Medial Head Triceps Exercises for Bigger, Stronger Arms

Triceps brachii, or triceps, are three-headed muscles opposite the biceps and responsible for 2/3 of the upper arm mass.

Working on all three tricep head muscles is important to make your arms bigger and grow faster.

Building up the medial head of the triceps is an important step in the process.

There is a wide range of medial head triceps exercises to help you increase the size of your arms and strengthen your bench press, overhead press, dips, and other pressing movements.

This article will cover the following:

  • Anatomy of the triceps muscle
  • The best ways to work your middle triceps
  • Best exercises to train the middle head tricep
  • How it contributes to greater performance

Know About Triceps Muscles

The tricep muscle, also known as the triceps brachii, is a large muscle located in the back of the upper arm.

It comprises three heads: the lateral head, the medial head, and the long head. It begins just below the shoulder blade socket and at two distinct areas of the humerus.

long head Tricep

Lateral Head

The lateral head of the triceps originates from the upper portion of the humerus bone and is responsible for shoulder extension.

This is the horseshoe shape that shows on the upper part of the back of your arm.

Medial Head

The medial head of the triceps is situated in the middle of the tricep muscle and originates from the lower portion of the humerus bone. It is responsible for elbow extension.

Long Head

The largest part of your triceps is the long head, which runs down the back of your arm. The long head differs from the medial and lateral heads as it crosses the shoulder joint.

It is responsible for both shoulder and elbow extension. The long head also helps to stabilize the shoulder joint during movement.

All three heads of the tricep muscle come together and are inserted into the olecranon process of the ulna bone (forearm bone), creating the tricep muscle mass.

How To Train The Medial Head Of Tricep

There are three main techniques to target the medial head of the tricep:

1. Use A Reverse Grip (Underhand Grip)

When you do exercises like reverse grip tricep pushdowns and reverse grip bench presses, you focus more on the muscle’s middle head tricep.

when you switch to an underhand grip, the force line and the resistance angle change.

2. Keep Your Elbows At Your Sides

Keeping your elbow close to your body during exercises like tricep pushdowns or skull crushers isolates the middle part of your tricep muscle.

3. Keep Your Elbow Flexion

Studies have observed that the medial head showed the highest force generation during the elbow flexion between 85° and 110°.

When you are laying skull crunches, your elbow remains in the elbow flexion condition; hence, a skull cruncher is one of the best exercises to train the medial head of the tricep.

Types of Exercises

Two types of exercise are used to train the medial head of the triceps muscle: compound exercises and isolated exercises.

  • Compound triceps exercises involve extension at the elbow and movement at the shoulder. These include reverse grip bench presses and diamond push-ups.
  • Isolation triceps exercises involve just extension at the elbow with no other joint movement, such as rope pushdown, and dumbbell kickbacks.

You also need to think about the muscle fibers. Unlike the other two heads, the tricep medial head is made up of slower twitch muscle fibers, making it respond better to higher reps.

You will exhaust the medial head tricep muscles if you perform exercises in high rep ranges.

12 Best Medial Head Tricep Exercises

Now, let’s get into the best tricep medial head strength and hypertrophy exercises using various types of fitness equipment, such as a barbell, dumbbells, cable machine, and some bodyweight tricep exercises.

These are the 12 best tricep exercises to strengthen the medial head and aid in your triceps’ overall strength and size.

We have created the medial tricep head exercises in many sections, such as:

1. Dumbbell Close Grip Tricep Press

The dumbbell close grip press is another great strength builder. If you want a fully developed triceps, then you must perform heavy compound movements like this one.

This exercise will target your entire tricep and chest, emphasizing engaging the medial head tricep.

Dumbbell Close Grip Tricep Press

How To Do It

  1. Lie flat on a bench-press bench with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. The palms of your hands should be facing each other in a neutral grip.
  3. Keep your elbows at about a 45-degree angle to your body.
  4. Start by raising the dumbbells by straightening your arms and squeezing your triceps at the top.
  5. Then, slowly lower to the starting positions.
  6. Repeat the desired number of sets and reps.


  • Lower the dumbbells until they are level with your chest.
  • Perform the exercise using a slow and controlled movement.

2. Dumbbell Tate Press

The dumbbell Tate press is a variation of the tricep extension and an exercise used to build stronger triceps. It is an advanced tricep exercise that moves the muscle differently but still targets and builds the tricep muscle.

For bodybuilders, the Tate press will offer a unique range of motion to target the triceps. This will help in building a complete pair of horseshoe triceps.

