The incline tricep extension is a variation of the lying tricep extension that is done from a slightly inclined position to increase the range of motion, which allows you to stretch your triceps better.
Whether you are looking to increase your tricep strength or build muscle, this exercise can help you get the results you desire.
To do it properly, you first need to get a pair of dumbbells and an adjustable bench.
Then, set the bench to an incline of about 45 to 60 degrees.
Here are the next steps:
- Hold the weights, one in each hand.
- Lie back on the bench, keeping the dumbbells close to your chest.
- Maintaining a flat back, use a neutral grip to press the dumbbells to lockout.
- Then, lower them down towards your shoulder. This you will do by unlocking your elbows as you maintain a neutral grip.
- Once your forearms are parallel to each other, drive the weights back to the starting point by flexing your triceps and extending your elbows.
- Do as many reps as you desire.
You can start by doing 3 to 5 sets of 8-20 reps each and increase the sets or reps as you get stronger and more flexible.
WHAT MUSCLES DOES THE INCLINE TRICEP EXTENSION WORK?
The incline tricep extension trains all three heads of your triceps, with particular emphasis on the long head which is the most prominent.
Unlike the lateral and medial head, the long head has two functions; shoulder extension and elbow extension.
Since it is done from an inclined position, this exercise activates the long head of your triceps maximally, hence improving its ability to extend your shoulders and elbows.
BENEFITS OF THE INCLINE TRICEP EXTENSION
The incline tricep extension is a great way to work your triceps individually since you lift each weight independently.
This way, your dominant tricep won’t ‘hog’ on the workout and end up receiving more training than the less dominant one.
BIGGER UPPER ARMS
It goes without saying that if you want to build your arms, you have to increase your triceps in size.
This is because your triceps make about two-thirds of the size of your upper arms.
And your long head, which the incline tricep extension works most, makes up the biggest portion of your triceps.
All this to say that working your triceps using this exercise will increase them in size, hence increasing your upper arms in size too.
ALTERNATIVES TO THE INCLINE TRICEP EXTENSION
RESISTANCE BAND PRESSDOWN
The resistance band pressdown uses a resistance band to flex your elbows and work your triceps.
- Stand upright, with a resistance band in your hand.
- Loop the band around a hook above your head.
- Grab the band with your palms facing inwards, slightly below chest height.
- Lift your chest up high and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
- With your elbows tucked in, drive your hands towards your waist.
- Lock out your arms and rotate your hands outward as you do so.
- Hold this position for a second or two before bringing your hands up to slightly below chest height.
INCLINE CLOSE GRIP BENCH PRESS
The incline close grip bench press is one of the most underrated tricep exercises, but it is actually one of the best at isolating the triceps.
Here’s how to do it:
- Lie down on an inclined bench.
- Press your hips to the bench and your feet firmly to the floor.
- Grab the bar at about shoulder width apart.
- Build tension in your triceps by pressing the base of your hand against the bar.
- Wrap your fingers firmly around the bar.
- Squeeze your shoulder blades while widening your chest.
- Take the bar off the rack, and then bring it forward until it is on the same line with your upper chest. Keep your elbows tucked the entire time.
- After the bar has slightly touched your chest, drive it away until your elbows are at complete extension.
- Repeat as many times as you desire.
INCLINE TRICEP EXTENSION MISTAKES TO AVOID
OVERINCLINING THE BENCH
You may be tempted to set your bench to a high incline in the hopes that you will be able to give the target muscles a better workout, but that is a bad idea.
If your goal is to work the triceps using the incline tricep extension, the incline should be somewhere between 45 and 60 degrees.
Using a lower incline might not work your muscles as effectively as you want. Similarly, using a higher incline than 60 degrees might shift the focus from your triceps to your chest muscles.
JUTTING THE NECK FORWARD
Keep your head in a neutral position throughout the exercise.
Sticking your neck out may put too much pressure on your cervical spine, which could put you at risk of spinal injury.
Avoid using fast movements when you are pressing the dumbbells and lowering them down. Instead, use slow and controlled movements that will put your muscles under maximum tension for a better workout.
KEEPING YOUR UPPER ARMS VERTICAL
Ideally, you should not keep your upper arms vertical, but slightly slanted backwards.
This will concentrate the tension in your triceps brachii throughout the exercise. You will find it easier to slant your arms if you adjust the bench as required.
USING HEAVY WEIGHT
Most people believe that using heavy weights for strength training exercises such as the incline tricep extension can help yield faster and better results.
But in actual sense, it puts your muscles and joints at risk of injury.
Additionally, heavy weights will not let you focus on using the correct form, since you will be focusing on lifting the weights instead of working the target muscles.
Make sure to use relatively light weights, especially if you are a beginner, so you can focus on mastering the correct form.
The incline tricep extension helps you develop bigger and stronger arms by working the long head of your triceps from an inclined position.
However, these results are not guaranteed; you have to master the correct form and avoid any mistakes that could minimize the effectiveness of this exercise, such as the ones mentioned above.
All the best!