Developing The Back of Your Arm | Long Head Triceps

Written by Jack Boardman

Long Head Triceps

When it comes to monster arms, the greatest portion of your upper arm is on the back of your triceps. A frequently asked question is how to develop the lower part of the back of your arm above the elbow.


This part of your arm will always be more indented than the rest of your arm – especially if you regularly work your triceps. The back of your arm is comprised of your triceps. Your triceps brachii are the large part of your upper arm between your elbow and shoulder. The triceps brachii has three heads (lateral, medial, long). The lateral head of the triceps is found on the outer side of the humerus. This is the horseshoe shape that shows on the upper part of the back of your arm. The medial head of the triceps is found in the middle of the back portion of the upper arm. The long head of the triceps is the largest part of your triceps and is found running down the back of your arm.


If you are honing in on this (or any) particular muscle, then chances are you’re developing in both experience and muscle. Picking out the back of your arm probably means that you’re well versed in tricep exercises but aren’t seeing the results you want to see.


To begin, let’s cover things you might already know. If you’re not seeing muscle development there are a few common factors.


Too Many Reps


High rep, low weight sets will see you walk out of the gym pumped up, but this isn’t the answer to strength and mass muscle development. Look at a range of three-five sets of three-five reps placing extra emphasis on adding kilos onto your lifts.



You knew from day one that the right fuel is integral for seeing through your ambitions, but with experience and time, it’s easy to fall out of habits. If you want to see muscle growth you need to make sure you’re getting the protein you need before and immediately after a workout.



Just because you’ve been putting in the gym hours, doesn’t mean that you’re doing it right. Make sure you’re executing your reps properly before increasing the amount you lift. You should feel the muscles you’re working contract with each purposeful movement. Don’t allow momentum and gravity to do the work for you.


The bulk of your muscle on the back of your arm is closer to the shoulder. Many recommend that, in order to develop the lower part of your arm, you should pay particular attention to the tricep long head, which, unlike the medial and lateral heads, is attached above the shoulder. The long head stretches when your arm is raised overhead.

Here is a list of exercises to isolate the long head tricep:


? Skullcrushers


? Added weighted dips

Overhead extensions

Close grip bench

? Cable pull-down extension

cable crunches

When exercising the triceps, you need to bear in mind muscle fatigue and see that chest and shoulders exercise days do not fall the day before on your weekly plan so that your triceps are at their best.


Many people incorporate tricep workouts into shoulders or chest days, but it might be time for you to consider arms only day so that they aren’t worn out when focussing on other muscle groups.


Your range of motion is also a factor in isolating the back of your arm. Remember to target the long head while it is stretched. Working on overhead extensions is ideal, but not necessarily for lifting serious weight. Using cables, you can experiment with a shorter range of movement so that the brunt of the weight is felt where you want it.


One last thing: you’ll know by now the effectiveness of benching when it comes to mass muscle work. Close grip benching effectively targets the triceps, but by adding a slight incline to your bench you’ll stretch the long head tricep.

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Faye Reid

Faye Reid

Writer and expert

Faye Reid has a Bachelor of Science in Sport and Exercise Physiology and a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology and Sports Nutrition. Faye has worked with numerous high-profile organisations, such as Men's Health, Sky Sports, Huddersfield Giants, Warrington Wolves, British Dressage and GB Rowing, providing her expert sports science support. Find out more about Faye's experience here: She puts her passion into practice as goal attack for her netball team, and in competitive event riding.

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