Dumbbell Tate Press

How To Do It

  1. Lie down on a flat bench, and your feet are firmly planted on the floor at the other end.
  2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, facing your palms towards your feet.
  3. Engage your abs, keep your back on the bench, and raise the weights to the center of your chest.
  4. Slowly raise your arms up and down without moving your elbows by contracting your triceps.
  5. Repeat for as many reps and sets as desired.


  • The exercise’s slow eccentric (lowering portion) can help improve tension and mind-muscle connection.
  • Never load up to where you cannot maintain a stable body position. This is an isolation exercise that does not require maximum loads.
  • Keep your arms close to your head for maximum triceps engagement.

3. Dumbbell Kickback

The dumbbell kickback is a versatile and effective exercise that targets the triceps muscles.

It is an isolation exercise. This means that, unlike other exercises, such as the diamond push-up or close grip bench press, the tricep kickback specifically targets the tricep muscle.

Dumbbell Kick Back

How To Do It

  1. Place your right knee and palm on a flat bench so that your torso is parallel to the floor.
  2. Hold a dumbbell in the left hand and, keeping the left foot flat on the floor, press your left arm tight against your side with the upper arm parallel to the floor.
  3. Extend the elbow until your arm is straight back and fully extended.
  4. Flex the triceps hard for a second, then reverse to the starting position. Complete all reps on the left arm and then repeat on the right.


  • Keep your body as still as possible, moving only your forearms.  
  • Keep control of the weight as you slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.

4. One-Arm Overhead Dumbbell Triceps Extension

The dumbbell overhead triceps extension is a single-joint exercise that targets the triceps while increasing stability throughout the core and the shoulder regions.

It is worth doing the exercise with one arm at a time if you want to ensure that one stronger side isn’t carrying the weaker one.

This lets you focus on perfect form in that one arm and allows for a greater range of motion. This will put extra tension on the medial head.

One-Arm Overhead Dumbbell Triceps Extension

How To Do It

  1. Stand shoulder width apart and lift a dumbbell overhead with your right hand.
  2. Hold it straight overhead with an overhand grip (palm facing forward).
  3. Keeping your upper arm right beside your head, lower the dumbbell behind your head and toward your left shoulder until your elbow forms a 90-degree angle.
  4. Then, slowly lift it back to full arm extension.


  • The chin should remain parallel to the floor and the core should brace during the exercise.
  • Keep your upper arms as still as possible, allowing your forearms to drive the movement

5. Skull Crusher

Skull crushers are a classic triceps exercise that bodybuilders and strength athletes have used for decades.

The name “skull crusher” comes from the exercise’s mechanics of bringing the weight down to your skull from an overhead position.

There are many other variations of skull crusher that you can do to maximize the muscle stimulation.

How To Do Barbell Skull Crushers

How To Do It

  1. Lie down on a flat bench with your feet firmly planted on the ground.
  2. Pick a weight for the workout, such as dumbbells or a barbell.
  3. Extend your arms straight above your chest, perpendicular to the floor.
  4. Bend your elbows and slowly lower the weight towards your forehead.
  5. Control the movement and aim to bring the weight to a point just above your forehead without touching it.
  6. Pause briefly at the bottom position, feeling the stretch in your triceps.
  7. Then, lift the weight back up by extending your elbows until your arms are fully extended.
  8. Perform 3–4 sets of 8–12 repetitions.


  • Keep your shoulders and upper arms fixed. All the movement should be in your elbows.
  • Don’t lock your elbows at the top.

6. Barbell JM Press

The JM press combines a close-grip bench press and a barbell skull crusher (triceps extension). It is a compound exercise that targets the triceps and works the chest and shoulder.

This exercise uniquely targets the medial head triceps by combining elements of a skull crusher (tricep extension) and a close grip bench press.

Barbell JM press

How To Do It

  1. Lie on a flat bench with a barbell, similar to the starting position for a bench press.
  2. Grasp the barbell closer than shoulder-width apart with your hands and your thumbs wrapped around the bar.
  3. Lower the bar towards your chin or upper chest by simultaneously bending your elbows.
  4. Unlike a standard bench press, the elbows should move both downwards and backward.
  5. As the bar descends, it should move in a semi-circular path.
  6. From the lowest point, exhale as you press the barbell back up to the starting position.


  • This exercise requires practice. Start light and increase weight as you master proper form.
  • Keep your elbows high and approximately 45 degrees out to your sides.
  • Prevent your elbows from flaring out to maintain proper form.

7. Reverse Grip Press

When you do this exercise, you hold the barbell with your underhand (supinated) hand. This makes the medial head tricep muscles work more than when you hold it with your overhand (pronated) hand.

This simple and highly effective shoulder-friendly pressing variation helps to build mass and strength in your triceps.

