Who isn’t interested in improving their PR for bench press? I know we all are; a new 1-RM can make a day. But on that same note, we also hit plateaus with our beloved bench press. There are, however, certain exercise like dumbbell tricep extension and dips, for example, that have been proven to be beneficial. When you watch someone perform a bench press exercise they usually have no problem pushing the weight off the chest. Where they have more of an issue is performing “complete” arm extension required at the end of each repetition. This is a reminder that the chest may in fact have the necessary strength but the triceps need to be stronger. Enter dumbbell tricep extension.
Muscles Making Up the Tricep(s)
The tricep muscle is comprised of three unique heads that make up the tricep brachii muscle. Individually, we know that the medial head, which sits beneath both lateral and long heads, is made up of slow twitch muscle fibers. This is important because slow twitch fibers respond well to endurance training or a higher number of repetitions. The lateral head, though, is made up of fast twitch fibers and finally, the long head of the triceps is, you guessed it, comprised of both fast and slow twitch muscle fibers.
What EMG Research Can Tell Us
When in doubt about how well an exercise targets a muscle group, look at the research. In this case the research is based off electromyography (EMG) results. We can see what overall percentage of a muscle is activated for specific movement patterns or an exercise such as the dumbbell tricep extension. In the case of dumbbell tricep extension, one research study showed 76 percent peak muscle activation during the exercise. The long head showed more of an increase, 81 percent, while the lateral head decreased to 72 percent. Remember that the EMG device records the electrical activity of the muscle. Basically, the stronger the muscle activity, the higher the action potential, resulting in a stronger EMG signal.
Are There Better Exercises for Tricep Development?
Yes, of course. We are highlighting in this article just one of let’s say the top five exercise. Some of the other great exercises that build tricep strength are: diamond push-ups, kickback exercises and dips (bodyweight and weighted). The dumbbell tricep extension is just another good tool that should be in your tool box.
Tricep Extension Training Options
- Dumbbell Overhead Tricep Extension
- Dumbbell Standing One-Arm Extension
- Pulley Extension
- Standing Rope Extension
- Supine Rope or Dumbbell Extension
- Tricep Kickback
- Barbell Skull Crusher
- One Arm Tricep Kickback (one knee on bench)
Jefit Member Performing Classic DB Tricep Extension
Long-time Jefit Elite member Don Goldstein demonstrates how he performs his DB extension exercise – see here. Don actually goes on to say that, “by doing triceps overhead extensions and weighted bench dips it helps develop the tricep heads from different angles; in addition it helps prepare the triceps for increases in load when going heavy on bench. Basically if you don’t train your triceps, your bench won’t increase as they go hand in hand.”
Get Strong With Jefit
Looking to get back to the gym after taking a long break? Want to connect with like-minded people to keep you motivated? Download Jefit to track your workouts and join our members-only Facebook group. You can record your training, set a schedule, and talk to fellow Jefit members. Basically, everything you need to get back into the swing of things!
What do you do to get back to the gym after taking a long break? What tips work best for you? Let us know in the comments, we would love to know and hear from you too!
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