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How To Stretch Your Triceps
Help Avoid Injuries & Reduce Tightness

Last updated: September 9, 2021

I always shudder when I see people at the gym who never do any stretching as part of their exercise program.

Not only can this simple habit relieve muscle tension after a tough workout, but it’s also one of the best ways to prevent injury.

The area we’re focusing on with clients is triceps stretches.

So, we teamed up with a physical therapist to give you five simple ways to begin stretching your triceps the right way.

5 Top Triceps Stretches

1. Horizontal Tricep Stretch

man outdoors warming up his arms

Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart, raise your left arm, and stretch it out across your chest about shoulder height.

Grab hold of your left shoulder joint with your right hand, and then use your right forearm to gently push your elbow towards your chest.

Hold this stretch for about 5 seconds, and then switch to the right arm.

2. Overhead Tricep Stretch

woman doing an overhead tricep stretch

For the overhead triceps stretch, stand up straight and lift your left arm straight above your head.

Bend the left elbow until your left hand reaches for your shoulder blade, and then use the right hand to gently pull the elbow back.

This is a static stretch, meaning that it’s best to hold it for about 5 seconds before switching to the right arm.

3. Towel Stretch

man using a towel to stretch his arms

Start with a similar position to the overhead stretch, but this time your elbow will point to the ceiling and your right elbow to the floor.

You’ll then use a rolled-up towel with one end held in each hand and then use that towel to pull the left hand down. It’s a great way to really stretch the long head of the triceps.

Keep the stretch for 5 seconds, and don’t forget to do the same for the right triceps.

4. Leaning Triceps Stretch

woman in a leaning triceps stretch position

Start in a kneeling position in front of a workout bench and lean forward until your elbows are on the bench and your upper arms are next to your head.

Now push your shoulders down so that they dip below the bench while your left and right elbow remain above it.

This is a deeper stretch for the upper arm muscle group, and you may even feel it in your upper back.

5. Dynamic Arm Swings

shirtless man in the gym showing off his back muscles

All the above triceps stretches are static, so we thought it would be best to add one dynamic stretch as well. Keep your arms straight and lift them up beside your body.

Then start swinging them across your body and back again to create short stretch moments.

You can also do forward and backward circles with your arms, where the larger the circle, the more of a stretch you’ll achieve.

You can also do forward and backward circles with your arms, where the larger the circle, the more of a stretch you’ll achieve.

Why Is It Important To Stretch Your Triceps?

man flexing his biceps showing his back, and a woman stretching her arms on a yoga mat

There are three main reasons why you should aim to do a few quick triceps stretches on your arm days at the gym.

  • It will improve your range of motion, loosen the joints and help you avoid strain on tendons and ligaments [1].
  • If you do a few stretches after a workout, you could increase blood flow, reducing muscle soreness [2].
  • You can recover faster and build upper body strength more effectively.

“You can also reduce your chances of suffering DOMS by warming up and stretching properly before your workout, and building up the intensity of your exercise over time rather than going hell for leather on your very first try.” - Nick Harris-Fry, Writer at CoachMag.co.uk.

When Should You Stretch Your Triceps?

Ideally, you will do the above stretches after a short warm-up routine that would include a brisk walk, some jumping jacks, and even a light jog.

It’s always better to do some stretching after you’ve got some blood flowing and your muscles are warm.

You should also consider doing them after a workout routine that includes an elbow extension workout like triceps kickbacks.

Related: How to Get Bigger Triceps (30-Day Workout)

FAQs

How Do You Relieve Sore Triceps?

You relieve sore triceps by always including a triceps stretch in your workouts. Aim to do this before and after your arm workout routine to avoid injuries and speed up your recovery process.

How Do You Stretch Your Shoulders and Triceps?

You stretch your shoulders and triceps by doing horizontal arm stretches. These extend all the individual parts of the triceps as well as the tendons and ligaments.

Will You Include These Stretches Into Your Arm Exercise Routine?

Whether you’re dealing with tight triceps from an injury or going through a tough bulking phase, the best way to ensure you maintain good performance is to include regular stretching.

If you can get into the habit of doing the above stretches every arm day, you’ll end up looking forward to the moment you feel a stretch build-up.

And if you have some ideas that you have implemented, please share them in the comments or on social media.


References:

  1. https://www.active.com/fitness/articles/a-stretching-routine-to-prevent-injuries
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21735398/

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