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Key Benefits of Lateral Head Triceps Training

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When building a well-defined upper body, triceps training is often underestimated in lieu of chest and bicep development. Not focusing on the triceps, however, can lead to an imbalanced physique and hinder overall strength and performance. Of the three triceps muscle heads, the lateral head plays a crucial role in both aesthetics and functional strength. This article will explore 10 key benefits of training the lateral head of the triceps and discuss why it should be a fundamental part of your workout routine

The Anatomy of the Triceps.

As the name suggests, the triceps contain three key muscles or “heads”. When discussing the benefits of lateral head triceps training, it’s important to understand the anatomy of these heads and how those muscles operate. The triceps brachii muscle consists of: 

  • The long head – assists with the extension and movement of the arm at the shoulder joint.
  • The medial head – which is the major muscle force to extend the elbow. 
  • The lateral head – which is active during forearm extension when the forearm is rotated upward. 

Lateral head tricep exercises include moves like push-ups, bench presses, and arm hangs. By targeting the lateral head of the triceps specifically, you can achieve more well-rounded arm development, in addition to 10 other key benefits. 

10 Key Benefits of Lateral Head Triceps Training.

Enhanced Aesthetics.

Perhaps the most noticeable benefit of lateral head triceps training is the improvement in arm aesthetics. By developing the lateral head, athletes can enhance the “horseshoe shape” of the muscle on the triceps, which can be seen when flexed. Focusing on the lateral head can give your arms a more defined and impressive appearance and really make your arms stand out. 

Increased Arm Strength.

This is the first intuitive benefit of lateral head triceps workouts; more than the aesthetic, working out the triceps contributes significantly to your overall arm strength. A stronger lateral head allows you to improve your bench presses, overhead presses, and pushups, helping you both lift heavier weights and increase your number of reps. 

Enhanced Pushing Strength.

The lateral head of the triceps is critically important when executing pushing movements like those simulated in bench presses and overhead presses. A strengthened lateral head gives your arm greater stability and power as you literally “push” through these exercises, allowing you to target other muscle groups in the chest and shoulders more effectively. 

Enhanced Functional Performance.

Lateral head triceps exercises also have practical benefits for your everyday activities. 

After consistently strengthening the lateral head triceps, you may have an easier time pushing heavy doors, carrying impossibly dense grocery bags to your front door, or moving grandiose furniture around your apartment. All this is thanks to a well-developed lateral head. 

Injury Prevention.

Strengthening the lateral head of the triceps can help prevent future injury when activating other muscles in the chest and shoulders. This is because an advanced triceps muscle helps to stabilize the elbow, reducing the risk of injuries and strains.  

Flexible Workout Options.

Unlike some muscle groups, the lateral triceps head can be engaged in a variety of workouts. Some popular options for lateral head triceps exercises include push-downs, overhead extensions, skull crushers, and close-grip bench presses

These options mean you can switch up exercises in your workout routine while still targeting the lateral head of the triceps, modifying as needed to suit your fitness level, allowing you to start triceps training wherever you are in your weightlifting stage.

Improved Extended Strength.

In weightlifting, “locking out” muscles or extending your elbows fully at the end of a workout is recommended to build up wrist flexibility and shoulder strength. Having strong lateral head triceps can significantly improve your lockout strength and can be extremely useful when performing any exercise that requires full extension of the arms. 

Balanced Muscle Development.

Balanced muscle development is crucial for both aesthetics and fitness. Some athletes may try to focus on a singular muscle group because they’ve already developed strength in that area or because they find those exercises more enjoyable, but enhancing only one muscle group can cause the rest of your muscles to look disproportional and underdeveloped. 

By focusing on the lateral head of the triceps, in addition to the other triceps heads, you ensure that you are working all key triceps muscles, promoting symmetry and enhancing overall arm functionality. 

Better Overhead Mobility.

Lateral head triceps training improves your overhead extension, meaning you can hold heavy objects, like a small child or a massive weightlifting trophy, over your head for longer. These muscles can also improve your mobility later in life, ensuring lasting strength for years to come. 

Confidence Boost.

Finally, progressing your lateral head strength can significantly boost your confidence as an athlete and a goal-oriented individual. As you work towards your goal of strength and muscle definition, you will be able to see your arms become more sculpted, and you will gradually be able to add more weight to your exercises. This will allow you to gain greater confidence, not only in your appearance but in your abilities as an athlete and a determined individual, promoting your personal development outside the gym as well. 

Training the lateral head of the triceps is vital if you are looking to achieve a balanced upper body and improve your overall strength. The benefits of lateral head triceps exercises include aesthetic and strength improvement but also cover other advantages like enhanced functional performance, injury prevention, and confidence enrichment. 

By incorporating exercises targeted towards the lateral head of the triceps, you can achieve optimized upper-arm strength and enjoy the benefits of training these muscles, inside and outside the gym, for years to come. Don’t neglect this essential muscle group in your next training session; give your lateral head triceps the attention they deserve for a more impressive physique and a stronger, more confident you. 




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This content is based on scientific research and written by experts.

Our team of licensed health professionals, nutritionists and fitness experts endeavor to be unbiased, objective, honest and to present each sides of the argument.

This article contains scientific references. The numbers in the parentheses (1,2,3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific researches.