The Best Lateral Head Tricep Exercises: Muscle-building Tips and Variations

Updated: 20 hours ago


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If you are looking to build bigger arms, then you have come to the right place. The tricep muscle is one of the largest muscles in the upper body and is therefore responsible for a large portion of the arm's mass. The lateral head of the tricep, specifically, is the largest of the three heads of the triceps muscle and is located on the outermost part of the arm. In this article, we will discuss the best exercises for the lateral head of the triceps and how to perform them properly. We will also focus on exercise variations and common mistakes people make when doing lateral head tricep exercises. So, whether you are a beginner or an experienced weightlifter, read on for some helpful tips!


Before we dive in: check out our full-body training program to develop a strong body and aesthetic physique; you will benefit from one of our programs. We designed a program that gives you the tools to build muscle with an easy-to-follow routine that will fit any schedule. To find out more:


Anatomy of the Tricep Muscle

Before we get into the exercises, let's first take a look at the anatomy of the triceps muscle. As we mentioned before, the lateral head of the tricep is located on the outermost part of the arm and is the largest of the three heads. The other two heads are the medial head and long head, which are located on the innermost and middle part of the arm, respectively. The triceps muscle originates from the shoulder blade and inserts into the elbow joint.


The primary function of the triceps muscle is to extend the elbow, which means that it is responsible for straightening out the arm. However, the lateral head also plays a role in the adduction of the arm (bringing it towards the body) and internal rotation of the forearm. Now that we know a little bit more about the anatomy of the lateral head tricep, let's move on to the exercises.


The Benefits of Lateral Head Tricep Exercises

There are many benefits to lateral head tricep exercises, but the two main ones are increased muscle mass and strength. As we mentioned before, the lateral head is the largest of the three heads of the triceps muscle, so it is responsible for a large portion of the arm's mass. Therefore, if you want to increase the size of your arms, you need to focus on exercises that target the lateral head. In addition, lateral head tricep exercises will also help you to build strength in your arms. This is because the lateral head is responsible for a large portion of the arm's power.


Now that we know the benefits of lateral head tricep exercises, let's move on to the exercises themselves.



The Best Lateral Head Tricep Exercises

There are many different lateral head tricep exercises that you can do, but we have compiled a list of the best ones.


Exercise #1: Overhead Dumbbell Extension

The overhead dumbbell extension is a great exercise for targeting the lateral head of the triceps. Cues to focus on while doing this exercise are to keep the elbow close to the ear and to extend the arm fully at the top of the movement.


To perform this exercise:

  • Start by sitting on a bench with a weight in each hand.

  • Raise the weights overhead, keeping the elbows close to the ear.

  • From here, extend the arms fully, contracting the triceps at the top of the movement.

  • Return to the starting position and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.


Variations of the Overhead Dumbbell Extension

There are many different variations of the overhead dumbbell extension that you can do to target the lateral head of the triceps. One variation is to do the exercise with one arm at a time. This will help to focus on each side of the lateral head equally. Another variation is to use an EZ bar instead of dumbbells. This will put less stress on the elbow joint.


Overhead Dumbbell Extension Common Mistakes

One common mistake people make when doing the overhead dumbbell extension is to use too much weight. This can cause you to swing the weights and use momentum instead of muscle power. Another common mistake is not extending the arm fully at the top of the movement. This can cause you to not fully engage the lateral head of the triceps.


Exercise #2: Weighted Dips

Weighted dips are another great exercise for targeting the lateral head of the triceps. Cues to focus on while doing this exercise are to keep the elbows close to the body and to lower the body under control. Avoid leaning the body too forward, as this will put more emphasis on the chest muscles.


To perform this exercise:

  • Start by attaching a weight belt around your waist (This can also be done with body weight only) and holding a dip bar with both hands.

  • From here, lower your body under control until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle.

  • Once you reach the bottom of the movement, press back up to the starting position and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.


Variations of the Weighted Dip

There are many different variations of the weighted dip that you can do to target the lateral head of the triceps. A variation for this movement is to use a weight vest instead of a weight belt. This can help with range of motion and form if you are struggling with the weighted belt version of the movement.


Weighted Dip Common Mistakes

One common mistake people make when doing weighted dips is to let their elbows flare out to the side. This puts unnecessary stress on the shoulder joint and can lead to injury. Another common mistake is not lowering the body far enough down, which takes away from the effectiveness of the exercise.


Exercise #3: Diamond Push-Up

The diamond push-up is an excellent exercise for growing the lateral head of the triceps. Cues to focus on while doing this exercise are to keep the elbows close to the body and to focus on core engagement.