Reverse Grip Bench Press

How To Do It

  1. Lie flat on a bench-press bench with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. With your hands shoulder-width apart, grasp the barbell with an overhand grip.
  3. Unrack the bar and slowly lower it to your lower chest.
  4. At the bottom of the movement, your elbows should be a little lower than your shoulders.
  5. Press the bar back up to the starting position.


  • Using anything closer than a shoulder-width grip increases triceps involvement but can increase stress on the wrists.
  • Use a spotter if you’re new to weightlifting and this exercise.
  • Inhale slowly as you lower the bar to your chest, and exhale during the push upward.

8. Close-Grip Bench Press

The close grip bench press is an often overlooked but incredibly effective exercise targeting chest and tricep muscles. 

Unlike the traditional bench press, which primarily targets the chest muscles, the close grip version focuses more on the medial head triceps.

Close-Grip Bench Press

How To Do It

  1. Lie flat on a bench-press bench with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Grip the barbell with your hands placed closer than shoulder-width apart.
  3. Unrack the bar and hold it directly above your chest.
  4. Lower the bar until it touches your chest just below your nipple line.
  5. At the bottom of the movement, your elbows should be lower than your shoulders.
  6. Press the bar back up to the starting position.
  7. Once you’ve completed your set, carefully return the bar to the rack.


  • Ensure the grip is tight, and the wrists are straight.
  • Keep your elbows at about a 45-degree angle relative to your torso.
  • Perform the exercise using a slow and controlled movement.

9. Reverse-Grip Triceps Pushdown

The reverse-grip tricep is one of the best medial head triceps exercises. It is a variation of the straight bar tricep pushdown.

Taking an underhand grip can minimize the involvement of the forearms and help to place less stress on the elbows.

Reverse-Grip Triceps Pushdown

How To Do It

  1. Stand facing a high-pulley cable with a short straight bar attached to it.
  2. Slightly bend your knees, and your feet should be about shoulder-width apart.
  3. Grasp the short bar with a supinated grip (Palm up) and hold the bar at chest level with your elbows tight against your sides.
  4. Keeping your elbows stationary, straighten your arms until they are fully extended.
  5. Pause at full arm extension, flex your triceps, and slowly return the bar to the starting position.


  • Don’t lock the elbows entirely if you want to keep more tension in the triceps.
  • Prevent your elbows from flaring out to maintain proper form.
  • Focus on keeping your back straight and your chest high. 

10. Rope Triceps Extension

The rope tricep extension is another great exercise for your tricep workout for the medial head.

It is a variation of the cable tricep extension exercise. This exercise is used to build the muscles of the triceps.

Well-built triceps also have numerous positive carryovers into your pressing movements, such as bench press variations and shoulder press variations.

Rope Triceps Extension

How To Do It

  1. Keep feet shoulder-width apart, and face a high pulley machine enabled with a rope attachment.
  2. Grasp the ends of the rope so that your palms face inward and your elbows are by your waist.
  3. Keep your body still and breathe out slowly as you lower the rope by extending your arms straight down by your sides.
  4. Hold for a moment and then inhale as you slowly return the rope to the starting position.


  • Use only your forearms as you raise and lower the rope.
  • Standing upright with the spine straight is the standard position.
  • Contract your triceps as you lower the rope.

11. Bench Dip

A bench dip is a medium-intensity exercise that uses your body weight to strengthen your triceps. It is a great way to train the medial and outer heads of the tricep. 

Bench dips are fairly simple to learn and can be done almost anywhere, making them a great exercise for home-workout.

Bench Dip

How To Do Bench Dip

  1. Place your hands on the side of a flat bench so that your body is perpendicular to the bench when you place your feet out in front of you.
  2. Only your heels should be on the floor and your legs should be straight. Keep your knees and hips bent.
  3. Your arms should be fully extended, with just your palms on the bench.
  4. Bend your elbows to lower your body down until your elbows reach 90 degrees.
  5. Now, extend your arms to lift your body back to the starting position, flexing your triceps hard at the top.


  • Really squeeze the triceps at the top of the movement to get the most out of this exercise.
  • Do not dip down too low, as it places unnecessary strain on the shoulder joints.
Know More: Bench Dips Exercises: Muscle Worked, Form, Variation

12. Diamond Push-Ups

If you’re looking for a good bodyweight exercise to train and work your medial tricep, then diamond push-ups are it.

Diamond or triangle push-ups are a more advanced variation of the classic push-ups.

During it, your hands and forefingers are brought together almost directly under the chest to make a diamond or triangular configuration.

