Top 10 Tricep Stretches You Should Be Doing 

If you’re the type of person who tends to quickly jump into your workout without first warming up, you need to add stretching to your routine. No matter what muscle you are working out, you should spend a little time limbering up before, during, and after your workout. Tight muscles are more likely to get injured and do not allow you to get the best possible performance out of your workout. And if you do get insured, well you will be doing more harm to your body - the complete opposite of what you intend to do in the first place.

Your triceps are like any other muscle in your body that needs to be stretched before working out. While it might be easy to skip stretching this muscle and focus on other exercises that warm up your shoulders or chest, you need to make sure you include some motions in your routine that directly target your triceps.

What Are Your Triceps?

triceps workout

Your triceps are a muscle that includes three different “heads” in your upper arms that run from your shoulders to your elbows. They are on the opposite side of your biceps and work with your biceps to help extend and retract your forearm. Your triceps also play the important role of stabilizing your shoulder joint and straightening your elbow.

Why Should You Stretch Your Triceps? 

back of a man with the arms stretching

Your triceps are necessary muscles that have a huge part in building your upper body strength. Most upper body workouts, even those that focus primarily on the chest, shoulders, or biceps, require the use of your triceps as well. You need to make sure that your triceps are warmed up and stretched before you do any type of upper body workout. Since your triceps play a key role in moving your elbows and shoulders, you need to make sure they are prepared to give you the mobility you need while you work out.

If you do not warm up and stretch your triceps beforehand, then you may end up doing damage that will keep you from completing other parts of your workout. This, of course, would be no good, especially if you have specific goals in mind. 

Luckily, we have done the hard work for you. Today, we are going to take a look at some of the top triceps stretches that you can try out before you start your workout routine. The different stretches we have outlined below will give you the change to vary your workout routine so that you warm up will without getting bored.

10 Best Triceps Stretches

Behind-the-Head Triceps Stretch

This motion is one of the most popular triceps stretches and is easy to do anywhere.

Start by standing up straight with your body straight and in-line. Lift one of your arms straight up before bending it backward at your elbow. Your palm should be flat against your back, and your shoulders should not be hunched over. Place your stationary arm's hand on your elbow and push your stretching arm down while also pushing it towards your head. Hold this for about 10 seconds before switching sides and repeating the motion on the other arm.

Behind-the-Head Towel Stretch

If you want to give your triceps an even deeper stretch, add a towel into the picture.

Just like the normal behind-the-head stretch, start by standing and raising your arm above your head. Except, this time you need to be holding a small towel. Bend your arm backward and allow the towel to hang behind your back. With your other arm, grab the bottom end of the towel by bending your elbow. Pull with the arm on the bottom of the towel to give your triceps a good stretch. Hold this position before switching sides.

The towel acts as a force of resistance that allows you to penetrate deeper into the muscle. This will allow you to really feel stretched out and limber before you start your workout. 

French Stretch

Stand straight and extend your arms straight above your head with your hands clasped. Bend your elbows backward and touch your back. Reach as far as you can until you feel the stretch, and then hold for 30 seconds.  

Holing the stretch is important as this is what allows your muscles to really stretch out. Do this motion a couple of times with breaks in between each rep. 

Foam Roller Triceps Stretch

Foam rollers are not just great for keeping sore spots after a workout at bay. Foam rollers are super beneficial especially if you are looking to use it for stretching purposes. If you struggle with shoulder pain or have ever had a shoulder injury, it might be difficult for you to just bend your arm behind your back. For this stretch, you will need a foam roller.

Start by placing your foam roller on the ground. Lay flat on top of it with the roller located just below your shoulders on the top of your back. Your head and upper body should be lifted off the ground. Lift your arms up on each side with your arms bent at the elbow. Grab one arm with the other at either the forearm or the elbow and pull it back towards the opposite shoulder.

