If you want to bulk out your triceps and boost the development of your upper arms, then you’ve come to the right place! It’s all about developing the medial head of your triceps, and below we have 12 exercises that will help you do just that.
Also known as triceps brachii, the triceps are a three-headed muscle parallel to the biceps and make up two-thirds of upper arm mass. For the most gains it’s crucial that you focus and concentrate on different tricep head muscles.
There is a wide variety of medial head tricep exercises that help you boost the size of your arms and make your bench presses, dips, overhead presses, and other pressing movements stronger.
Before we get into our 12 medial head triceps exercises to strengthen your arms and make them bigger, let’s first take a look at why you should isolate the medial head, take a closer look at the biceps, and how to target the medial head.
Why Should You Isolate The Medial Head?
While it isn’t possible to prioritize a certain triceps head, you can concentrate on the medial head of the triceps with a range of workouts.
There are many workouts that can assist you in developing the muscles in the middle of the tricep head, and make your triceps stronger and larger overall. The position of your elbow and grip is essential when targeting the tricep.
The medial heads bridge the two heads together, and a stronger medial head will pave the way to a stronger long and lateral head, as well as stronger triceps as a whole.
The medial head is normally more active at particular points in a tricep workout or compound pushing movements, rather than during the whole workout.
The Anatomy Of Triceps
The triceps is a large muscle found on the backside of the arm. It takes its name from the fact that it has 3 parts – the lateral, long, and medial head. The triceps start just under the socket of the shoulder blade and at two specific areas of the humerus.
The lateral head of the triceps is located on the outer side of the humerus. It is a horseshoe shape that is visible on the upper part of the back of your arm.
The medial head of the triceps is located in the center of the backside of the upper arm. Reaching from the humerus to the elbow, it sits opposite the long head.
The long head of the triceps is the biggest part of your triceps and runs down the back of the arm. The long head is distinct from the lateral and medial heads, as it crosses the shoulder joint and helps shoulder extension.
Although the three heads start at different places in the arm, they all meet and slot into the fascia and ulna of the forearm, just beyond the elbow. They all play an essential role in elbow stability and extension.
When all three tricep heads are well-defined, it creates an undeniably striking look, forming an unmistakable horseshoe shape. Of course, the tricep muscles need to be developed proportionally to create the ideal tricep look.
If you’re just starting out weightlifting, it may not seem as essential to focus on the different heads, and there is some truth to this. When your arms are underdeveloped, you’ll see growth no matter what.
But with more experience, you’ll probably notice that one head may be more developed than the other heads, or even that the development of your triceps has plateaued.
This is a sign that it’s time to start zeroing on the tricep heads individually.
Targeting The Medial Head Tricep
There are two kinds of exercises for the medial head of the triceps muscle. These are isolation movements and compound movements.
Compound triceps exercises comprise extension at the elbow and shoulder movement. Examples of these exercises are diamond push-ups and reverse grip bench presses.
Meanwhile, isolation triceps exercises are all about elbow extension. Examples of these would be dumbbell kickbacks and rope push down.
When concentrating on the medial head of the tricep there are two main techniques to keep in mind. These are keeping your elbows at your sides, and using an underhand grip or reverse grip.
It’s important to take muscle fibers into consideration too.
The medial is different from the other two heads in that it has slower twitch muscle fibers, meaning it has a better response to higher reps, so it’s important not to overextend yourself by doing too many reps.
2 Body Weight Medial Head Tricep Exercises To Try At Home
You can effectively and easily train your medial head muscle by performing these body weight tricep exercises at home. Plus, you don’t need any equipment for these exercises!
Working out from home has many benefits, such as no need to sign up for a gym membership and more flexibility when you work out.
Also referred to as triangle push-ups, diamond push-ups take the standard push-up to another level. You can practice diamond push-ups by forming a triangle or diamond shape on your shape with your hands.
If you’re after a good body weight exercise to train your medial tricep, then diamond push-ups are a great place to start.
Lie faced down on the floor with your hands under your chest and pressed together. Make sure your thumbs and index fingers are touching so they make a diamond shape.
Extend your arms so that your body is lifted and is in a straight line from your feet to your head.
Bring your chest to your hands, making sure your elbows don’t flare out to the side and that your back remains flat. Stop when your chest is hovering just above the floor, then push yourself up to the starting position.
Do 4 sets of 8-12 reps.
Make sure to keep your body firm and straight. You can also do the push-up on your knees to make it easier.
This is a workout with middling intensity that relies on your body weight to make your triceps stronger. It is an amazing way to work out the medial and outer heads of the tricep.
