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10 Lateral Head Tricep Exercises

When it comes to achieving well-defined and strong arms, focusing on all aspects of your triceps is key. In particular, the lateral head of the triceps plays a pivotal role in crafting that coveted arm definition. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the realm of lateral head tricep exercises, offering you a curated selection of workouts designed to target this specific muscle group. Let’s embark on a journey of discovery and transformation as we explore the ten best short lateral head tricep exercises and workouts.

Understanding Lateral Head Triceps Exercises

Lateral head tricep exercises are the cornerstone of sculpting the outer arm, contributing to a harmonious and robust arm structure. Beneath the skin lies the complex triceps anatomy, with the lateral head holding a significant position in defining your arm’s contours. Distinguishing lateral head exercises from others is key to developing a targeted workout plan that maximizes results.

Read more: 11 Best Long Head Tricep Exercises

Benefits of Lateral Short Head Triceps Exercises

Aesthetically pleasing arms demand balanced development, and that’s where lateral head tricep exercises shine. By engaging the lateral triceps, you not only enhance the visual appeal of your arms but also elevate your arm’s overall strength. These exercises serve as the bridge between form and function, delivering a blend of aesthetics and power that sets your arms apart.

How To Target The Lateral Head Tricep

Understanding the intricate anatomy of the lateral head tricep muscle is the first step to effective targeting. This muscle group plays a pivotal role in various arm movements, underlining its importance in your workout routine. Movements like overhead presses and tricep kickbacks engage the lateral head tricep, sculpting it to perfection.

Read more: 10 Best Medial Head Tricep Exercises

10 Best Lateral Head Tricep Exercises

1. Close Grip Bench Press

The close grip bench press is a classic exercise that deserves a place in any tricep-focused workout routine.

How to Perform Close Grip Bench Press

  1. Position yourself on a bench, gripping the barbell slightly narrower than shoulder-width.
  2. Lower the barbell to your chest while maintaining control.
  3. Push the barbell back up to full arm extension.

Emphasizing Lateral Head Engagement: To effectively target the lateral head, concentrate on keeping your elbows relatively close to your body during the movement.

2. Tricep Pressdowns

Another valuable exercise for activating the lateral head of the triceps is the tricep pressdown.

How to Perform Tricep Pressdowns

  1. Attach a rope handle to the high pulley of a cable machine.
  2. Stand facing the machine and grasp the rope with an overhand grip.
  3. Push the rope down while keeping your upper arms stationary.
  4. Return to the starting position with controlled movement.

Mind-Muscle Connection: During tricep pressdowns, focus on the contraction of the lateral head by squeezing it at the bottom of the movement. This connection enhances muscle engagement and growth.

3. Diamond Push-Ups

Adding bodyweight exercises like diamond push-ups can be effective in targeting the lateral head triceps.

How to Perform Diamond Push-Ups

  1. Assume a push-up position, placing your hands close together to form a diamond shape.
  2. Descend by lowering your body toward the ground while keeping your elbows in proximity to your body.
  3. Push your body back up to the starting position.

Modifications for All Levels: To cater to different fitness levels, you can perform diamond push-ups on your knees or against an elevated surface, gradually progressing to the standard form.

4. EZ Bar Skull Crushers

EZ bar skull crushers provide a unique angle for working the lateral triceps.

How to Perform EZ Bar Skull Crushers

  1. Lie on a bench and grasp the EZ bar with an overhand grip, hands slightly narrower than shoulder-width.
  2. Lower the bar towards your forehead by bending your elbows.
  3. Push the bar back up to full arm extension.

Mechanics for Lateral Triceps: During EZ bar skull crushers, focus on the movement’s eccentric phase, which engages the lateral head effectively.

5. Dumbbell French Press

The dumbbell French press is a versatile exercise that targets the lateral triceps effectively.

How to Perform Dumbbell French Press

  1. Position yourself on a bench and grasp a dumbbell with both hands, directly aligned above your chest.
  2. Lower the dumbbell towards the top of your head by bending your elbows.
  3. Extend your arms to return to the starting position.

Range of Motion Matters: Emphasize a full range of motion during dumbbell French presses to ensure the lateral head of the triceps is thoroughly engaged.

6. Close Grip Dips

Close grip dips provide a compound movement that engages the triceps, with a focus on the lateral head.

How to Perform Close Grip Dips

  1. Using parallel bars, lower your body by bending your elbows.
  2. Push your body back up to the starting position while keeping your elbows close to your body.

Avoid Common Mistakes: Pay attention to your elbow positioning to ensure that the lateral head is under tension throughout the movement.

7. Smith Machine Close Grip Bench Press

The Smith machine close grip bench press offers stability while effectively targeting the lateral triceps.

How to Perform Smith Machine Close Grip Bench Press

  1. Position yourself on a Smith machine bench and grip the barbell slightly narrower than shoulder-width.
  2. Lower the bar towards your chest while keeping your elbows close to your body.
  3. Push the bar back up to full extension.

Advantages of the Smith Machine: The Smith machine’s guided motion allows you to focus on engaging the lateral head without worrying about balance.

8. Tricep Cable Kickbacks

Tricep cable kickbacks provide a dynamic movement that isolates the lateral triceps.

How to Perform Tricep Cable Kickbacks

  1. Attach a handle to the low pulley of a cable machine and stand facing it.
  2. Hold the handle with an overhand grip and extend your arm back.
  3. Return to the starting position with controlled movement.

