Lying Triceps Extension

Muscles Targeted: The triceps brachaii are responsible for extending the elbow joint and are located on the back of the upper arm.

Equipment Needed: Flat weight bench and a fixed weight or adjustable barbell. Both straight and cambered bars are suitable.

How to Perform: Take a comfortable, overhand grip on a barbell. Lie on a bench and extend your arms straight up away from the body. This position establishes where the elbows should remain during the exercise. (Be sure to use a spotter for safety.) Next, carefully flex the elbows, lowering the bar toward your head. When the elbows are bent to approximately 90 degrees, begin to extend the elbow and press the weight back to the starting point.

Cautions: You are working with the weight directly above your head on this exercise, so extreme caution should be taken. Always have a partner who can act as a spotter for safety. Avoid going to complete muscular failure on this exercise as a further precaution for working with weights above your head. Also, lowering the bar much past a 90 degree angle can put unnecessary stress on the elbow joints. In general, those with pre-existing elbow problems should probably avoid this exercise. Instead, try standing cable pressdowns or dumbbell kickbacks.

Variations or Substitutes: Dumbbells can be used instead of a barbell, either together or one at a time. Again, always use a spotter regardless of the type of weight chosen. There are also various cambered or angled bars made with different ways to grip the bar that can be found in most fitness centers. Some of them make this exercise easier on the elbows. You could also choose to use a cable machine or resistance tubing for more options.

Additional Comments: The Lying Triceps Extension pre-stretches the triceps muscles before contracting to press the weight up. This is why it can make you very sore when you are new to the exercise. Start out with very light weights to find out how you respond and gradually work up as needed.

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