10 Tricep Stretches To Loosen Up Tight Arms

10 Tricep Stretches To Loosen Up Tight Arms

Do you ever go to lift something and it feels as though your arms are so tight and sore that you have to immediately drop them down to your sides? At that moment, you have the thought that you may not be able to lift anything ever again. Perhaps your arms are sore from a gym session the day before, or you are in desperate need of some tricep stretches

Benefits of Stretching Triceps

The triceps are essential for upper-body strength, so much so that if they feel achy you feel like you can’t do anything. Brushing your teeth? Too difficult. Lifting up your child? There’s no way! Fortunately, stretching your triceps can help soothe that soreness, and this article aims to detail 10 of those stretches. 

Improved Range Of Motion

Any time a muscle is tight, it is near impossible to achieve full range of motion, and the same applies for the triceps. Tight triceps can decrease your athletic performance or general processing movements. Dynamic tricep stretches can help you achieve optimal movement before your workout, especially if you feel tightness. 

Reduced Chance Of Injury

By engaging all three heads of the triceps, you help the elbows function optimally and properly. The long head of the tricep acts on the shoulder joint as well, so stretching your triceps before engaging in upper-body exercises can help reduce your risk of shoulder injuries. Caring for your long head muscle can help ensure shoulder stability and health. 

Reduced Recovery Times

As is true with stretching post-workout, you help muscles return to their resting length at a faster rate. This works to reduce soreness and accelerate recovery. When you stretch your triceps after a workout, you help increase circulation to begin the healing process. 

What Muscles Do Triceps Stretch?

Tri = three, meaning there are three parts that make up the triceps: the long head, the lateral head, and the medial head. The names relate to where they are in relation to the muscle itself. The tricep is still a singular muscle, but each muscle head has a different origin point and they converge and insert in the same place on the elbow. Long head makes up the triceps’ size and starts at the infraglenoid tubercle of the scapula. Lateral head is the muscle that gives the triceps the signature horseshoe appearance on the side of the arm. Medial head originates near the center of the humerus. When you extend the tricep free from resistance, the medial does most of the work. 

When To Stretch Your Triceps

If you want to accelerate recovery time and lengthen the triceps, stretch your triceps after training them. You will likely see better results from static stretches when the triceps are warm, i.e. after you engage in workouts that work the triceps. Try to hold each tricep stretch for about 30 seconds. While stretching the triceps, you also stretch the fascia that surrounds the muscle. Breaking up the fascia is much easier to do when you stretch the muscles when they’re warm. 

Best Tricep Stretches to Do Today

Below, you’ll find 10 great tricep stretches that you can do before and/or after training. You should notice an improvement in recovery, mobility, and flexibility after doing these stretches consistently. 

10. Overhead Triceps Stretch

You can do this stretch in a seated or standing position. You can do it at your desk in the middle of your workday! It’s great to do this stretch before or after a workout, or when you feel tightness in your triceps. 

  • Stand up straight or sit up straight and reach your right arm up toward the ceiling. Bend at the elbow and reach your hand between your shoulder blades. Aim to put your middle finger on your spine. 
  • Place your left hand on top of your right elbow and gently push your right arm down, but not to a point of discomfort. 
  • Hold this position for about 30 seconds and then repeat on the other side.

9. Towel Stretch

This stretch aims to stretch the triceps a little more than the overhead triceps stretch. If you don’t have a towel, which would be strange, you can use a bar or strap in place of a towel. During this stretch, try to open your chest and engage your core

  • Stand up straight or sit up straight and extend your right arm up toward the ceiling, holding a towel in your right hand. 
  • Bend your left arm to reach your left arm behind your back to grab the bottom of the towel. The back of your left hand should be against your back. 
  • Pull the towel down with your left hand as far as you comfortably can and hold for 20 seconds. Repeat on the other side and continue alternating a couple times if you want to. 

8. Standing Bench Triceps Stretch

The idea behind this stretch is that your bodyweight does the work to elongate your triceps. You’ll also notice a stretch in your lats, making this an excellent post-workout stretch. 

  • Stand with your right side toward an incline bench, or another sturdy, chest-high object. 
  • Spread your feet slightly wider than hip-distance apart and bend your right leg. 
  • Place your right elbow on top of the incline bench’s back support. Lower your body until you feel a stretch along your right tricep and lat. Hold for 20-30 seconds and then repeat on the other side. 

7. Wrist Pull

This is not a tricep-specific stretch; rather, it aims to stretch your entire arm. You can do it anywhere you have some space. It can be greatly beneficial to practice this stretch after you finish an arm workout.