To perform this exercise:

  • Start in a push-up position with your hands placed close together in a diamond shape.

  • From here, lower your body under control until your chest touches the ground.

  • Once you reach the bottom of the movement, press back up to the starting position and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.


Variations of the Diamond Push-Up

There are numerous alternative forms of the diamond push-up that can be done to target the lateral head of the triceps. One variation is to place your feet on an elevated surface. This will help to increase the range of motion and make the exercise more challenging. Another variation is to add weight to your body by wearing a weight vest or holding a weight plate on your back.


Diamond Push-Up Common Mistakes

One of the most common mistakes people make when doing diamond push-ups is not keeping their elbows close to their bodies. This can cause you to use more of your chest and less of your triceps. Another mistake people make is not engaging their core muscles throughout the movement. This can cause you to overarch your back and put unnecessary stress on your spine.


Exercise #4: EZ Bar Skull Crushers

The lateral head of the triceps is also trained using EZ bars skull crushers. Keeping the elbows close to the body and lowering the weight under control are two cues to consider while performing this activity.


To perform this exercise:

  • Start by lying on a flat bench with an EZ bar in your hands.

  • From here, raise the EZ bar above your chest with your arms straight.

  • Lower the weight under control until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle.

  • Once you reach the bottom of the movement, press back up to the starting position and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.


Variations of the EZ Bar Skull Crusher

A variation for this movement is to use a close grip on the EZ bar. This will help to focus on the lateral head more so than using a wide grip. Another variation is to use dumbbells instead of an EZ bar. This can be done by lying on a flat bench with dumbbells in each hand. From here, raise the dumbbells above your chest with your arms straight and lower them under control until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle. Once you reach the bottom of the movement, press back up to the starting position and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.


EZ Bar Skull Crusher Common Mistakes

One of the most common mistakes people make when performing this exercise is to use too much weight. This can lead to poor form and puts unnecessary stress on the elbow joint. Another mistake is to lower the weight too quickly. This takes away from the time under tension for the lateral head of the triceps and reduces its effectiveness.


Exercise #5: Close Grip Bench Press

The lateral head of the triceps is also trained during the close grip bench press. As with all other exercises, keeping the elbows close to the body is important for this movement. This puts less stress on the elbow joint and allows you to focus more on the lateral head.


To perform this exercise:

  • Start by lying on a flat bench with a barbell in your hands using a close grip.

  • From here, press the barbell up until your arms are straight.

  • Lower the weight under control until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle.

  • Once you reach the bottom of the movement, press back up to the starting position and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.


Variations of the Close Grip Bench Press

A variation of this exercise is to use a close grip on the barbell and perform the movement on an incline bench. This will help to target the lateral head more effectively. Another variation is to use a close grip on the barbell and perform the movement on a decline bench. This will help to focus on the lower portion of the triceps.


Close Grip Bench Press Common Mistakes

One common mistake people make when performing lateral head tricep exercises is not keeping the elbows close to the body. This can result in the weight not being properly distributed and can lead to injury. Another common mistake is not using a full range of motion. This can lead to less muscle activation and growth.


Exercise #6: Tricep Pushdown

The lateral head of the triceps is also activated during the tricep pushdown. This exercise can be performed using a rope, bar, or band. The key is to keep your elbows close to your sides and not let them flare out during the movement.


To perform this exercise:

  • Start by attaching a rope, bar, or band to a high pulley.

  • From here, hold the rope, bar, or band with your palms facing down and your elbows close to your sides.

  • Push the rope, bar, or band down until your arms are straight.

  • Slowly return to the starting position and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.


Variations of the Tricep Pushdown

A variation of this exercise is to use a rope and perform the movement on an incline bench. This will help to target the lateral head more effectively. Another variation is to use a band and perform the movement standing. This will help to focus on the lower portion of the triceps.


Tricep Pushdown Common Mistakes

One common mistake people make when performing lateral head tricep exercises is not keeping the elbows close to the body. This can result in the weight not being properly distributed and can lead to injury. Another common mistake is using your body weight to assist in the movement. This takes away from the time under tension for the lateral head and reduces its effectiveness.




Summary

Lateral head tricep exercises are a great way to build muscle and strength in your arms. The key is to keep your elbows close to your body and use a full range of motion. These exercises can be performed using a variety of different equipment. Be sure to focus on your form and use a weight that you can handle. Remember to warm up before performing any lateral head tricep exercises. Lastly, don't forget to stretch your triceps after your workout.


For a complete routine, check out our full-body training program to develop a strong body and aesthetic physique; you will benefit from one of our programs. We designed a program that gives you the tools to build muscle with an easy-to-follow routine that will fit any schedule. To find out more:


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