Triceps, isolation or function?

All too often, a personal trainer or instructor will isolate a particular muscle so much that it becomes detrimental to the workout. You may be asking, “How can you isolate a muscle too much? Isn’t that what all the magazines say to do?” Yes, that is what a lot of magazines tell you to do, and I agree it’s good to isolate the muscle being worked. I’ll even go one step further and say that it is not only good but also absolutely necessary for optimum muscular growth. However, many instructors and fitness enthusiasts are so concerned with isolation exercises that they’re neglecting form and function.

How does form and function relate to triceps training? Let’s look at what the triceps actually do. The triceps extend, or straighten, the arm. For example, without your triceps it would be virtually impossible to grab a beer from the fridge. That would truly be a tragedy. Without triceps, your arm would be in a constant flexed state. This having been said, exercises that stress movement only at the elbow (such as triceps pressdowns) are solid movements. However, I am starting to see less and less multi-joint movements used in workouts. Examples of multi-joint movements for the triceps would be close grip bench presses, dips and a few others. These exercises involve not only the elbow joint but the shoulder joint as well.

9 Weeks to Bigger Arms

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