  • Stand up straight and extend your right arm out in front of you. Make sure that your fingers are extended up toward the ceiling, almost as if you are stopping someone in the name of love. 
  • Grab your right fingers with your left hand and gently pull them toward you until you feel a stretch in your right forearm. 
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds and then repeat on the other side. 

6. Elbow Extensor Stretch

The anconeus muscle, a small muscle located at the elbow, attaches to the humerus and ulna. This muscle engages during triceps extension, aiming to provide support and stability. This stretch isolates the anconeus muscle, which can help improve mobility in the elbows and shoulders.

  • Stand in front of a box or desk that is mid-thigh height. 
  • Hinge at the hips to lean forward and place your elbows and forearms on the box. Your elbows should be directly under your shoulders, and your palms should be facing down. 
  • Shift your weight forward slightly, keeping your back in a neutral, flat position. When you feel a stretch in your triceps, remain in this position for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side. 

5. Triceps Dip Stretch

Similar to the dip exercise, the triceps dip stretch requires you to hold the bottom position of a dip to stretch your triceps using the torso as resistance. This aims to lengthen the triceps, while simultaneously opening up the chest and shoulder muscles. 

  • Sit on the ground, bend your knees, and place your heels on the ground in front of you. 
  • Keep your arms straight and place your hands on the ground behind you, facing your fingers toward your feet. 
  • Bend your arms to come into a dip, only to the point where you feel a stretch in your triceps. 
  • Keep your chest up and roll your shoulders back as you lean back. Hold this position for 30 seconds and then return to the starting position. 

4. Horizontal Cross-Body Stretch

This is yet another stretch that you can do anywhere, regardless of whether you are sitting or standing. Although it is simple, this stretch helps to increase flexibility in the triceps and shoulders. 

  • Stand up or sit up straight and bring your right arm across your body. It’s okay if you bend your right elbow slightly. 
  • Hook your left arm around your right arm, just above your elbow. Pull the right arm closer to your chest until you feel a stretch in the shoulder and upper tricep. 
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds and then repeat on the other side. Feel free to do two rounds of this stretch per arm. 

3. Leaning Stretch

Yet another stretch that utilizes bodyweight to sink deeper into the stretch. This is a seated stretch that you can do using a chair, ottoman, bench, or couch. Ideally, you should do this stretch after a workout. 

  • Kneel down on the ground in front of a chair, bench, or ottoman. Make sure there is enough space between you and the bench, so that you can bend forward and be parallel to the floor without your head touching the bench. 
  • Keep your back straight as you lean forward toward the bench, aiming to have your back parallel to the floor. 
  • Place your elbows on the bench, bending them so that they support you. Additionally, make sure that you don’t strain your lower back. 
  • Look at the floor, and place your hands on the back of your neck. Remember, your elbows should only touch the bench. 
  • Press your torso toward the floor during a long exhale. You should feel a stretch along the triceps and lats. Hold this position for 30 seconds and then carefully return to the starting position. 

2. Tricep Wall Stretch

For people with limited mobility, some of the other stretches in this list may be difficult. Since this stretch utilizes a wall, you have more support and can sink deeper into the stretch. This stretch is very similar to the overhead triceps stretch, but you have an easier time controlling the intensity with the wall as support. 

  • Stand up straight and face a wall, making sure that you are standing close to it. 
  • Bend your right arm so that your right hand touches your right shoulder. Angle your elbow up and place it on the wall. 
  • Lean into the wall until you feel a stretch in your triceps and lat. Hold this position for 30 seconds and then repeat on the other side. 

1. Double Overhead Triceps Stretch

Instead of isolating the stretch to one tricep, this stretch focuses on stretching both triceps at the same time. Because this stretch requires you to actively reach down, you can control how intense it is. Feel free to adjust according to your needs. If you have difficulty putting your arms behind your head, avoid this stretch. 

  • Stand up straight, bend both of your arms, and place your hands behind your head. Make sure to keep your elbows high. 
  • Clasp your hands and rest them on your upper back. If you can, reach your hands toward the ground until you feel a gentle pull in the triceps. 
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat as needed. 

Why Stretching Your Triceps Is Good For You

A lot of people spend time strengthening their triceps, but rarely do they dedicate time to stretch them. Stretching and foam rolling your triceps can benefit your upper body strength, performance, and recovery. Additionally, tricep stretches can help with shoulder and elbow mobility, making everyday movements that much easier and less painful.



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