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Arms become key players in any great physique. Often the biceps become the focus of a lifter’s workout, but if you want to maximize your upper arm size and contours, you can’t afford to neglect the triceps brachii. This muscle group makes up almost two-thirds of the upper arm girth, with the biceps playing a much smaller role in determining overall arm size. The triceps is also critically important in sports like football, many track and field events and most activities that demand pushing. Thus, you’ll have added benefits other than possessing a great-looking arm if you invest some time in working the triceps.

Although all regions of the triceps must be developed to ensure optimal symmetry, the inner region of this muscle is the largest component, and its development is crucial to possessing large arms that can be viewed from any angle. Thus, doing a specializing exercise for the inner triceps is important if your goal is to maximize your triceps development and strength.

Muscle Structure and Function

The triceps derived its name because it has three clear heads (tri=three; ceps=heads). Although there’s been a report suggesting that the triceps may have a fourth head, this idea hasn’t caused anyone to rewrite the anatomy textbooks just yet.

The fibers of the triceps 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). 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 that 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 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 lies between the other two heads of the triceps. It attaches to two-thirds of the upper and posterior part of the humerus bone. The medial head is a rather thick muscle farther up the arm toward the shoulder. It provides enormous depth to the top part of the horseshoe-shaped muscle, which becomes apparent when the elbow joint is straightened.

Seated One-Arm Dumbbell Extensions

The arm position of this exercise makes it great for hammering the long (inner) head of the triceps brachii. 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 to the scapula of the shoulder joint. Because the long head is more fully activated in a stretched position, it provides a greater mechanical contribution to the exercise than either the lateral or medial heads of the triceps.

1. Although the exercise can be done standing, it’s preferable to sit on a chair that supports your lower back. This reduces the probability of obtaining back injury or losing your balance during the part of the exercise when the dumbbell is over your head. 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 during the exercise.

2. Sit comfortably on a bench that has a short, vertical back and press your lower back firmly into the back support. Grasp the dumbbell with a semi-pronated position (palm facing the side of the thigh). Lift the dumbbell over your head as if you were going to do a one-arm dumbbell press.

3. Move the upper arm close to the side of your head and keep it perpendicular to the floor. Bend (flex) the elbow and control the weight as it’s lowered behind your head and neck. The elbow should point forward and upward as the weight is lowered. Don’t let your upper arm and elbow swing out to the side or drop downward as you’re lowering the weight. The tension on the long head of the triceps brachii will be reduced if you don’t keep the upper arm in the proper position.

4. Continue to lower the dumbbell until one end either barely makes contact with the trapezius muscle of the upper back, or your arm or elbow flexibility prevents you from lowering the weight farther. Don’t use your trapezius or neck as a trampoline to get the weight moving again, as this could result in serious neck injury and pain. Because you’re 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. A spotter can be a valuable resource during the latter part of each heavy set.

5. Finally, extend your forearm (straighten your elbow) toward the starting position, but stop just short of being fully straight.

After several weeks you might want to add a few forced reps to the final two sets. Your spotter can help you get two to three repetitions after you fail on the way up. However, if you can’t 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’re using a spotter. Make sure you have a competent training partner who will prevent the dumbbell from hitting your neck or head as he helps it move upward. However, don’t go crazy with forced reps on this exercise; you don’t need them on every set.

You should avoid locking out your elbows after each repetition. Preventing the lockout will maintain the resistance on the triceps, rather than transmitting the load through the bones and unloading the triceps. Also, lockouts are rather nasty for the elbow joints, because if they’re done particularly forcefully, the elbows will “ram” the head of the ulna bone (olecranon process) into its fossa on the humerus, and this powerfully compresses the bursa protecting this joint. This may not immediately cause you any major problems, but continued lockouts, especially if they’re done explosively, will likely result in you having 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. The activation of the long head of the triceps will be improved if the elbows are kept closer to the head, but it will also be a harder exercise than if the elbows move away from the side of the head. Thus, don’t let the elbows come forward (e.g., so your elbow is in front of your nose), or you’ll reduce the stretch on the long head and transfer much of the work to the medial or lateral heads of the triceps.

