Lingering tightness in your arms can not only be annoying but painful too. The good news is that a lot of the time, this tightness can be handled with a thorough and proper daily stretching routine. One muscle group you won’t want to forget about when doing your stretches is the tricep. Keep reading for one of our favorite stretches - the tricep stretch.
Your triceps are some of the most underrated muscles in your body. Located in the back of the upper arms region (under the biceps), your triceps are actually the largest muscles in your arms. The tricep muscles work in tandem with the bicep muscles to allow your arm optimal functionality through both extension and flexion.
The tricep is made up of three heads - the long head, the lateral head, and the medial head. They control your elbow’s straightening and extension, and lend their strength to any and all pushing movements.
The tricep also works to stabilize the elbow joint and shoulder joint when the arm and hand are doing activities. From performing the bench press, to doing a push-up, to opening a door, it’s always in your best interests to keep this triple-headed muscle group strong, flexible and pain-free.
As I’m sure you can imagine, athletes whose sport focuses on constant and repetitive arm extension such as tennis athletes, volleyball, football, baseball players, Olympic weightlifters, and the such commonly struggle with tricep injuries and tendonitis. Feeling pain in the tricep region or elbow is a common sign that an injury has occurred. Inflammation, redness, and tenderness are also indicators that the tendon may be irritated or injured.
Two injuries to the tricep that can occur are either tricep tendonitis or a tear in the tendon. If you can no longer extend your arm, this can also clue you in that an injury in the tricep may have occurred. If you do experience any of these issues, it’s important to seek professional medical care to determine the correct course of action. While proper and professional care is of utmost importance when dealing with injury, it can also be beneficial to eat whole foods and avoid an inflammatory diet to help in the healing process.
Like we said earlier, the tricep is the largest muscle in the arm. Many gym-goers perform tricep exercises regularly to increase overall arm girth because the muscle makes up ⅔ of the arm. That means it’s important to regularly stretch and care for the tricep muscle to prevent any pain or injury from happening. Stretching the tricep will help relieve any tension in the muscle. It can also help you increase your range of motion and increase blood flow to the area.
Stretching your triceps should be done either before or right after a workout session. It will not only increase mobility, but assist you in lifting heavier weights with a reduced chance of injury. Stretching will also diminish any feelings of tightness that may occur.
The Triceps Stretch is a fantastic movement to try, and the good news is you don’t need that much equipment to perform it. All you need is either a nice length of PVC pipe, broomstick, resistance band, or even a kitchen or bath towel to perform it. This stretch really is that simple. Try doing the tricep stretch 2-3 times per week, especially if you feel stiffness in this area or engage in sports that place heavy demands on the upper arms. Even if you’re not an athlete, moving through the tricep stretch a few times a week can really help fight off any tension or pain from everyday use.
The tricep stretch can be beneficial for anyone regardless of if you are an athlete or not. It’s so easy to perform that there’s really no excuse not to! The first thing you’ll need is just a little bit of free space in which to stand. Your feet will stay under your shoulders as you grip your chosen piece of equipment (PVC pipe, towel, broomstick, etc) with both hands. You’ll then take the piece of equipment behind your back, your right hand at the top with your thumb facing down and the other hand grabbing the equipment at the bottom near your low back. This position will help you stretch the tricep muscles in your right arm. Scroll down below to read the step-by-step guide of how to properly perform this stretch.
As always, we recommend using your breath as a guide when holding this stretch. You want to be able to breathe deeply and steadily as you hold this pose. If you are “cranking” into the stretch so much that you can’t properly breathe, we recommend pulling out of the pose a bit until you can find your breath again.
Find a piece of PVC piping, broom handle, or any other long piece of material about 3-4 feet in length.
Stand up straight with your neck and spine erect and your feet shoulder-width apart.
Grab the length of pipe at the bottom then flip it upside down behind your head so your hand is now at the top, your thumb facing down towards the floor and the pipe is now pointing straight down the length of your spine. Your elbow should be bent and pointed up towards the ceiling.
Now take your other free hand and with the top of your hand facing towards your lower back, grab the bottom of the pipe.
Using both hands, lift the pipe in a straight up and down motion along the length of your spine. You should feel a good burn in your tricep region.
Reverse the position for both your hands and repeat the same movement.