Diamond Push Ups

How To Do Diamond Push-Ups

  1. Get on the floor with your hands together under your chest.
  2. Position your index fingers and thumbs so they’re touching, creating a diamond shape.
  3. Now, extend your arms to elevate your body and form a straight line from your head to your feet.
  4. Lower your chest towards your hands, ensuring you don’t flare your elbows to the sides, and keep your back flat.
  5. Stop just before your chest touches the floor, then push back up to the starting position.


  • Keep your body straight and rigid.
  • To make the diamond push-up easier, do it on your knees.
Related Post: 15 Bodyweight Triceps Exercises: Beginner To Advanced

Medial Head Triceps Workout Samples

Of course, the number of sets and reps will be determined based on your fitness journey, but here is a great starting point:

  • Beginners: ~10 sets per week.
  • Intermediate: ~15 sets per week.
  • Advanced: ~20 sets per week.

Beginner Workout Plan

Bench Dip410-15
Reverse-Grip Triceps Pushdown310-15
Rope Triceps Extension310-15

Dumbbell Only Medial Head Tricep Workout

Diamond Push-Ups48-12
Dumbbell Triceps Extension310-15
Close-Grip Dumbbell Press38-12
Dumbbell Kick Back310-15

Workout #3 Sample

JM Presses46-8
Dumbbell Close Grip Tricep Press48-10
Reverse Grip Press310-12
Cable Concentration Extensions38-12

Benefits Of Strengthening the Medial Head Of The Triceps

Here are some of the benefits of strengthening your medial head of triceps:

  • It helps create the horseshoe muscle aesthetic. You can achieve a more defined and toned tricep.
  • Focusing on the medial head of the tricep helps create muscle balance and prevent imbalances that can lead to injury.
  • Increases endurance for compound exercises.
  • Strong tricep muscles are also essential for arm strength and function.
  • Improve your performance during heavy weightlifting and bodyweight exercises.
  • The medial head acts as a bridge between the two heads. A stronger medial head generally leads to a stronger lateral and long head or triceps.


How do you stretch the medial head of the tricep?

Stretching the tricep’s medial head can help increase flexibility and range of motion, reduce muscle tension and soreness, and improve posture. Here are a few stretches that can target the medial head of the tricep:

1. Cross-body tricep stretch

  • Stand with your arms straight out at shoulder height,
  • Then, cross your right arm over your chest and use your left hand to hold your right elbow.
  • Gently press your right elbow towards your chest.
  • Hold the stretch for 15–30 seconds, repeat on the other side.

2. Tricep stretch

  • Stand with your arm straight out behind you,
  • Then, use your other hand to press your elbow gently toward your head.
  • Hold the stretch for 15–30 seconds, repeat on the other side.

3. Doorway tricep stretch

  • Stand in a doorway and place one arm on the door frame above your head.
  • Gently lean forward, keeping your elbow close to your head.
  • Hold the stretch for 15–30 seconds, repeat on the other side.

4. Tricep stretch with a towel

  • Hold a towel behind your back, with one end in each hand.
  • Slowly raise your arms and lift the towel behind your head while keeping your elbows close to your head.
  • Hold the stretch for 15–30 seconds.

Remember to breathe deeply and avoid bouncing during the stretch, which can cause muscle strain.

How can I work my tricep medial head at home?

It is possible to work out your tricep medial head at home by using bodyweight exercises or minimal equipment.

Here are some exercises that you can do at home to target the medial head of the tricep:

  1. Diamond Push-ups
  2. Tricep Dips: T
  3. Tricep Kickbacks with bottles.
  4. Bodyweight overhead extension

Where is the medial head of the triceps?

The triceps muscle is located on the back of the upper arm and comprises three heads: the lateral head, the medial head, and the long head.

The medial head is located on the inner portion of the tricep, closest to the body’s midline.

It is responsible for elbow extension and helps stabilize the shoulder joint during exercises.

What tricep exercise hits all three heads?

The triceps muscle comprises three heads: the lateral head, the medial head, and the long head.

To hit all three heads of the triceps muscle, it’s important to include exercises that target all three heads simultaneously.

Here are a few exercises that can hit all three heads of the triceps:

  1. Close-Grip Bench Press
  2. Dips
  3. Skull Crushers
  4. Kickbacks


Training the medial head tricep is important for building a bigger and stronger tricep.

Now, we have many exercises to train the medial head of the tricep, such as the close-grip bench press, dips, cable reverse grip pushdowns, and lying triceps extension.

It’s important to choose exercises that work well with your workout routine and your body’s needs.

Remember to aim for at least one triceps workout a week for optimal results.

Please let me know in the comments if you have any questions I can help you with.


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