It’s important to use sufficient resistance in this 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 dumbbell crashing 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’ll feel the fibers stretch and strain on each rep as if they’re about to explode. The heavy weights will ensure that the long head contributes substantially to building mass in the triceps brachii muscle. In contrast, light weights tend to recruit the medial and lateral heads to a greater degree than the long head. Therefore, if you’ve been training your triceps with only medium or light weights, chances are your long head will be underdeveloped. Heavier one-arm dumbbell extensions provide a great tool for overcoming this deficit. Nevertheless, warm up the elbows with a couple of light sets before hitting the heavy stuff. The one-arm dumbbell extension is simple enough to perform, but it’s definitely not easy.

Success will never reach those who only think of training hard. So, if you’re someone who’s determined to be successful and you’re persistent and consistent, you can have larger and stronger arms by spring. Your “inner” long head of the triceps will explode with new growth and strength if you faithfully assault your arms with one-arm dumbbell extensions for only few months. Imagine the possibilities of training after a few years!


1. Bilodeau M. Central fatigue in continuous and intermittent contractions of triceps brachii. Muscle Nerve, 34: 205-213, 2006.

2. Bottas R, Linnamo V, Nicol C and Komi PV. Repeated maximal eccentric actions causes long-lasting disturbances in movement control. Eur J Appl Physiol, 94: 62-69, 2005.

3. Costantino C, Vaienti E and Pogliacomi F. Evaluation of the peak torque, total work, average power of flexor-estensor and prono-supinator muscles of the elbow in baseball players. Acta Biomed Ateneo Parmense, 74: 88-92, 2003.

4. Linnamo V, Strojnik V and Komi PV. Maximal force during eccentric and isometric actions at different elbow angles. Eur J Appl Physiol, 96: 672-678, 2006.

5. Page C, Backus SI and Lenhoff MW. Electromyographic activity in stiff and normal elbows during elbow flexion and extension. J Hand Ther, 16: 5-11, 2003.

6. Standring, Susan, Gray’s Anatomy text, 39th edition, CV Mosby, Churchill Livingstone, 2005, ISBN: 0443071683

7. Terzis G, Stattin B and Holmberg HC. Upper body training and the triceps brachii muscle of elite cross-country skiers. Scand J Med Sci Sports, 16: 121-126, 2006.

8. Tubbs RS, Salter EG and Oakes WJ. Triceps brachii muscle demonstrating a fourth head. Clin Anat, 19: 657-660, 2006.

The post Want Bigger Arms? Build Bigger Triceps appeared first on FitnessRX for Men.

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By: Stephen E. Alway, Ph.D., FACSM
Title: Want Bigger Arms? Build Bigger Triceps
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Published Date: Wed, 08 Mar 2023 17:07:01 +0000

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New Simulation Explains how Supermassive Black Holes Grew so Quickly

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One of the main scientific objectives of next-generation observatories (like the James Webb Space Telescope) has been to observe the first galaxies in the Universe – those that existed at Cosmic Dawn. This period is when the first stars, galaxies, and black holes in our Universe formed, roughly 50 million to 1 billion years after the Big Bang. By examining how these galaxies formed and evolved during the earliest cosmological periods, astronomers will have a complete picture of how the Universe has changed with time.

As addressed in previous articles, the results of Webb‘s most distant observations have turned up a few surprises. In addition to revealing that galaxies formed rapidly in the early Universe, astronomers also noticed these galaxies had particularly massive supermassive black holes (SMBH) at their centers. This was particularly confounding since, according to conventional models, these galaxies and black holes didn’t have enough time to form. In a recent study, a team led by Penn State astronomers has developed a model that could explain how SMBHs grew so quickly in the early Universe.

The research team was led by W. Niel Brandt, the Eberly Family Chair Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Penn State’s Eberly College of Science. Their research is described in two papers presented at the 244th meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS224), which took place from June 9th to June 13th in Madison, Wisconsin. Their first paper, “Mapping the Growth of Supermassive Black Holes as a Function of Galaxy Stellar Mass and Redshift,” appeared on March 29th in The Astrophysical Journal, while the second is pending publication. Fan Zou, an Eberly College graduate student, was the lead author of both papers.

Illustration of an active quasar. What role does its dark matter halo play in activating the quasar? Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser
Illustration of an active quasar. New research shows that SMBHs eat rapidly enough to trigger them. Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser

As they note in their papers, SMBHs grow through two main channels: by accreting cold gas from their host galaxy or merging with the SMBHs of other galaxies. When it comes to accretion, previous research has shown that a black hole’s accretion rate (BHAR) is strongly linked to its galaxy’s stellar mass and the redshift of its general stellar population. “Supermassive black holes in galaxy centers have millions-to-billions of times the mass of the Sun,” explained Zhou in a recent NASA press release. How do they become such monsters? This is a question that astronomers have been studying for decades, but it has been difficult to track all the ways black holes can grow reliably.”