Bench dips are pretty easy to learn and can be done pretty much anywhere, making them an excellent exercise for a workout at home.
Rest your hands on the side of a flat bench, this is so your body is perpendicular to the bench when your feet are placed in front of you. Your legs need to be straight, your hips and knees bent, with just your heels touching the floor.
Your arms also need to be fully extended, with only your palms resting on the bench. To lower your body, bend your elbows until they are at a 90-degree angle.
Lastly, extend your arms to raise your body to the starting position. Make sure to flex your triceps hard! Do 4 sets of 10-15 reps.
At the top of the movement, squeeze the triceps as hard as you can to get the most out of the exercise. Dipping too low will place unnecessary pressure on your shoulder joints.
4 Tricep Medial Head Workouts You Can Do With Dumbbells
There are plenty of benefits to using dumbbells in medial head tricep exercises. This is because you need more balance when using dumbbells, compared to machines or barbells. This in turn allows you to utilize more muscle fibers.
Using dumbbells in medial tricep exercises also makes unilateral training easier, improves muscular inequalities, and boosts stability in your core.
Dumbbells also allow you to switch up your workout to avoid boredom, and give you a better range of movement.
Dumbbell Close Grip Tricep Press
Dumbbell close grip tricep presses are a great exercise for building strength. If you want to fully develop your triceps, then you need to perform heavy compound exercises like this workout.
This will help you exercise your triceps as a whole, as well as your upper body.
Lie down flat on a bench-press bench with your feet resting flat on the floor. Your hands should be as wide as your shoulders with your palms facing each other. Tuck your elbows into your sides.
Lift the dumbbells by straightening your arms and squeezing your triceps, and then gradually lower to the starting position. Do 4 sets of 8-10 reps.
This exercise can also be performed on an incline bench, however, you need to be careful to go straight up and down. Remember to keep your movements controlled and slow.
If you’re after an effective medial head trip exercise, then this may be the workout for you.
The dumbbell kickback is an effective and adaptable exercise that focuses on the triceps. It is an isolation exercise, which means it specifically focuses on the tricep muscle.
Rest your right palm and knee on a flat bench so that your torso is parallel to the floor.
Take a dumbbell in your left hand and press your left arm flush against your side with the upper arm parallel to the floor, keeping the left foot resting flat on the floor.
Lift the elbow until your arm is straight back and extended fully. Flex the triceps for a second, then go back to the starting position. Do 3 sets of 10-15 reps. Once you’ve completed the reps on your left arm, do the same on the right arm.
Remember to only move your forearms, keeping your body as still as you can. Keep the weight controlled as you gradually lower the dumbbells to the starting position.
Dumbbell Tate Press
This exercise is a take on the tricep extension, and is an exercise utilized mainly to develop strength in the triceps.
It is an advanced tricep exercise that requires you to move the muscle differently, but still concentrates on and develops the tricep muscle.
The Tate press gives bodybuilders a different range of motion to focus on the triceps. This goes a long way in helping you develop a pair of horseshoe-shaped triceps.
With your feet rooted firmly on the floor, lie down on a flat bench. Take a dumbbell in each hand, with your palms facing towards your feet.
With your back still on the bench, you can engage your core and abs by lifting the weights to the middle of your chest.
Keeping your elbows still, gradually lift your arms up and down by contracting your triceps. Do this for as many reps and sets as you like.
Moving slowly through the exercise can improve mind muscle connection and tension. Never use dumbbells that are so heavy that keeping a stable position is a struggle.
This is an isolation exercise, so you don’t need dumbbells that are too heavy. Keep your arms near your head to get the most engagement out of your triceps.
One-Arm Overhead Dumbbell Triceps Extension
This exercise is a single-joint exercise that concentrates on the triceps while boosting stability in your shoulders and core.
It’s a good idea to do the exercise with one arm at a time to make sure that one stronger side isn’t supporting the weaker arm.
This allows you to concentrate on the perfect form in one arm and gives you a better range of motion. This puts more tension on the medial head.
Stand with your feet as wide as your shoulders and raise a dumbbell over your head with your right hand. Hold it right above your head with your palms facing forward in an overhand grip.
With your upper arm right next to your head, bring the dumbbell behind your head and to your left shoulder so your elbows create a 90-degree angle. Next, gradually lift it to the full arm extension again. Do this for as many sets and reps as you like.
Your chin should stay parallel to the floor and your core should brace. Keep your upper arms as still as you can, letting your forearms power the movement.
