You go to the gym religiously every week, to get bigger and stronger muscles.
But there’s one muscle group that’s been stubbornly resisting your efforts – your triceps.
You’ve probably been focusing on the other two heads of the triceps, but what about the lateral head?
Here are some of the best triceps exercises and strategies you should be doing to effectively target and grow your triceps.
The triceps lateral head known as the triceps brachii is one of the three muscles that make up the triceps muscle.
It is located on the outside of your upper arm and is responsible for extending your elbow joint.
When targeting your triceps, lateral head exercises are responsible for creating the desired horseshoe shape men desire.
Best Lateral Head Triceps Exercises
This movement is one of the best lateral head triceps exercises you can include in your routine.
It’s a great compound movement used to add serious muscle mass to your arms.
If you want to grow your arms, include this bodyweight exercise in your triceps workout!
The lateral head is responsible for giving you that nice chiseled look and adding size to your triceps.
If this movement is too difficult starting you, you can try doing bench dips until you can lift your bodyweight.
To stimulate this muscle and add some size, you can try a few special tweaks to your form.
- As you lower yourself down, move your body more towards the outside of the dip station. This will place more emphasis on the lateral head.
- Lower yourself slowly and pause for a second before pressing back up towards the starting position.
Close Grip Bench Press
To pack on great mass target the lateral head tricep, you should try the close grip bench.
This triceps exercise variation moves your grip from shoulder width to a closer position to stimulate your triceps A LOT more than the normal bench press.
This means you can go heavier to increase strength gains.
Lateral head exercises tend to require your elbows tucked or you can injure your shoulder and elbow joints.
EZ Bar Skull Crushers
I believe this to be one of the best lateral head tricep exercises, this movement works the long and lateral heads.
Being an isolation exercise, make sure you don’t go too heavy and focus on form with lighter weight.
Going too heavy on is this triceps exercise can hurt your wrist and elbow joints.
Don’t let your elbows flare of you will take the tension off your triceps.
Sets of 6-12 reps should be good based on your fitness goals.
Doing tricep pushdowns with a bar and overhand grip instead of a rope attachment allows for better isolation of the lateral head tricep.
This lateral head triceps exercise allows you to control the weight easier to keep the focus on the lateral head.
Using a wider grip that the rope attachment provides shifts the tension to the long head when doing the tricep pushdown.
Make sure you keep your chest upright and a straight back to ensure the tension is not transferred out of your triceps.
Diamond push-ups (or triangle push-ups) are great for building lateral head tricep strength and mass.
Don’t be surprised if you find yourself improving at other tricep exercises after getting this exercise down packed!
This is because you are using your triceps to get out of the bottom position rather than using momentum to push you up.
Get into a push-up position with your hands together with your fingers forming a diamond in the space between.
Be sure not to bounce yourself off the floor and go down as low as possible before pushing back up.
This lateral head triceps exercise will ensure your triceps get a thorough workout and you don’t risk injuries.
The JM press is a mix of the close grip bench press and skull crushers to target your triceps!
Focus on getting a full range of motion on each rep, going as low as possible, and pausing for a second before pressing back up.
Keeping good form will help you avoid injury and better engage your triceps muscles.
Barbell Floor Press
A variant of the bench press that reduces the range of motion to enable you to do more weight and increase the time under tension on your triceps.
Keep your hands on the bar and lower it down slowly until you touch your triceps to the floor.
Make sure to keep a tight overhand grip and use a full range of motion like you would during a bench press.
If this is too tough, try using dumbbells instead so you can get used to the form before increasing to heavier weights.
Dumbbell Floor Press
A great alternative to the barbell counterpart, especially when first getting used to the form.
Be sure to keep your triceps tight!
Use a full range of motion and reduce the weight until you can do it with good form without triceps dipping too low.
Dumbbell Squeeze Press
By using a neutral grip and pushing the dumbbells into each other as you press up, you increase the tension placed on the lateral head tricep, specifically the lateral head.
Focus on getting a full range of motion and not letting the triceps move too much.
Being a compound movement, don’t forget to choose a challenging weight that you can complete with good form.
Thought not as popular as others mentioned, this lateral head triceps exercise works your triceps harder than you would expect!
Lateral Head Tricep Exercises Tips
Focus on Lateral Tricep Exercises In Your Training
Some strategies you can utilize to improve your lateral tricep training include:
- Hit triceps after a rest day to set your mind and body up for success
- Prioritize lateral tricep training in your tricep workout by using the above-mentioned exercises
- Increase triceps workouts frequency to twice per week
- Train triceps in supersets to further increase the amount of tension your tricep muscles are under
- Remember to take triceps exercises one step at a time when you are advancing or changing up your tricep training routine
- Use an overhand grip
Do Compound Tricep Exercises
Compound movements tend to give you the most bang for your buck when it comes to working out.