Cross-Body Triceps Stretch  

This is another simple, popular exercise that stretches your triceps in a different way than when you put it behind your head.

Once again, start in a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold your arm out directly in front of you. With the other hand that it is not in the stretch, grab your elbow and pull it towards the opposite shoulder until you can feel the slight pressure. Your arm should be in a straight horizontal line across your chest.  Hold this position for about 10 seconds, and then switch sides.

Chair Triceps Stretch

For this stretch, you will need a low chair or another similar object. You should try to find a chair or object with padding for your elbows.

Start this exercise by kneeling with your knees firmly planted into the ground a little less than a foot away from the chair. From this position, Lean forward until you can rest your elbows on top of the chair. Bend your elbows so that your arms bend upwards. Clasp your hands together and allow the chair to support your weight.

Look downwards and make sure your neck is in-line with your back. Don’t let your head touch the chair; only your elbows should be touching. Bring both your arms back behind your head, and place your hands on your lower neck. Push your chest towards the floor to feel the stretch and hold for about 30 seconds.

Resistance Band Triceps Stretch

You will need to grab a resistance band for this triceps stretch. This exercise involves moving your arms back and forth and is a good choice for increasing blood flow to your triceps.  

Start by holding the resistance band in each hand and hang it in front of you with the band on the ground. Step onto the resistance band’s center with your feet slightly apart. Still holding the band, raise both of your arms to the ceiling and bend your elbows backward. From this position, slowly straighten your arms back to the ceiling. Continue to go back and forth between these two positions for about 30 seconds. Make sure that you aren’t speeding through this motion. Instead, go slowly and use control to get the full benefits of this triceps stretch.

Dynamic Triceps Stretches

Dynamic stretching differs from static stretching. Static exercises require that you get into a position and hold it, whereas dynamic stretches warm up your muscles and joints through repeated movements. It is a good idea to incorporate a mix of these two types in your workout. Some people choose to start workouts with dynamic stretches as a good warm up and end sessions with static stretches to help cool down. Here are three different triceps motions you can use to increase flexibility and blood flow.

Dynamic Behind-the-Head Stretch

One common dynamic stretch is to do exactly the same motion that you do during the behind-the-head stretch — but without holding the position. You will still hold one arm behind your head with the other on your elbow, guiding it into a deeper stretch. However, instead of holding this position for a long time, you’ll switch back and forth quickly between your arms.

Dynamic Cross-Body Stretch

Another dynamic option is to do the exact same motion you did for the regular cross-body exercise — but with constant, fast movement. Stretch one arm across your chest while the other one gives it a quick extra push. Then, switch to the other side and repeat.

A variation on this dynamic cross-body exercise is to simply spread your arms out to each side and then cross them in front of each other as if you are going to hug around your shoulders. Switch off which arm is on top of the other. Keep doing this motion for about 30 seconds without flapping your arms.  

Overhead Arm Swings

Stand up and raise your arms to your sides. Rotate your arms in a circle above your head and then bring them back down to complete the circle. Constantly move your arms but at a controlled pace. This stretch should look like you’re doing jumping jacks without moving your legs.

Conclusion

man holding his elbow

As you can see, there are a large variety of exercises you can include in your routine to prepare your triceps for a workout. While you do not need to include every stretch in this article, you should definitely try to use more than one. It is a good idea to use at least one triceps motion that involves placing your arm behind your head and one that pulls your triceps across your body. Both of these positions target different parts of your triceps.

Also, don’t forget to include one of the dynamic triceps stretches in your warm-up. You need to get your triceps moving and get your blood pumping before you just start picking up weights and getting your pump on.

While most of these stretches are pretty easy to do, you always need to listen to your body. The process should not be painful, so, if you feel any pain in your triceps or any other muscles in your body, you will need to stop the motion. Only stretch your body to a level that feels comfortable. If you are injured or have a strained muscle, you will only complicate the condition by stretching in ways that are painful to you.

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