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Well-contoured, muscular arms are not made overnight. However, they will grow with hard and consistent work using heavy, simple, basic exercises because the arms respond best to this type of stimulation. If you want to stretch the tape measure a bit, you cannot neglect the triceps brachii, because it makes up two-thirds of the upper arm girth. Larger triceps can be built without fancy or specialized machines as long as you’re persistent and willing to exert an all-out effort in every set. Although all regions of the triceps must be developed to ensure symmetry, the inner region of this muscle is the largest component of the triceps brachii and its development is crucial to possessing great-looking arms. The triceps is also critically important in sports like football, many track and field events and most activities that demand pushing as part of the activity.

Muscles Activated

The triceps has three heads (tri=three; ceps = heads) with fibers that attach to a single triceps tendon that crosses the elbow joint posteriorly. The tendon anchors to the olecranon on the ulna bone (the olecranon makes up the point of the elbow). Contraction of the triceps brachii muscle primarily extends the forearm at the elbow (straightens the elbow joint). Someone who has a relatively long triceps tendon will also have “peaked” triceps, but one with a short triceps muscle belly. The long head of the triceps brachii (or the “inner head”) begins on the scapula (shoulder blade) just below the head of the humerus at the shoulder joint. This muscle belly crosses the shoulder joint posteriorly, so the arm must be moved into shoulder flexion (i.e., arms and elbows lifted high over your head) if you want to fully activate the long head of the triceps. The lateral head of the triceps brachii creates the outside (lateral) boundary of triceps. Its fibers run from a small section of bone on the posterior part of the humerus (upper arm bone) starting about one-third of the way down the humerus bone from the shoulder. The medial head of the triceps brachii is deeper and between the other two heads of the triceps. It attaches to two-thirds of the upper and posterior part of the humerus bone. This is a thick muscle further up the arm toward the shoulder and it provides enormous depth to the top part of the horseshoe-shaped muscle that becomes apparent when the elbow joint is straightened.

Seated EZ French Presses

The arm position of the French press makes this a great exercise for the long (inner) head of the triceps. The shoulder joint is flexed with the arm and forearm directly above the shoulder. This stretches the long head of the triceps because it’s attached on the scapula of the shoulder joint. Since in this exercise the long head contracts in a stretched position, it’s more fully activated than either the lateral or medial heads of the triceps and this places the emphasis of the exercise on the long head of the triceps.

1. Although the exercise can be done standing, it’s preferable to sit on a bench that supports your lower back. This reduces the probability of experiencing back injury during the extension phase, or losing your balance during the exercise. The seated version also allows you to direct more of your concentration to the long head of the triceps rather than working on maintaining body stability. If possible, position the chair in front of a mirror so you can see the triceps muscles working and you can monitor your exercise form.

2. The EZ bar is a good selection for this exercise because it places the hands at an angle that stresses the wrists less and provides a more direct line for contraction than a straight bar. However, you may choose to do the exercise with a straight bar.

3. Sit comfortably on a bench that has a short vertical back and press your lower back firmly into the back support. Grasp the EZ bar with your palms facing away from your torso. Lift the bar from the floor and over your head as if you were going to do a barbell shoulder press (but of course, the grip will be narrower than you would choose for a barbell press). The EZ bar will also move your hands from a direct prone to a slightly less prone (slightly toward supination) position.

4. Keep your upper arms (humerus bones) perpendicular to the floor as you bend (flex) the elbow and control the descent of the weight so the bar travels in a trajectory behind your head and neck. Your elbows should point forward and upward; do not let them swing out to the side or drop downward as you are lowering the weight. Otherwise, the tension on the long head of the triceps brachii will be reduced.

5. Continue to lower the weight until it or your hands either barely make contact with the trapezius muscle of the upper back, or you simply cannot lower the weight further without moving your elbows. Do not use your trapezius or neck as a trampoline to get the weight moving again because this could result in serious neck injury and pain. Because you are working close to your head and with the weight over your head, at least part of the time, you need to be very careful, especially as fatigue sets in. It’s a great idea to get a spotter to stand behind you and help keep the weight moving if you get stuck.

6. Finally, extend your forearms (straightening your elbows) toward the starting position, but stop just short of being straight.

7. After several weeks you might want to add a few forced reps to the final two or three sets. Your spotter can help you get two to three repetitions after you fail on the way up. However, if you cannot control the weight during the descent toward your upper back, it’s time to stop and/or switch to a lower resistance, even if you are using a spotter. Make sure you have a competent training partner who will prevent the bar from hitting your neck or head as he helps the bar upward.

Training Tips


Locking your elbows out after each repetition will complete two undesirable events. First, this will reduce the stress to the triceps because it allows the resistance to travel through the bones. The second dilemma is that fully straightening your elbows will “ram” the head of the ulna bone (olecranon process) into its fossa on the humerus and this forcibly compresses the bursa protecting this joint. That is not likely to cause you any problems for a while, but continued lockouts, especially if they are done explosively, will likely result in sore elbows and bursitis (swelling of the elbow bursa).