Like any muscle group, the best triceps exercises are still going to be compound movements.
You can start your triceps workout with a compound movement while your energy levels are highest.
Also, with proper form, you can do much heavier weights to help increase strength gains compared to isolation movements.
You can look to do reps with compound movements anywhere from 4-8 reps.
You can follow up with single-joint movements afterward to ensure your lateral head is hit hard using less weight and focusing on more reps.
Do A Second Lateral Head Tricep Exercise Later In Your Workout Routine
If your focus is on the lateral head of your tricep, you can include a second and maybe even third exercise in your routine.
This will ensure you’re hitting the lateral head hard enough.
Just make sure you don’t do repeat exercises with the same movement and add variety into the routine.
You can do this by using barbells, dumbbells, and cables or changing up the rep scheme or tempo.
One strategy to try is to do the initial compound movement with heavier weight for 4-8 reps then do the second exercise with an isolation movement for 8-12 reps.
Go Past Failure
When trying to build the most muscle possible, taking your sets to failure is integral.
Training past failure is when you have used all the weight that you can and need a spotter to help with one or more reps.
Most triceps exercises can and should be taken past failure at times.
Training past failure while maintaining proper form helps bring out your muscle’s full potential for size gains because it builds up the most tension on the triceps muscle.
Take triceps exercises one step at a time and don’t overdo it!
There are several different strategies you can use for this strategy.
This strategy can be done for tricep exercises that allow you to easily get in and out of the starting position (such as cables, machines, or barbell variations.
You start by doing a set of 3-4 reps using a weight you can do for 7-8 reps.
Once you complete the first 3-4, rerack the weight and rest for 20 seconds then do the remaining 3-4 reps in the set.
Repeat this process until you hit 12-15 reps.
You should be able to do more reps for a weight you can usually only do for about 7-8 reps.
Complete a set. Once you reach muscle failure, drop the weight by about 25% and continue doing more reps until another point of failure.
This is easiest to do with machines, cables, or dumbbells.
If you have a spotter, once you complete the set of reps, instead of re-racking the weight, have your spotter help you just enough to get past the sticking point to complete a few extra reps.
Once you get closer to failure on a set, you lower the weight slowly focusing on the eccentric contraction, and then have a spotter help return the weight to the starting position.
You can try these for as many reps as possible until you can no longer lower the weight in a controlled manner.
Include A Second Triceps Day In Your Workout Split
As long as you are eating and sleeping properly, you should be able to include a second tricep workout in your workout split.
You can add triceps exercises to the end of your chest/push workout or add them to arm days.
The increased frequency will allow you to target the lateral triceps more often for better stimulation.
Don’t do the same exercises in both workouts and add variety.
What day you group your triceps muscle with is important for adequate recovery.
Give your triceps at least 48 hours before hitting them.
Add A Variety of Tricep Lateral Head Movements
Make sure you choose the best lateral head tricep exercises.
If you do the same movements over and over, your workouts will become stale and your gains will plateau.
You should start by doing different compound movements for each tricep workout.
An example could be to start your tricep workout with a close-grip bench press one workout and then start the next with weighted dips.
You can then do different isolation exercises such as skull crushers in one routine and then follow up with diamond push-ups in the next workout.
Tricep Workouts At Home
If you do tricep workouts at home, consider using instability devices.
Using a ball or chair to help balance yourself will increase the intensity of your triceps workout as you have to use more stabilizer muscles.
If you don’t have those devices around, try doing bench dips instead of parallel bars.
Don’t be afraid to hold a tricep stretch between sets.
Stretching can help increase your strength and muscle size by improving the elasticity of the triceps over time, making it easier for them to contract as well as recover from workouts more quickly.
Be careful not to overtighten triceps when stretching because this could cause triceps tears.
Do tricep exercises on a slightly declined angle if possible.
This will make triceps work harder because of the increased range of motion and resistance, causing triceps muscles to do more work.
Adding Lateral Head Triceps Exercises to Your Routine
The best way to develop an effective lateral triceps workout is to focus on variety and proper form.
If you rotate tricep movements, use compound triceps exercises at the beginning of your workouts such as close-grip bench press.
Then follow up with isolation exercises afterward and you will see great tricep development.
Make sure to work triceps muscles with stabilizing muscles because without them triceps would not be able to produce force.
You should also take triceps training seriously and give triceps workouts your full attention so you can start seeing triceps development.
You should also try a periodic deload to ensure you don’t wear yourself out.
Tricep exercises can be challenging because they work several different muscles at the same time.
The triceps lateral head is especially stubborn, but with some extra focus and effort, you can get them to grow in no time!
Follow these tips for tricep workouts and we guarantee your triceps will look more defined than ever before.