3 Medial Head Workouts You Can Do With Barbells
Barbells are a crucial tool for those who want an efficient way to build strength.
Medial head tricep barbell workouts are versatile, and help make every muscle in your body stronger with a wider range of resistance. The barbell is an incredibly easy tool to use, which makes learning basic lifts simple and quick.
Barbell JM Press
The barbell JM press is a combination of a barbell bench press and a barbell skull crusher. It is a compound exercise that focuses on the triceps, as well as working out the delts and pecs.
This exercise doesn’t just boost the overall size and strength of your triceps, but it also boosts how much weight you use in pressing variations like the overhead press and the bench press.
This is an excellent all-around tricep workout, and one that seriously activates the medial head.
The main muscle worked is the triceps brachii, while the anterior deltoid, biceps brachii, and pectoralis major are also focused on.
Lie on your back on a flat bench with your legs spread, and your feet planted on the floor to keep you stable. Hold the barbell with your feet as wide as your shoulders and your thumbs wrapped around the bar.
Unrack the bar, with your arms extended overhead fully. Tuck your elbow 45 degrees from your sides towards your feet.
Start bending your elbows and bringing the bar to your chin or neck until your forearms and biceps meet. Remember to keep your movements in control.
Breathe out as you bring the barbell to the starting position and repeat for 4 sets of 6-8 reps.
This workout needs practice, so start light and then increase the weight when you feel like you’ve mastered the form. Keep your elbows high and about 45 degrees out to your sides. Make sure that your elbows don’t flare out so you can keep the proper form.
Close-Grip Bench Press
This exercise is a take on the bench press and is used to strengthen the triceps and develop muscle.
This puts emphasis on creating strength and size of the triceps muscles and the chest.
The close grip bench press is an excellent movement when discussing exercises that will bulk out your triceps.
Lie down flat on a bench-press bench with your feet placed flat on the floor. Grab a barbell with an overhand grip, keeping your hands as wide as your shoulders.
Unrack the bar and gradually bring it to your lower chest, keeping your elbows as close as you can to your sides.
Your elbows should be slightly lower than your shoulders at the bottom of the movement before pressing the bar to the starting position. Do 3 sets of 8-12 reps.
If your feet are not as wide as your shoulders this can put more pressure on the wrists. Remember to keep your movements controlled and slow.
Reverse Grip Press
This very effective and simple pressing variation is easy on the shoulders and helps you build strength and mass in your triceps.
The floor press concentrates on the end range of chest presses, which is when the triceps are at their most active.
This is normally done to enhance lockout strength and to zero in on tricep development. The reverse grip lets you easily tailor how the triceps are hit.
Lie flat on a bench-press bench, keeping your feet flat on the floor. With your hands as wide as your shoulders, hold the barbell with an overhand grip.
Unrack the bar and gradually bring it to your lower chest, with your elbows as close as you can to your sides.
At the end of the movement, your elbows should be slightly lower than your shoulders. Press the bar back up to the beginning. Do 3 sets of 10-12 reps.
While placing your feet wider than your shoulders can make your triceps more involved, it does put more pressure on your wrists.
If you’re a weight lifting beginner, then we recommend using a spotter. Slowly breathe in as you bring the bar to your chest, and breathe out when pushing upward.
3 Cable Medial Tricep Workouts
The cable medial head exercises are an effective method for training your triceps, and there are many benefits to using a cable machine for medial tricep workouts.
Cable exercises give you more of a consistent load on your tricep muscles during the whole range of motion, making them more evenly distributed than other exercises.
Their versatility is unmatched as you can switch up the angle, body positioning, grip positioning, and load simply.
A cable setup provides your muscles with nearly non-stop time under tension, and a massive pump. Both of these can assist with muscle growth.
Cable Overhead Triceps Extension
This exercise is a take on the rope tricep extension and is a workout that builds muscles in the triceps.
These variations are particularly good at focusing in on the medial and long heads of the triceps. The more dense your medial head muscle, the bigger your triceps will look overall.
Attach a rope to the bottom pulley of the cable machine before turning away from the pulley. Hold the rope in both hands in a neutral grip with your palms facing each other. Stretch your arms until your hands are right above your head.
Your elbows need to be close to your head and your arms need to be perpendicular to the floor with your knuckles pointing at the ceiling.
Gradually lower the rope behind your head, keeping your upper arms still. Breathe in as you carry out this movement and pause when your triceps are totally stretched. Gradually go back to the starting position and do 3 sets of 10-15 reps.
