If you’re looking to sculpt well-rounded arms, you need to target all three heads of the triceps muscle. In this article, we will discuss some of the best medial head tricep exercises.
The medial head is often neglected, but it’s an important part of the tricep and deserves attention! These exercises will help you build strength and definition in your whole triceps, giving you beautiful, sculpted arms!
What Are The Best Medial Head Tricep Exercises?
Here are my top picks for the best medial head tricep exercises:
1. Reverse Grip Floor Press
The floor press is an excellent exercise to build strength in your whole upper body and improve your bench press lockout.
The only catch here is that you’ll want to do it with an underhand grip/reverse grip. Whatever you want to call it! Just make sure that you’re very careful and always have control over the weight.
It’s a good way to focus on the medial tricep head because taking an underhand grip will take some of the load off your shoulders and force your triceps to work more.
How-to do Reverse Grip Floor Press
- Set the barbell onto a squat rack
- Lie down under the bar to get into the starting position
- Make sure that the bar is at the same height as it would be on a bench press
- Carefully unrack the bar
- Slowly lower the bar until your arms touch the floor
- Push the weight up back to the starting position and repeat for the desired number of reps
2. Overhead Tricep Extensions
The most common way to do this tricep extension would be to use a dumbbell. You can also use a cable machine or even a barbell.
I recommend using a cable machine because it keeps the tension on your tricep throughout the whole movement.
How-to do Overhead Tricep Extensions
- Take the cable and hold it over your head
- Take a split squat stance
- Extend your arms
- Keep your upper arms stationary and parallel to the floor throughout the movement
3. Reverse Grip Bench Press
Similar to the floor press, the reverse grip bench press also allows you to build overall strength and muscle in your upper body.
Be cautious not to go too heavy at first, as the movement pattern will be unfamiliar to your body, due to the different grip.
By taking an underhand grip, you’ll be taking some load off your shoulders and placing the emphasis on the triceps and the upper pecs.
It doesn’t necessarily work the medial head more, but since the triceps is going to be working more, so is the medial head.
It also activates the upper pecs even more than any incline bench press variation would.
One very important thing I want to note is that please DO NOT confuse the reverse grip with the suicide grip.
One means that you have the thumb wrapped around the bar, and the other means that your thumb is on the same side of the barbell as the rest of your fingers.
On pressing movements, you’ll always want to have the thumb wrapped around the bar to have more control over it, and prevent it from slipping and falling onto your chest.
How-to do Reverse Grip Bench Press
- Lie down on a flat bench
- Grip the barbell slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, with a reverse grip, and have someone hand you the bar
- Or take an overhand grip, lower the weight to your chest, pause, and then switch to an underhand grip
- Push the weight up to the starting position and repeat for the desired number of reps
4. Close Grip Bench Press
The close grip bench press is another fantastic compound movement to help you build strength and muscle in mainly your triceps, but also the pecs and shoulders.
Similar to the other variations, the close grip bench takes some of the work off the shoulders and has your triceps work extra.
That’s because of the mechanically advantageous position that the triceps is placed into.
How-to do Close Grip Bench Press
- Lie down on a flat bench
- Grab the bar shoulder-width apart
- Lower the weight down, but touch lower on your chest than you would on a wider-grip bench press
- Push the bar back to the starting position
5. Incline Skull Crushers
Incline skull crushers are an excellent variation to the standard skull crushers because the incline allows you to put more emphasis on the medial and lateral head, instead of the long head.
How-to do Incline Skull Crushers
- Take an EZ bar or a pair of dumbbells
- Lie down on a 30-degree incline bench
- Hold your arms over your shoulder to get into the starting position
- Lower the weight(s) behind your head
- Extend your arms to get the weight back up
6. Reverse Grip Pushdown
It’s a good variation to the regular pushdown, although its potential could be limited by grip strength.
If your triceps are way stronger than your grip, you’ll have a hard time keeping your fingers around the attachment bar.
Of course, the only way to find that out is to try it!
How-to do Reverse Grip Pushdown
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
- Grab the bar with an underhand grip
- Extend your elbows
7. Cross-face Triceps Extension
This exercise is very similar to the tate press, only that it’s much more pleasant for the shoulders.
It’s quite an uncommon tricep exercise, but excellent for working every tricep head and building those giant upper arms.
