The Rack Athletic Performance Center

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Points of Flexion - TRICEPS

April 16, 2018

Last article, I introduced you to points of flexion training. The example I gave was for the biceps exercises and now to round out those summer guns, I want to give you triceps examples as well. To fully understand how to maximize points of flexion training for the triceps, we first need to understand the anatomy of the elbow extensors: medial, lateral and long heads of the triceps brachii, and a synergistic muscle called the anconeus.  The ancones’ involvement is limited, but it is involved. As it crosses the elbow joint, the anconeous is involved in all forms of elbow extension.


The points of flexion concept for triceps is the same as its counterpart: train the muscles in its maximally lengthened position (elbows over your head), through the mid range (skull crushers, bench press), and maximally shortened (rope pressdowns, dips).  Training the triceps in this manner effectively hits the elbow extensors through its entire range of motion.


Exercises like the Unsupported Overhead Extension (shown in the picture) place a greater emphasis on the long head of the triceps.  The long head is the only of three heads of the triceps brachii that actually attaches on the scapulae. When the elbows are over-head, or high in relation to the shoulder joint, the long head of the triceps works harder than the other two.


When the arms are positioned perpendicular to the torso, the medial head is placed under a greater amount of stress.  However, you can place more stress on the lateral head in this position by pronating your grip at the end of elbow extension.

Positioning the elbows by your side, in the shortened position, will place a greater emphasis on the lateral head.  Since, much like biceps, the triceps brachii all cross the elbow joint, changing your grip position, like the pronating mentioned earlier, can impact the point of emphasis during the exercises you select.


Here’s a sample workout for you to try next time you’re looking to smash your arms:

A1) Dips 3x 8-10, 3110, rest 10 seconds

A2) Flat Extension, w/DBs, 3x 10-12, 3110, rest 10 seconds

A3) Seated Overhead Extension w/ez bar, 3x 12-15, 2110, rest 2 mins




Photos: Devalier, Frederic (2010).  Strength Training Anatomy


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