Reverse-Grip Triceps Push Down
This exercise is one of the best for the medial head. It is a take on the straight bar tricep push down and puts emphasis on the medial head.
Using an underhand grip can reduce the role the forearms play in these exercises, and helps take pressure off your elbows.
Stand facing a high-pulley cable with a short straight bar attached to it. Bend your knees slightly and place your feet as wide as your shoulders.
Take the short bar with your palms facing up and hold the bar at your chest with your elbows pressed tight to your sides. With your elbows still, straighten your arms until they are totally extended.
When you’ve reached full arm extension, pause and flex your biceps before gradually returning the bar to the start. Do 3 sets of 10-15 reps.
If you would like to maintain tension in your triceps, don’t completely lock your elbows. You should also make sure to stop your elbows flaring out so you can keep the correct form. Concentrate on keeping your chest high and back straight.
Rope Triceps Extension
This workout is another amazing exercise to work out your medial head. It is a take on the cable tricep extension exercise, and is great for developing the muscles in your triceps.
Triceps that are well-developed can be beneficial in other pressing movements, like shoulder press variations and bench press variations.
Keep your feet as wide as your shoulders and face a high pulley machine that has a rope attachment. Hold the ends of the rope with your palms facing inward and your elbows at your waist.
Breathe out as you lower the rope, extending your arms completely and keeping your body still. Pause when your arms are straight down at your sides and then breathe in as you gradually return the rope to start position. Do 3 sets of 10-15 reps.
When you lift and lower the rope, use just your forearms. In the standard position, remember to stand up straight and contract your triceps when the rope is lowered.
How Many Reps And Sets Should You Do For A Triceps Workout?
Naturally, the recommended amount of sets and reps will depend on your fitness levels and experience, but we hope this schedule is a good place to start!
- Beginners: 10 sets a week.
- Intermediate: 15 sets a week.
- Advanced: 20 sets a week.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Frequently Should You Work Out Your Medial Triceps?
The triceps are engaged in a lot of horizontal and vertical pressing workouts such as the bench press and shoulder press.
If you would like to develop larger, muscular upper arms, then working out your medial triceps with a minimum of six dedicated sets every week is a good idea.
You can spread this out over two sessions a week, or three sessions every week.
If you are an advanced lifter, you may find 30 sets a week beneficial, although this depends on how many sessions you do every week and how often you do chest presses.
Generally, lifters shouldn’t do more than 12 sets in a single session so they can recover and develop muscles effectively.
How Intense Should Medial Tricep Workouts Be?
The medial head has a larger proportion of slow-twitch muscle fibers when compared to the other two heads of the tricep. Because of this, the medial tricep reacts well to higher volume when you increase your sets and reps.
Most muscles give you the best hypertrophy results from a load that is between 30% and 85% of your 1RM. This can be divided into light, moderate, and heavy loading, which will have an effect on how many reps you can do.
Mixing up the intensity of your workouts can really benefit your triceps, with nearly half of all sets in the moderate range (typically 10-20 reps), and the other half divided between light (20-30 reps) heavy (5-10 reps) per set.
Which Rep Range Is The Best For Working Out The Medial Head?
The 5-30 rep range is the most beneficial for medial head exercises, due to the amount of slow-twitch muscle fibers in the triceps. This means they’re more responsive to a higher volume.
When most of your sets are at a lighter intensity with reps between 10 and 30, it will help you enhance your medial tricep size gains and strength.
What Are The Best Exercises That Train The Medial Head?
You can focus on your medial tricep head with a variety of tricep exercises. Many exercises also engage the lateral and long head of the tricep.
There are two ways you can make a tricep exercise more effective at focusing on the medial head. One way is to use a supinated or underhand grip, and the second way is to place your elbows as close as you can to your body.
Beneficial exercises that concentrate on the medial tricep head include barbell presses, cable concentration tricep press downs, reverse grip dumbbell presses, and underhand tricep push-downs.
Why Should You Train Your Medial Triceps?
While the medial head is the smallest and doesn’t have as much potential for growth as the lateral and long head, there are still a lot of advantages to making it stronger.
The medial tricep head connects your elbow to your forearms and is an essential stabilizing muscle. It works hard and so reacts well to high volume. Making the medial tricep head stronger leads to bigger, stronger triceps.
The correct form is crucial when focusing on the medial head and the triceps as a whole. Keep your movements controlled and increase the repetitions before you push yourself to lift a heavier weight.
Combining compound movements and isolation is the key to getting stronger medial head triceps and larger arms!