You can get a good stretch of the long head of the triceps muscle if you slowly lower the weight behind your head as far as possible. While the medial head will not be affected very much by elbow (and therefore shoulder) position, the effectiveness of the activation of the lateral head will be improved if your elbows are kept closer to your head. (It will also be a harder exercise than if your elbows move away from the side of your head). Do not let your elbows come forward (e.g., so that your elbow is in front of your nose) or you will reduce the stretch on the long head and transfer much of the work to the medial head of the triceps.

It’s important to use sufficient resistance in the exercise, and you should be able to work up to some pretty hefty loads, but do so safely. Keep your exercise form perfect; otherwise you may find the bar crumbling down on your head and neck. On the other hand, if you have a full stretch and proper arm position and a heavy enough weight, you will feel the fibers stretch and strain on each rep as if they are about to explode. But as you know, the improvement in muscle mass will really come about as you rest, and that will be the result of adding new protein to each fiber that had been forced to endure each grueling contraction. The heavy weights will ensure that the long head contributes substantially to the lift and it will improve its effectiveness.

In contrast, light weights tend to recruit the medial and lateral heads to a greater degree than the long head. Therefore, if you have been training your triceps with only medium or light weights, the chances are that your long head will be under-developed.  Heavy EZ French presses are a great way to overcome this deficit. Nevertheless, warm up your elbows with a couple of light sets before hitting the heavy stuff. The EZ French press is simple enough to perform, but it’s definitely not easy. Persistence in EZ French presses will cause your inner long head of the triceps to reveal new growth, moving you ever closer to owning hard and thick triceps.


Brechue WF and Abe T. The role of FFM accumulation and skeletal muscle architecture in powerlifting performance. Eur J Appl Physiol, 86: 327-336, 2002.

Eiserloh H, Drez D, Jr. and Guanche CA. The long head of the triceps: a detailed analysis of its capsular origin. J Shoulder Elbow Surg, 9: 332-335, 2000.

Gearhart RF Jr, Goss F L, Lagally KM, Jakicic JM, Gallagher J, Gallagher KI and Robertson RJ. Ratings of perceived exertion in active muscle during high-intensity and low-intensity resistance exercise. J Strength Cond Res, 16, 87-91, 2000.

Terzis G, Georgiadis G, Vassiliadou E and Manta P. Relationship between shot put performance and triceps brachii fiber type composition and power production. Eur J Appl Physiol, 2003.

Zhang LQ and Nuber GW. Moment distribution among human elbow extensor muscles during isometric and submaximal extension. J Biomech, 33: 145-154, 2000.

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By: Stephen E. Alway, Ph.D., FACSM
Title: Muscular Arms Start With Bigger Triceps
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Published Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2021 20:06:37 +0000

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Ripped Leg Blast for Carved Thighs



Powerful and thick thighs require gut-busting exercises like squats and leg presses. However, once you have acquired adequate thigh mass and strength, you should consider adding some balance and sharpness to the muscle bellies in your thighs. Although tough to accomplish, leg extensions provide a great way to carve the separations between the muscle bellies, and to accentuate the “teardrop” shape of the four quadriceps muscles of the anterior thigh.

Active Muscles in Leg Extensions

The three vasti muscles comprise most of the anterior thigh.1 The vastus medialis covers the medial (inner) part of the femur bone (thigh bone). When it is well developed, it forms a teardrop-like shape over the medial side of the knee joint. The vastus lateralis muscle attaches to the lateral (outer) part of the femur bone. The vastus intermedius connects to the femur bone between the vastus lateralis and the vastus medialis muscles. The fibers of all three vasti muscles come together at the quadriceps tendon, which crosses the patella (kneecap) to attach to the tibia bone just below the knee.1

Together, the three vasti muscles extend the leg at the knee joint, although the vastus intermedius may be more fatigue resistant than the vastus lateralis.2 The vastus medialis oblique (VMO), which is a small part of the vastus medialis muscle, attaches to the medial part of the patella. It is thought to help the patella track properly during movement of the knee. Improper tracking can increase the likelihood for knee injury.

The vastus medialis and especially the VMO part of this muscle are primarily responsible for tibial rotation (rotation of the tibia bone of the lower leg on the femur) during knee extension. This rotation or “twist” has been shown to increase the activation of the VMO portion of the vastus lateralis even more than doing knee extensions with the hip adducted (thigh rotated so that the medial portion of the knee is facing mostly upwards).3 Dorsiflexion of the foot (moving the ankles so the toes are pointing towards your head) also increases the activation of the VMO by more than 20 percent.4 Likely this is because the dorsiflexor muscles stabilize the tibia during knee flexion and resist rotation of the tibia on the femur as the knee straightens.

The fourth muscle of the quadriceps group is the rectus femoris muscle. It attaches to the anterior part of the hip bone just above the hip joint.1 The largest bulk of the muscle fibers are located on the upper three-quarters of the thigh, whereas the largest belly of the vastus medialis and vastus lateralis are more inferior (i.e., closer to the knee). The distal end of the rectus femoris muscle becomes tendinous and it creates a deep valley between the lateral and medial vastus muscles as it approaches the knee.1 It assists the other quadriceps muscles by extending the leg at the knee joint, although it is less effective when the hip is flexed than if it is straight.

