The triceps is a large muscle group located on the back of the upper arm. The triceps brachii, Latin for “three-headed muscle of the arm”, consists of three separate muscles: the long head, the lateral head, and the medial head.
The primary function of the triceps brachii is to extend the elbow joint, which is an evolutionary adaptation from our ancestors. This powerful extension allowed them to maneuver through trees effectively, and today it helps us perform explosive pressing movements.
The tricep is made up of three main muscles – the lateral head, medial head, and long head. These muscles are named for their location on the back of the upper arm. The long head is the largest of the three muscles, while the medial and lateral heads are smaller in size. Studies have revealed that each of the tricep muscles may contain a different type of muscle fiber.
The triceps are of exceptional importance for the aspiring bodybuilder. The triceps form the bulk of the muscle mass of the upper arm. Thus, it is important to maximize muscle growth in the tricep if you truly want to fill out your sleeves.
Structure of The Triceps
Long Head Tricep:-
The long head of the tricep is the only muscle of the triceps brachii that does not originate from the humerus (bone of the upper arm). The long head originates from the infraglenoid tubercle of the scapula (the portion of the shoulder blade that lies right below the shoulder socket). The long head of the tricep moves between the teres minor and teres major (two muscles of the rotator cuff). The long head of the triceps is the only triceps muscle that crosses the shoulder joint. This allows the adduction (bringing the arm closer to the body) of the arm when the long head is flexed.
It is the largest of the tricep muscle and is superficially located, providing much of the surface area for the classic horseshoe.
The long head of the tricep is made up of type Ila muscle fibers, which are known as fast oxidative fibers. These fibers have a very fast contraction velocity and contain a high number of mitochondria, allowing them to provide ATP via oxidative processes at a rapid rate. The long head muscle is red from the high amount of myoglobin and capillaries, making it ideal for exercises that require sustained power, such as continuous submaximal lifts with a moderately heavy weight.
The lateral head of the tricep is located on the side of the upper arm. It is positioned in the posterior compartment of the upper arm. The tricep is referred to as a “horseshoe” due to its distinctive shape. The lateral head of the tricep forms the lateral side of the horseshoe shape. The lateral head of the tricep originates on the humeral shaft above the radial sulcus. The radial sulcus is a groove in the side of the upper arm bone that holds the radial nerve and brachial artery.
The lateral head of the triceps muscle is comprised primarily of type Ilb muscle fibers. These muscles are fast twitch, fast glycolytic muscle fibers. These fibers are white and contain few myoglobin, mitochondria, and blood capillaries. However, these muscle fibers contain a very large amount of glycogen. This muscle is designed for fast contraction and provides ATP through anaerobic respiration. It can provide large amounts of energy for short bursts of power. This muscle is best used for powerful strength contractions.
The medial head of the triceps is located deep in the arm, beneath the long head and lateral head of the triceps. It is not visible from the surface and arises from the posterior humeral shaft, beneath the radial sulcus. The medial head provides a significant surface area to the upper arm and presses the other two heads upwards. It is also the most active of the three tricep muscles during elbow extension.
The medial head of the muscle is made up of Type I muscle fibers. These are slow twitch muscle fibers that appear bright red due to their high myoglobin, mitochondria, and capillary density. The muscle has little glycogen or creatine phosphate but is very resistant to fatigue. This type of muscle is most beneficial for endurance and low force production exercises.
Best Triceps Exercises to get Horseshoe Tricep
Big, bulky arms might be strong, but having detailed triceps with a horseshoe shape is much more impressive and looks great aesthetically. To develop them effectively, you need to focus on each head of the muscle to ensure balanced growth and symmetry. Here’s how to get it done, with some tips to help you along the way.
1. Brand Pressdown
Step1: Attach a band to a sturdy object above your head. A common choice is a power or squat rack.
Step2: Grab the band with each arm at an appropriate height. If the resistance is too low, move your arms up. If the resistance is too high, move your arms down. This will be your starting position.
Step3: Keeping your elbows to your side, extend your elbows until your arms are fully extended.
Step4: Flex your triceps before slowly returning to the starting position. Repeat for the desired amount of sets and reps.
Moving too quickly. A band is a great tool in a weight lifter’s arsenal. It provides variable tension in a tool that can be carried with you. However, if you perform the movement too quickly, you will use the elasticity to perform the movement while removing the tension from your triceps.
2. Decline Close Grip Bench Press
Step 1: Set up a bench in the decline position. Place the desired amount of weight on the bar.
Step 2: Position yourself with hands closer than shoulder width and underneath the bar.
This will be your starting position.
Step 3: Keeping your elbows at your side, slowly lower the weight to the bottom of your chest.
Step 4: Pause at the bottom and then push up with your triceps.
Step 5: Return to the starting position and repeat for the desired amount of sets and reps.
Bouncing the weight off your chest. This is a problem with many weightlifters who opt for heavy weights instead of a weight they can control. Slowly lower the weight to your chest and pause momentarily. Focus on the muscle you are activating to maximize your response instead of going through the motions.