How-to do Cross-face Triceps Extension
- Take 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
- From there, extend your arm
Anatomy Of Triceps Brachii
The triceps brachii is made up of three heads: medial, lateral, and long.
The medial head is the smallest of the three, originating from the posterior surface of the humerus and the medial intermuscular septum.
Note: the medial head mainly consists of slow twitch muscle fibers, which means that doing more eccentric work and higher reps might work best for this head.
The lateral head also originates from the posterior surface of the humerus and respectively, the lateral intermuscular septum.
The long head originates from the infraglenoid tubercule of the scapula, which means that it also crosses the shoulder joint and contributes to shoulder extension.
They all attach to the Olecranon, which is basically your elbow.
The Medial Head of The Triceps
The medial head lies at the back of the arm, below the long head in the center just above the elbow. It’s responsible for elbow extension.
The medial head is also often neglected when training triceps, because it doesn’t contribute as much to the overall size of the triceps.
But, if you want those well-rounded arms, it’s important to include some medial head exercises in your routine!
Can You Isolate The Medial Head?
Not completely, especially since the medial and the lateral head originate very close to each other and have the same function, it’s quite impossible to isolate either one of them.
No matter what exercise you do, all heads will be working at the end of your triceps extension, but there are things you can do to focus more on the medial head.
How To Target The Medial Head
Knowing that the long head works more than the other tricep heads the closer you are to shoulder flexion, and that the medial head works the most when you are close to lock-out.
To work the medial head more than the other heads, here are a few tips:
1) Use Close-Grip Exercises – Close-grip exercises recruit the medial head more, because, well, they’re better for the whole triceps in general.
They place the chest/pecs into a mechanically disadvantageous position over the shoulders and the triceps, meaning that the latter have to work more.
2) Work Near The End Range Of Motion – as explained earlier, the medial head can contribute more at the end ranges of any triceps extension. Although I’m not a fan of partial reps, this is one scenario where they might be beneficial.
Common Triceps Training Mistakes
When it comes to medial head tricep exercises, there are a few common mistakes that people make. Here’s what to watch out for:
1. Not focusing on all three heads of the triceps
To get the biggest, strongest, and most well-rounded triceps possible, you have to focus on each tricep head. Each of the plays a unique role in the way your upper arms look and function.
2. Not switching up the exercises
This point ties in with the last. Chances are that you have one or two triceps exercises that you like more than the others. This means that you’ll likely have a bias towards one of the heads.
3. Using too much weight and not controlling the movement
Going too heavy can cause others muscles to kick in and help out. While this is not bad (in fact it will be inevitable) for compound movements, you don’t want that when you’re trying to isolate a specific muscle group.
4. Doing too many isolation exercises without compound movements
Don’t be afraid of compound movements. They are more efficient than isolation exercises because they save you time by training multiple muscles at once.
They are also better for building strength and the stronger the muscle is, the bigger it can grow and vice versa. Remember, you don’t need to isolate every muscle!
What Are Medial Head Triceps Exercises?
Medial head triceps exercises are exercises meant to target the medial head of the triceps muscle.
They’re important because they give the upper arm a defined and well-rounded look.
When training triceps, the medial head is often neglected, but if you want those well-rounded arms it’s important to include exercises that target this muscle.
This can be done through close grip exercises and working near the end range of motion. Additionally, it’s important to avoid common mistakes such as only focusing on one head, using too much weight, and not switching up exercises.
By following these tips and adding medial head tricep exercises to your routine, you’ll be sure to sculpt the arms of your dreams!
What tricep exercises hit the medial head?
Any close grip exercise, such as a diamond push-ups or close grip bench press, will hit the medial head of the triceps. Additionally, you could use a reverse grip to put further emphasis on the medial head.
How do you hit all 3 heads on your tricep?
Pick an exercise that requires not only elbow extension, but also shoulder extension. This will make sure you involve the long head as well. You can also do partial reps in different ranges, to target a specific head.
How do you work the inner head of the tricep?
The inner head, or the medial head, is targeted the most by taking a reverse grip. An alternative would be to do a close grip variation of the exercise.
What tricep exercises target all 3 heads?
The best tricep exercise to hit all 3 heads would be the skullcrushers. Other good options include the close-grip bench press and triceps pushdowns.