8 Best Triceps Stretches for Healthy Elbows – Fitness Volt – Fitness Volt

Written by Patrick Dale, PT, ex-Marine
Last Updated onAugust 31, 2022
Best Triceps Stretches
Of all the muscles in the human body that exercisers need to stretch, the triceps are not usually very high on the list. After all, if you can bend your arm and touch your nose, your triceps are probably as flexible as they’ll ever need to be!
That said, if you struggle to do exercises like behind-the-head French presses, you may benefit from stretching your triceps. It’s also worth noting that the long head of the triceps affects the shoulder joint, and tight triceps could limit your overhead range of motion.
The good news is that the triceps are very straightforward to stretch, and there are several exercises you can do to improve triceps flexibility.
The full name of the triceps is triceps brachii. This means three-headed arm muscle. Located on the back of your upper arm, your triceps has two main functions:
As mentioned, the triceps have three heads. This is because the triceps have three separate origin sites, all of which come together at a common insertion point on the ulna. This is the smaller of the two forearm bones.
The three triceps heads are:
All three triceps heads work together, but the amount of force each one generates depends on the position of your upper arm.
When your arms are by your side, the long head produces more force than the other two heads. The medial head is more active when your arms are 90 degrees to your body. When your arms are vertical, the lateral head generates the most force.
Because of this, it is possible to target specific areas of your triceps, and any stretching routine should include a variety of exercises to ensure each head is worked equally.
Do you have tight triceps but aren’t sure how to fix them? Try these proven triceps stretches.
Don’t let the name of this exercise fool you; it’s not just a lat stretch– it’s also an excellent pec and triceps stretch! Do this exercise anytime you want to stretch your primary upper body muscles and mobilize your thoracic spine, such as after a long drive or a day sitting at your desk.
How to do it:
This is probably the most well-known triceps stretch. It’s a staple of group exercise classes. As well as stretching your triceps, this move will help mobilize your shoulders and upper back. However, if you have tight lats, getting into the proper position to do this exercise may be challenging.
How to do it:
The triceps wall stretch is ideal for people with strong triceps and stiff shoulders. Using a wall means you can gently but positively take your arm into an extended overhead position to stretch even the most stubborn triceps muscles.
How to do it:
Lack of shoulder mobility can make some triceps stretches uncomfortable or even impossible. This is especially true for muscular bodybuilders and weightlifters. Using a pole or strap makes this exercise much easier and far more comfortable, so you can hold this stretch much longer.
How to do it:
This loaded stretch is ideal for after your next arm workout. It’s basically a static French press. Loaded stretches are great for releasing very tight muscles and may even contribute to hypertrophy. However, you will need mobile shoulders to perform this exercise correctly.  
How to do it:
Many triceps stretches require excellent shoulder mobility. Unfortunately, that’s something that a lot of lifters do not have! This exercise is less shoulder-centric and provides a more accessible way to stretch your triceps along with your upper back.
How to do it:
This time-saving stretch is ideal for desk warriors as you can work both arms at the same time in a matter of seconds. The double overhead triceps stretch also works your lats and opens your chest and shoulders. Do it a few times a day to stay on top of your upper body flexibility and mobility.
How to do it:
Your muscles are surrounded by a thin layer of fibrous tissue called fascia. Fascia separates and connects each muscle from its neighbor. This fascia can become “gummed up,” leading to tight, painful muscles. This can cause trigger points, poor blood flow, and reduced function.
Foam rolling is a form of self-massage called self-myofascial release that can help free up your fascia and restore normal movement and function. Foam rolling your triceps will enhance elbow and shoulder joint mobility and performance.
How to do it:
The triceps is a hard-working muscle. It’s involved in every chest and shoulder pressing exercise you do, and the long head even plays a part in some pulling exercises, as it’s a shoulder extensor.
Despite this, tight triceps are rarely a problem because most direct triceps exercises involve an extensive range of motion which should stop them from tightening up.
That said, especially after a hard pushing workout or triceps training, the backs of your arms may feel sore and tight and could benefit from some additional stretching.
Use any of the eight exercises in this article to keep your triceps in tip-top shape.
Patrick Dale is an ex-British Royal Marine, gym owner, and fitness qualifications tutor and assessor. In addition, Patrick is a freelance writer who has authored three fitness and exercise books, dozens of e-books, thousands of articles, and several fitness videos. He’s not just an armchair fitness expert; Patrick practices what he preaches! He has competed at a high level in numerous sports, including rugby, triathlon, rock climbing, trampolining, powerlifting, and, most recently, stand up paddleboarding. When not lecturing, training, researching, or writing, Patrick is busy enjoying the sunny climate of Cyprus, where he has lived for the last 20-years.
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