Leg Extensions

The three vastus muscles of the anterior thigh are strongly activated by single-leg knee extensions. The rectus femoris is not activated as strongly, but it does undergo some overload when the anterior thigh is under contractile effort, about halfway up to the top of each repetition.

1. You should always warm up your knees with some stationary cycling prior to getting into leg extensions. Furthermore, the resistance on your first set should be fairly light to allow the joint to fully warm up before you get to the heavier stuff.

2. Adjust the knee extension machine so that the pivot point of the lifting arm is directly adjacent to the center of the side of your knee joint.

3. Position the ankle roller/leg pad over the lower part of the leg (above the ankle joint).

4. Take about three seconds to slowly extend (straighten) both leg so that the weight is lifted upward from the stack.

5. Continue upwards until the tibia and the femur bones form a straight line and the knee angle is straight. Hold this for two seconds at the top.

6. Slowly lower the weight (about four seconds down) towards the starting position. Once the knee has reached 90 degrees, start the upwards extension phase again. Continue for 12-15 repetitions for the first set. Lower the number of repetitions but increase the resistance for subsequent sets.

7. On the next sets, lift the weight upwards until the knee joint becomes almost straight, but just slightly short of a total knee lockout. Be careful that you do not “jam” the knee joint into a fully locked out position, because this could cause knee cartilage damage5, especially with heavy weights. Hold the top position for a count of three before lowering the weight.

8. Lower the weight slowly (four to five seconds) towards the starting position where your knee is flexed to 90 degrees. Just before the weight stack contacts the remaining plates at the bottom, start lifting it upward for the next repetition.

The downward movement should be slower than the upward phase because you are resisting the pull of gravity. The slow lowering of the weight stretches the muscle under a resistance and this is a great stimulus to improve muscle shape and size.6

Make sure that you do not hold your breath during the lift upwards.7 Rather take a breath at the bottom (start) of the lift, and exhale as you extend the knees/legs. Take another breath at the top and slowly exhale as the weight is lowered. Take another breath at the bottom and repeat the sequence.

This is a mechanically simply exercise, but it really can be very challenging and blood depriving8,9, especially if you try to control the weight as it is moving up and down. However, if you are willing to work through some discomfort, you will be soon enjoying your new shape and slabs of carved thighs.

GettyImages 674163248 600


1. Moore K.L. Clinically Orientated Anatomy. Third Edition. Williams & Willkins, Baltimore, 1995; pp 373-500.

2. Watanabe K, Akima H. Neuromuscular activation of vastus intermedius muscle during fatiguing exercise. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 2010;20:661-666.

3. Stoutenberg M, Pluchino AP, Ma F et al. The impact of foot position on electromyographical activity of the superficial quadriceps muscles during leg extension. J Strength Cond Res 2005;19:931-938.

4. Coburn JW, Housh TJ, Cramer JT et al. Mechanomyographic and electromyographic responses of the vastus medialis muscle during isometric and concentric muscle actions. J Strength Cond Res 2005; 19:412-420.

5. Senter C, Hame SL. Biomechanical analysis of tibial torque and knee flexion angle: implications for understanding knee injury. Sports Med 2006;36:635-641.

6. Alway SE, Winchester PK, Davis ME et al. Regionalized adaptations and muscle fiber proliferation in stretch- induced enlargement. J Appl Physiol 1989;66:771-781.

7. Garber CE, Blissmer B, Deschenes MR et al. American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal, and neuromotor fitness in apparently healthy adults: guidance for prescribing exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2011;43:1334-1359.

8. Denis R, Bringard A, Perrey S. Vastus lateralis oxygenation dynamics during maximal fatiguing concentric and eccentric isokinetic muscle actions. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 2011;21:276-282.

9. Ueda C, Kagaya A. Muscle reoxygenation difference between superficial and deep regions of the muscles during static knee extension. Adv Exp Med Biol 2010;662:329-334.

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By: Stephen E. Alway, Ph.D., FACSM
Title: Ripped Leg Blast for Carved Thighs
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Published Date: Mon, 25 Jul 2022 19:11:16 +0000

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PRIMAL Preworkout



Training hard and intensely is the only way to train – you can’t step into the gym in low gear or
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A Better Pump

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How to Use PRIMAL
30 minutes prior to training, consume 2 rounded scoops (20.3g) with 8-12 oz of water or your
favorite beverage. Users that are sensitive to stimulants should start off with 1 rounded scoop
(10.1g) to assess tolerance.

PRIMAL Preworkout

• Enhances energy and endurance†
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• Contains AstraGin ® to support nutrient uptake†
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• Absorption and nutrient enhancers
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PRIMAL is a pre-workout that will power your performance and enable you to crush it every time you train.

For additional information, visit
†These statements have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This product is not
intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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By: Team FitRx
Title: PRIMAL Preworkout
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Published Date: Thu, 21 Jul 2022 16:51:41 +0000

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