Pump Quiz: Triceps Day

July 13, 2012

By Bill Geiger, MA 1) The long head is the large innermost head of the triceps. If you’re looking to bring it up, which of these moves would be your best choice? 

A. Overhead Dumbbell Extension 

B. Pressdown 

C. Bench Dip 

D. Reverse-Grip Pressdown 


2) What do exercises like close-grip bench presses, bench dips and machine dips for triceps have in common concerning elbow position when trying to build up your arms? 

A. Your elbows should flare out and point directly out to your sides as you lower the weight. 

B. You should try and keep your elbows tucked in close to your sides as you lower the weight for increased tension on the tri’s. 


3) When switching from an overhand-grip on a pressdown to a reverse grip (underhand), where does the emphasis shift from and to? 

A. From the long head to the lateral head 

B. From the medial head to the long head 

C. From the lateral head to the long head 

D. From the lateral head to the medial head 


1) For a muscle to fully contract it must be in a position in which it can be fully stretched first. Since the long head attaches above the shoulder, only when raising your arms to an overhead position can it fully be engaged. Arms-overhead exercises like the overhead dumbbell extension (answer A) are the ones you want to target the long head. 

2) Think of it this way, when you bench press for chest, what is your elbow position (relative to your torso)? Hopefully it’s out wide, which is the best way to focus on the pecs. But that’s not what we’re looking to do when training the tri’s; instead we want to minimize chest involvement so that more of the brunt of the work falls on the triceps. In this case, you’d want to keep your elbows tight to the sides of your body, which is how you should do each of those three exercises. Answer B is correct. 

3) We know the long head doesn’t get much action as we saw in answer 1. The two heads primarily involved here are the lateral and medial. When switching to an underhand grip, the emphasis shifts from the lateral head to the medial head, so the answer is D.