move vertically at all times. Just extend your arm until it’s straight, then go back to starting position and repeat. If you cannot hold your elbow in one place, take lighter dumbbells.

    Comment from the forum:- “This is the tricep portion of my Chest/Tri day
    Close grip bench 4 sets 6-10 reps
    Weighted dips 4 sets 8-12 reps
    Skull crushers 4 sets 8-12 reps

    chest also involves 3 compound lifts.

    Im considering switching either dips or cgb with a cable pushdown, any thoughts? Im going for mass.”

    Overhead cable extension

    It could be done seated or standing, it’s worth experimenting to find best angle. For me seated works better, since I don’t have to worry about balance and can go heavier. Raise your elbows higher than your head, that way you can get more stretch and make sure they don’t move either.

    Seated Ez-bar French press.


    Best to use bench to rest your back on it, this will take the stress off your back. But it must be set to ~85 degrees or 80 minimum, for optimal results. It’s quite similar to overhead cable extension, but much harder on your elbows. So do it slowly, and you can use elbow wraps, if it’s painful or highly uncomfortable. You also can do a variation of this exercise and do it with a dumbbell. Quite effective.

    All these exercises will greatly help you with separation and definition of the triceps. And although you cannot really “shape” your muscle with exercises (genetics predefine the shape), you can improve the looks, the size, the definition. And if you have short outer triceps head, it might be because it’s not fully developed yet, and thus not fully visible.