For their research, the team relied on forefront X-ray sky survey data obtained by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, the ESA’s X-ray Multi-Mirror Mission-Newton (XMM-Newton), and the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics’ eROSITA telescope. They measured the accretion-driven growth in a sample of 8000 active galactic nuclei (AGNs) located in 1.3 million galaxies. This was combined with IllustrisTNG, a suite of state-of-the-art cosmological simulations that model galaxy formation, evolution, and mergers from Cosmic Dawn to the present. This combined approach has provided the best modeling to date of SMBH growth over the past 12 billion years. Said Brandt:

“During the process of consuming gas from their hosting galaxies, black holes radiate strong X-rays, and this is the key to tracking their growth by accretion. We measured the accretion-driven growth using X-ray sky survey data accumulated over more than 20 years from three of the most powerful X-ray facilities ever launched into space.

“In our hybrid approach, we combine the observed growth by accretion with the simulated growth through mergers to reproduce the growth history of supermassive black holes. With this new approach, we believe we have produced the most realistic picture of the growth of supermassive black holes up to the present day.”

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This still image shows the timeline running from the Big
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Girls5Eva’s Paula Pell Discusses Her ‘Very Dear Queer Fans,’ Which Woman Gloria is on the 178 Types of Women List

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Girls5Eva‘s Paula Pell tells Awards Daily her favorite comedic aside from Season 3, what the jump to Netflix has been like, and which type Gloria is on the 178 Types of Women list. Season 3 of Girls5Eva packs a lot into just six episodes. There’s hooking up with 178 types of women, rescuing animals in […]


By: Megan McLachlan
Title: Girls5Eva’s Paula Pell Discusses Her ‘Very Dear Queer Fans,’ Which Woman Gloria is on the 178 Types of Women List
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Published Date: Sun, 16 Jun 2024 20:50:32 +0000

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10 Tips for Taking Kids on Their First Backpacking Trip

Tet19 047 Me on Teton Crest Trail copy cropped 32

By Michael Lanza

Whether you’re a family of novices planning your first backpacking trip or an experienced backpacker ready to take your kids on their first multi-day hike, heed this friendly advice: You’re in for some surprises. And I speak from experience. I’d been backpacking for years—in fact, I was already working as a professional backpacker—when my wife (also a longtime backpacker) and I first dove into the grand new adventure of taking our young kids into the wilderness.

We learned a lot. But the biggest lesson was this: Our backcountry adventures brought us closer together as a family and helped mold our children into eager and skilled backpackers and confident young adults with a passion and appreciation for the outdoors—and who seize every chance to spend time with us (their parents!) outdoors (and indoors!).

This article shares lessons I learned while taking our kids on countless backpacking trips since they were quite little and over the course of the 10 years I spent as Northwest Editor of Backpacker magazine and even longer running this blog.

Tet19 047 Me on Teton Crest Trail copy cropped 33
Hi, I’m Michael Lanza, creator of The Big Outside. Click here to sign up for my FREE email newsletter. Join The Big Outside to get full access to all of my blog’s stories. Click here for my e-books to classic backpacking trips. Click here to learn how I can help you plan your next trip.

A young girl backpacking the High Sierra Trail above Hamilton Lakes, Sequoia National Park.
” data-image-caption=”My daughter, Alex, backpacking the High Sierra Trail above Hamilton Lakes, Sequoia National Park, which is also the lead photo at the top of this story.
” data-medium-file=”″ data-large-file=”″ src=”×680.jpg?resize=900%2C598&ssl=1″ alt=”A young girl backpacking the High Sierra Trail above Hamilton Lakes, Sequoia National Park.” class=”wp-image-45459″ srcset=” 1024w, 300w, 768w, 150w, 1200w” sizes=”(max-width: 900px) 100vw, 900px” data-recalc-dims=”1″ />My daughter, Alex, backpacking the High Sierra Trail above Hamilton Lakes, Sequoia National Park.

Follow the tips below to make your family backpacking trips a success and ensure that your kids want to go again and again. Like many stories at The Big Outside, much of this one is free for anyone to read but reading the entire story requires a paid subscription. If you’re already a subscriber, thank you for supporting my blog.

Please share your thoughts, questions, or your own tips in the comments section at the bottom of this story. I try to
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