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Learning how to stretch your triceps is something you should do regardless of whether you are just starting out or are an advanced lifter. Why? Because tight triceps can impact the health of your shoulders in a big way. Many do not realize that the long head of the triceps attaches to the shoulder blade (just inferior to the socket or glenoid fossa) that enables the muscle to impact the motion of the shoulder. In this video, I’ll show you the right way to stretch your triceps to ensure that you really get a good stretch.
In order to stretch the medial and lateral heads of the triceps you simply have to maximally bend your elbow. Since these two heads cross only the elbow joint and nothing else, you only have to make sure that your elbows are bent to start feeling the stretch in these two heads. That said, these heads rarely get tight since they are only crossing one joint. What you mainly feel in a properly executed triceps stretch is the long head which has an attachment on the scapula.
Many people will try and stretch their triceps with an overhead tricep stretch position. The first mistake that many make here is confusing the sensation of skin pull with an actual triceps stretch. Try it for yourself. Grab the skin on the back of your arm and pull as I show you in the video and you will feel a “stretch” regardless of whether the elbow is fully flexed or not. This is not a true stretch. This is just a normal discomfort of the pulling that gets confused for it.
The next problem with raising the arm and performing the stretch as I show it is that many people do not have the shoulder mobility to do this without pain. In order to get your shoulder overhead into this position you need adequate amounts of both shoulder external rotation and thoracic extension. Far too many people lack these two critical motions and the attempt to stretch their triceps with the common overhead stretch leads to discomfort or pain in the shoulder.
To correct the stretch you really have to ensure that you are concentrating on separating the elbow from the point of attachment on the scapula. You need to make sure that the scapula does not rotate upward for this to happen (or at least is limited). You can do this by holding onto your scapula with your free hand and trying to gradually elevate your elbow by leaning into wall or a machine at the gym.
Stretching your triceps and muscles is an important part of a complete approach to training. The ATHLEAN-X Training System is a complete workout and nutrition program that shows you step by step how to train like an athlete and get much more out of your workouts in the process. You can get this step by step program used by today’s top pros by heading to and starting today.
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