7 Best Long Head Tricep Exercises For Wider Arms

If you’re looking to add some width to your arms, then you need to focus on working the long head of the triceps. This muscle is responsible for the majority of the arm width, so it’s important that you target it with specific exercises. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the best long head tricep exercises that you can do to achieve impressive results!

What Are The Best Long Head Tricep Exercises?

Here are my top picks for the best long head tricep exercises

Decline Skull Crushers

Decline skull crushers are one of the best long head tricep exercises because they allow for a great deal of shoulder extension, in which the long head plays a big part.

Having a decline bench is great for keeping the tension on the triceps near the end range of motion.

How To Do Decline Skull Crushers

  • Pick a pair of dumbbells or an EZ bar
  • Lie down on the bench and hold the weights over your shoulders
  • Let your arms down behind your head as far as you can
  • Bring the weight back to the starting position

Diamond Push Ups

Diamond push ups, also known as triangle push ups, are a great option if you don’t have any equipment at hand, but would like to get in a quick tricep workout.

Although they don’t necessarily work the long head of the triceps, they’re still a great variation to build overall strength and muscle in your triceps and your upper arms in general.

How To Do Diamond Push Ups

  • Set your arms so that the area between your fingers and your thumbs resembles a triangle
  • Lower your body as parallel to the floor as possible
  • Push back up to the starting position

Cable Overhead Triceps Extensions

Cable overhead triceps extensions are one of the best long head tricep exercises because it places the upper arms into a flexed position.

It’s perfect for targeting the long head of the triceps muscle because unlike the other heads, triceps long head also contributes to shoulder extension.

So at the end range of this movement, when the elbow is almost fully extended, the long head tricep will be working more because it’s trying to also perform shoulder extension.

How To Do Cable Overhead Triceps Extensions

  • Take a split squat stance
  • Hold the cable behind your head
  • Extend your arms and repeat
  • Try not to aid the movement by leaning too much forward

Cross-Face Tricep Extensions

Cross-face tricep extensions are one of my favorite long head tricep exercises because they have a huge range of motion and focus the long head very well.

How To Do Cross-Face Tricep Extensions

  • Set up with a split squat stance
  • Have the cable attachment in the opposite hand of your front leg
  • The angle of the cable should be around 20 to 30-degrees
  • Stretch the tricep by letting your elbow come as close to your opposite shoulder as you comfortably can
  • Extend your arm and repeat

Dumbbell Overhead Extensions

Dumbbell overhead triceps extensions are also one of the best long head triceps exercises because they make the long head work the most.

In case you’ve had shoulder injuries in the past, or your range of motion at the shoulder joint isn’t the best, I’d suggest you skip this exercise.

With heavy weights, it gets a bit awkward and I think it’s best to avoid any unnecessary injury risk, wherever possible.

You can do this exercise with either one hand or two hands at a time. I suggest you try out both and see which feels best.

How To Do Dumbbell Overhead Extensions

  • Set your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Press the dumbbell over your head
  • Lower it behind your head until you feel a stretch in the triceps
  • Extend your arm(s) and repeat

Close Grip Bench Press

The close grip bench press isn’t necessarily a long head tricep exercise, but I included it in this list, because it’s a compound movement that’s good for building overall strength and mass in the upper body.

It works the pecs, lateral head, medial head and the long head of triceps all at the same time. It’s an efficient way to save time and get more bang for you buck so to speak.

How To Do Close Grip Bench Press

  • Lie down on a bench
  • Grab the barbell about shoulder width apart
  • Lower the bar to your chest and pause for a moment
  • Push the weight back to the starting position

Cable Triceps Pushdown

Cable triceps pushdowns are a great long head tricep exercise that can be done from the comfort of your home or in a gym.

How To Do Cable Triceps Pushdown

  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart
  • Hold the cable at a 90 degree angle
  • Push down and try to bring the cable to your sides as much as possible

Anatomy Of The Triceps Brachii

If you want to focus more on a specific tricep head, then it’s important to understand the anatomy of the triceps brachii.

This muscle consists of three heads: long, lateral, and medial.

The long head of the triceps originates from the infraglenoid tubercle of the scapula and is responsible for elbow extension as well as shoulder extension.

The medial head originates from the posterior side of the humerus bone, that is the bone in your upper arm, and is responsible for elbow extension.

The lateral head also originates from the humerus bone and is responsible for elbow extension.

All three tricep heads insert to the olecranon – the tip of the elbow.

Can You Isolate The Long Head Tricep?

When aiming to target the long head, it’s important to keep in mind that it crosses the shoulder joint and contributes to shoulder extension.

By placing yourself into a position where you have to perform shoulder extension, you’ll work the long head more than the other heads.

Common Tricep Training Mistakes

Let’s take a look at some of the most common mistakes that people make when training or programming tricep exercises.

Not Including Overhead Movements

Overhead movements are crucial for your overall triceps development, because they also activate the long head. Triceps exercises such as overhead cable extensions are great for building the overall strength and mass in your tricep, while mainly targeting the long head.

Ignoring Compound Movements

A stronger muscle is a bigger muscle and vice versa. If you build any part of your body, it’s not the best idea to go crazy on volume and only perform high repetition sets.

You’ll get much more out of your training if you include compound movements with intense, low-repetition sets that build strength in a bigger region than by targeting a specific muscle with isolation movements.

Not Controlling The Weight

It’s important to control the weight in almost any movement – especially isolation movements. By doing that you’ll have to restrict the maximal amount of weight you can lift. This will prevent you from having to help the working muscle group through sticking points by aiding with other parts.

Wrap Up

The long head tricep is one of the most important muscles for overall upper body strength and aesthetics, so make sure to give it some extra love when training. Especially if you’re a powerlifter who’s mainly doing pressing movements that neglect the long head.

Include a mix of overhead movements and different presses, compound lifts and isolation movements, to make sure all tricep heads are worked properly. With proper form and technique, you’ll be sure to see the results in no time. Good luck!

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What exercise hits the long head?

Best exercises to focus on the long head of the triceps:

  • Decline Skull Crushers
  • Diamond Push-Ups
  • Cable Overhead Extensions
  • Cross-face Extensions

How do you prioritize the long head of the tricep?

Select and perform tricep exercises that require a great deal of shoulder extension. The long head is the only tricep head that contributes to that movement. The other heads only function as elbow extensors.

Which tricep head is strongest?

The strongest head of the triceps brachii is arguably the lateral head. It has the highest concentration of type IIb muscle fibers.

Which tricep head shows the most?

Looking at the arm from its side, one can easily distinguish the lateral head of the triceps. However, behind it lies a bulkier long head that is responsible for much of its size and mass. The medial head remains concealed beneath these two heads until you shift your view to face towards the back of their arm near their elbow!


Aleksander is an undergraduate in Sports and Exercise Science, a coach/personal trainer and a blogger. He's also on his way to becoming a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). He's passionate about everything related to strength training and workout supplements.