Maintaining Tension: Focus on maintaining tension on the lateral head throughout the movement by fully extending your arm.

9. Overhead Press

While often associated with shoulder work, the overhead press can also engage the lateral triceps.

How to Perform Overhead Press

  1. Stand with a barbell on your shoulders and palms facing forward.
  2. Press the barbell overhead while extending your arms fully.
  3. Lower the barbell back down to your shoulders.

Grip Width Adjustment: Experiment with different grip widths to find the position that maximizes lateral tricep engagement.

10. Barbell JM Press

The barbell JM press is a specialized exercise for targeting the lateral triceps.

How to Perform Barbell JM Press

  1. Begin by lying on a bench, gripping the barbell with a narrow hold.
  2. Lower the bar towards your chest by bending your elbows.
  3. Push the bar back up to full extension.

Controlled Tempo: Focus on maintaining a controlled tempo during the JM press to effectively engage the lateral head.

Crafting a Targeted Short Head Tricep Workout Routine

Designing a workout routine that prioritizes the lateral head tricep muscles is essential for comprehensive development. Here’s how to create an effective routine:

  • Exercise Selection: Choose a variety of exercises that engage the lateral triceps from different angles.
  • Sets and Reps: Aim for 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps for each exercise to promote muscle growth.
  • Frequency: Integrate lateral head tricep exercises 2-3 times weekly for optimal results.
  • Warm-Up and Cool Down: Begin with dynamic stretches and finish with static stretches to prevent injury.

Varying Reps and Sets for Optimal Progression

Varying your rep and set ranges introduces your muscles to new challenges, promoting growth and preventing plateaus. Consider:

  • Heavy Days: Perform 4-5 sets of 6-8 reps with heavier weights to build strength.
  • Moderate Days: Alternate with 3 sets of 10-12 reps for muscle endurance.
  • Light Days: Include 2 sets of 15-20 reps to enhance muscle definition.

Leveraging Supersets and Dropsets

Elevate the intensity of your lateral head tricep training with advanced techniques:

  1. Supersets: Pair two exercises targeting different tricep heads, performing them back-to-back with minimal rest.
  2. Dropsets: Start with a challenging weight and decrease it between sets to induce muscle fatigue.

Ensuring Proper Form and Injury Prevention

Maintaining impeccable form during lateral head tricep exercises is paramount to prevent injuries and optimize muscle engagement. Implement these strategies:

  • Mind-Muscle Connection: Focus on feeling the lateral tricep muscles working throughout the movement.
  • Controlled Movements: Avoid using momentum; control both the concentric and eccentric phases.
  • Stable Core: Engage your core muscles to maintain stability during exercises.

Recovery and Nutrition for Lateral Head Tricep Development

Recovery and nutrition are the cornerstones of muscle growth. Consider the following:

  • Protein Intake: Ensure your protein intake caters to muscle repair and expansion.
  • Hydration: Stay well-hydrated to facilitate nutrient transport and overall muscle function.
  • Rest: Prioritize quality sleep to aid in recovery and muscle development.


Embark on the journey to well-sculpted lateral triceps and impressive arm aesthetics with dedication and strategy. By integrating these 10 best lateral head tricep exercises and workouts into your training routine, you’re on the path to achieving your arm goals. Remember, the outer triceps not only contribute to a striking appearance but also to functional strength that enhances your overall fitness journey. Start sculpting your lateral triceps today, and witness the transformation that unfolds as you combine science, dedication, and the desire for peak performance.

FAQ: Lateral Head Tricep Exercises & Workouts

What is the lateral head of the triceps, and why is it important to target?

The lateral head is one of the three muscles that make up the triceps brachii. It runs along the outer side of the upper arm and contributes significantly to the arm’s overall appearance. Targeting the lateral head not only enhances aesthetics but also contributes to balanced arm strength and function.

Can I solely focus on lateral head tricep exercises for arm development?

While lateral head exercises are crucial, a well-rounded approach is recommended for comprehensive arm development. Incorporate exercises that engage all tricep heads, along with bicep and forearm exercises, for balanced arm aesthetics and strength.

How often should I perform lateral head tricep workouts?

Aim to include lateral head tricep exercises 2-3 times per week in your routine. This frequency allows for adequate muscle recovery while providing the stimulation needed for growth.

What’s the significance of varying reps and sets in lateral head tricep training?

Varying your rep and set ranges challenges your muscles in different ways, promoting both strength and endurance. This variation prevents adaptation and plateau, leading to more consistent progress.

Are supersets and drop sets suitable for beginners?

These advanced techniques can be intense, so beginners should approach them with caution. It’s advisable to first establish a solid foundation of strength and technique before incorporating supersets and dropsets into your routine.

Can I achieve visible lateral tricep development solely through exercise?

Exercise is a crucial factor, but nutrition and recovery also play pivotal roles. Consuming enough protein, staying hydrated, and getting quality sleep all contribute to optimal muscle growth and development.

How long will it take to see results in my lateral tricep development?

Results vary based on individual factors such as genetics, consistency, and intensity of training. Generally, noticeable improvements can be observed within a few weeks to a few months of dedicated training.

Are lateral head tricep exercises suitable for everyone?

Lateral head tricep exercises are generally safe for most individuals. However, if you have any pre-existing medical conditions or injuries, it’s wise to consult a healthcare professional or fitness expert before incorporating these exercises into your routine.

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