3. Incline Skull Crushers
Step 1: Set up an incline bench to around 30-45 degrees and select a barbell you want to use (EZ bar recommended). Sit down on the bench with the barbell across the thighs.
Step 2: Grab the bar with an overhand grip (palms facing down), and grip your hands closer than shoulder width. Lay back on the bench and hold the bar straight up in the air with your arms fully extended.
Step 3: Keep your elbows completely fixed, and slowly lower the bar down until it’s almost touching your forehead.
Step 4: Pause, and then extend the arm up, to where you start. Here, one thing that keeps in mind is that don’t lock your arms, when you up the bar agat to gravity stop when the arms are coming completely straight. Keep slightly bending your elbow when the bar is in front of the chest.
Lower the weight under control, which means using a weight you can safely handle. Use a very deliberate rep speed on the negative.
As you power the weight back up, stop just short of full extension so that you’re unable to rest in the top position, which keeps tension on the muscle throughout the range of motion.
4. Triceps Kickback
Step 1: Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing in toward each other, and keep your knees bent slightly.
Step 2: Engage your core and maintain a straight spine as you hinge forward at the waist, bringing your torso almost parallel to the floor.
Step 3: Above the elbow arm portion, fix and close your body and your head in line with your spine. On a exhale, engage your triceps by straightening your elbows.
Step 4: Only move your forearms during the movement. Pause here, then inhale to return the weights to the starting position.
Moving your upper arms from your body. It is easy to use momentum during this exercise. Your body will naturally sway back and forth, decreasing the effectiveness of the workout. Stay rigid and focus on keeping your upper arms planted against your body. This will help you put the focus on the tricep during the entirety of the exercise.
5. Cable V Bar Pressdown
Step 1: Attach a v bar to the high pulley of a cable station.
Step 2: Grab the bar with an overhand grip and slightly bends your arms. Tuck your upper arms next to your sides.
Step 3: Push the bar down with your elbows locked and do not move your upper arms.
Step 4: Slowly return to the starting position and repeat it.
6. Diamond Pushup
Step 1: Get on your hands and knees, with your hands close together and your thumbs and index fingers forming a diamond shape.
Step 2: Extend your feet backward and straighten your body so that your body weight is being supported by your hands and forefeet.
Step 3: Keeping your elbows tucked into your body and your body straight and rigid, inhale as you lower your chest to the floor.
Step 4: Exhale as you extend your elbows and push your body back up to the starting position.
Step 5: Repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions.
Keep your body straight and rigid throughout the movement.
Keeping your elbows tucked into your body is important to keep the emphasis on your triceps brachii instead of on your pectoralis major.
How to Design Tricep Workout?
A complete triceps workout isn’t necessary throughout the day – you can install the tricep workout with biceps or push day. This method allows you to do triceps exercises twice per week.
Perform these below two workout patterns twice per week during your training. Make sure you have at least 3 days of rest between each workout for optimal recovery and performance.
Weeks 1 to 3 is designed to build volume, endurance, and strength. It all leads up to Week 4. Week 4 will be a gauntlet of skin-tearing exercises that will force your muscles to burn and truly test whether you are worthy to wield such otherworldly arms
|Exercises||Week 1||Week 2||Week 3||Week 4|
|Decline Close Grip Bench Press||5 sets of 8-10 reps||3 sets of 10||4 sets of 10 reps||4 sets of 12 reps, 1 set with drop set to failure|
|EZ Bar Skull Crushers||3 sets of 12 reps||4 sets of 10 reps||4 sets of 12 reps||3 sets of 20 reps, 1 set with drop set to failure|
|V Bar Pressdown||3 sets of 12-15 reps||4 sets of 10 reps||4 sets of 12 reps||4 sets of 16 reps|
|Diamond Pushup||3 sets of 12 reps||4 sets of 10 reps||4 sets of 12 reps||4 sets of 20 reps|
|Exercises||Week 1||Week 2||Week 3||Week 4|
|Dumbbell SkullCrushers||3 sets of 12 reps||4 sets of 10 reps||4 sets of 12 reps||4 sets of 12 reps, 1 set with drop set to failure|
|V Bar Pressdown||3 sets of 12 reps||4 sets of 10 reps||4 sets of 12 reps||3 sets of 20 reps, 1 set with drop set to failure|
|Tricep Kickback||3 sets of 12-15 reps||4 sets of 10 reps||4 sets of 12 reps||4 sets of 16 reps|
|Band Pressdown||3 sets of 12 reps||4 sets of 10 reps||4 sets of 12 reps||4 sets of 20 reps|
Are horseshoe triceps genetic?
Yes genetics play a big factor but the shape of the triceps looks when the overall body is fat low. You guys must try the different varieties of exercises with good techniques and motion that helps blood goes in differently and your muscles differently way. If you just do close grip benchpresses then it has a lot lots of mass but doesn’t define your triceps as much.
Look around and try some more variant triceps exercises that would be good for sculpting the muscle. For example, Tricep extensions, cable triceps pushdowns, or skull crushers are good for building a shape and amazing tricep as you need. Higher reps and supersets also help this because it finds out that higher intensity burns more of the fat around the muscle and makes it look more defined or like a horseshoe triceps shape.