The bodyweight tricep extension is an isolation exercise that works the muscle on the back of the upper arm.
This muscle, called the triceps, has three heads: the long head, the lateral head, and the medial head.
These three heads work together to extend the forearm at the elbow joint. Bodyweight tricep extension exercise is referred to as an isolation exercise because it involves movement in only one joint, the elbow joint.
Unlike other traditional tricep extensions which would require you to use dumbbells, barbells or benches, this exercise does not need any equipment and will make use of your bodyweight as the resistance.
WHAT EXACTLY IS BODYWEIGHT TRICEP EXTENSION?
This is a deceptively effective movement that is geared towards building your triceps muscles.
It is deceptive primarily because you’re lifting the same percentage of your body weight that you would during a push-up, except that your chest and shoulders are far less active.
It is an isolation exercise because it is a single-joint exercise. As such, your triceps receive way more tension because they have to do more work.
HOW TO DO BODYWEIGHT TRICEP EXTENSION PROPERLY
The basic bodyweight tricep extension exercise is quite easy to perform. Here’s how to start.
- Begin with a push-up position.
- Set your feet hip-width apart. This will be slightly narrower than a shoulder-width.
- Stretch your arms forward, right in front of your shoulders and set your spine in “neutral” mode, not overly arched and not slouching.
- Tighten your abs and push your body upwards as in the normal push ups.
- Lower your body just at the elbows.
- Repeat the up and down movement in a controlled motion and repeat for the desired number of reps.
BODYWEIGHT TRICEP EXTENSION TIPS TO CONSIDER
Always focus on letting your triceps to do the work as this exercise is meant for them.
Consider using slow and targeted motions as rushing into it will divert the focus away from your triceps and render this move ineffective.
If you are new to this strength training routine, confirm with a healthcare provider to be sure that there are no special modifications that you should follow.
If you have been sedentary or are returning to this exercise after pregnancy or an injury, get clearance from your doctor first.
WHAT MUSCLES DOES BODYWEIGHT TRICEP EXTENSION WORK?
As mentioned before, the bodyweight tricep extension exercise is an isolation exercise, meaning it focuses on the tricep muscle alone.
An isolation exercise is complementary to a compound exercise, such as the bench press, which works the chest, core and triceps all at the same time.
Isolation exercises are usually used to target smaller, specific muscles for strengthening or for aesthetic reasons.
The triceps brachii muscle is the main target of this exercise. It is located in the rear of your upper arm and is made up of three heads — the long head, lateral head and medial head.
These three heads of the tricep insert into the elbow with the long head originating from the scapula, stretching across the shoulder and elbow joints.
The lateral head originates from the back of the humerus and stretches across the elbow joint.
During bodyweight tricep extension the tricep contracts, extending the elbow joint against the resistance of the weight and gravity. While the term “triceps extension” usually refers to a specific arm exercise, it can also be used to describe the primary motion of the triceps muscle.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BODYWEIGHT TRICEP EXTENSION?
This exercise will give you strong triceps which will help you to perform athletic activities like swimming and passing or throwing a ball. The triceps are also important for stabilizing the arm for fine motor activities such as writing.
Building muscle in the triceps helps to increase arm strength and improve the shape of the arms. Many different exercises, such as the push-up or the chest press, work the triceps along with other major muscles in the upper body.
However, dedicating at least some time to targeting the triceps in isolation can help you to build strength in that area effectively, because you will not be limited by weakness in other muscles.
Developing the triceps muscle can help to improve the look of your upper arm. Without regular strength training, it is common for this area to loosen with age.
Developing larger, stronger triceps muscles, with exercises such as this, can help to give this area better definition.
Strong triceps muscle also helps to stabilize the shoulder and elbow joints. Which will in turn help you to move comfortably through your day, lifting heavy items over your head or pushing things such as doors or moving furniture.
Other benefits of this exercise include: easy to perform, focused on your triceps, convenient, and highly variable.
BODYWEIGHT TRICEP EXTENSION ALTERNATIVES
With your legs extended and your body positioned on its side, place your weight on your forearm then, contract your right triceps to push your upper body off the ground until your arm is straight.
Return to the starting position and repeat. Feel free to switch sides.
Bench dips are a lot easier than full-on parallel bar dips. However, they could hurt your shoulders if you descend too far, like regular dips.
So long as you are sensible, bench dips are a useful triceps exercise that you can do at the gym or at home using a chair or step.
Most people do triceps kickbacks with too much weight. Due to this, they end up swinging rather than lifting the weight up, which takes stress off the target muscle.
However, if you get rid of ego lifting, triceps kickbacks are an excellent arm builder.
COMMON BODYWEIGHT TRICEP EXTENSION MISTAKES TO AVOID
Due to the absence of any free weights that need stabilizing, the bodyweight tricep extension might seem like a relatively simple exercise, which is not the case. Be sure to avoid the following mistakes to be effective.
Avoid excessive elbow flare as this could lead to injuries.
Avoid sagging your hips as this will place more stress on your chest and turns the move into a poor push up.
Most bodyweight exercises resemble push-ups, but regular push-ups often focus on your biceps. With bodyweight tricep extensions, you can build a better-balanced upper arm.