Muscles Worked in Barbell Standing Triceps Extensions
Primary muscles worked:
How to Do Barbell Standing Triceps Extensions
- Grip a barbell with a close grip, and lift it up to straight arms over your head.
- Lower the barbell behind your head while keeping your upper arms still and vertical.
- Reverse the motion and extend your arms again.
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Table of Contents
Which Muscles Does the Barbell Standing Triceps Extensions Work?
Standing triceps extension is an effective exercise for isolating the tricep muscle. The standing position puts a great stretch on the triceps and likely emphasizes the long head of the triceps more because of the elevated position of the upper arm.
Benefits of the Barbell Standing Triceps Extensions
- Triceps development. This exercise isolates and targets the triceps, leading to improved muscle size, strength, and definition in the upper arm.
- Improved pressing strength. A stronger triceps can lead to improved performance in other pressing movements, such as bench presses, shoulder presses, and push-ups.
Barbell Standing Triceps Extensions: Proper Form & Technique
Hold the barbell overhead, and keep your feet shoulder-width apart to maintain balance. Grip the bar with a firm, but not excessively tight, grip, and keep your hands closer than shoulder-width apart. Keep your back straight and engage your core for stability throughout the exercise.
Keep your wrists locked, and lower the barbell down behind your head. Keep your core engaged during the entire movement so that you prevent your lower back from arching. Go as far down as your mobility lets you, and then reverse the movement.
Common Mistakes in the Barbell Standing Triceps Extensions
- Flaring elbows. Letting the elbows flare out to the sides during the movement makes the exercise less effective and can also be stressful for the shoulder joint. Keep your elbows at the same length apart throughout the movement.
- Hyperextending the lower back. Arching the lower back excessively can place strain on the spine and increase the risk of injury. Maintain a neutral spine and engage your core throughout the exercise to provide stability.
- Adding too much weight. Using weights that are too heavy can lead to poor form, reduced range of motion, and increased risk of injury. Choose a weight that allows you to complete the desired number of repetitions with proper form.
Barbell Standing Triceps Extensions: Alternatives & Variations
- Dumbbell Standing Triceps Extension
- Overhead Cable Triceps Extension
- Barbell Lying Triceps Extension
- Dumbbell Lying Triceps Extension
1. Dumbbell Standing Triceps Extension
This variation is performed with dumbbells instead of a barbell, allowing for a greater range of motion and independent movement of each arm. This can help you to work on any imbalances between your arms.
The movement pattern should be the same as in the barbell version, and make sure to keep your elbows from flaring.
2. Overhead Cable Triceps Extension
In this variation, a cable machine is used instead of a barbell. This means that you’ll have a constant throughout the movement, which might be beneficial for muscle growth.
However, the barbell version might be more accessible for many lifters since you only need a barbell to perform it.
3. Barbell Lying Triceps Extension
The lying triceps extension provides more stability as the body is supported by the bench, while the standing version requires you to engage your core a bit more to maintain your posture and balance throughout the exercise.
4. Dumbbell Lying Triceps Extension
This variation offers the stabilization from the lying barbell version but also the possibility to work on any imbalances between the arms thanks to the dumbbells. It also offers a little longer range of motion than the barbell version.
How Many Sets and Reps Should You Do in the Barbell Standing Triceps Extensions?
How many reps you should do of an exercise depends on your goal: do you mainly want to increase your strength or build muscle?
Generally, a lower rep range of about 1–5 reps per set is most effective for strength gains. For muscle gains, a slightly higher rep range of about 8–15 reps per set is generally the most effective and practical.
Of course, you will see an increase in both muscle and strength regardless of which rep range you choose, but you can emphasize one or the other slightly by working in the right number of reps.
Most lifters prefer to work in the upper rep range while doing the barbell standing triceps extension. It’s an isolation exercise, and while a strong triceps could be a goal for many lifters, heavy weights, and low reps in this exercise is often uncomfortable.
How many sets you do of an exercise depends on your training experience, how many times you work out in a week and your other training. But around ten sets per week for a given muscle group is a good starting point, and you can go even higher when you are used to training or if you stop your sets short of failure.
Read more: How Many Sets per Muscle Group per Week?
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