A new study suggests that upper triceps extensions build more muscle than push-ups

In addition to helping you move the weight on bench press And the military pressfor you triceps It represents about two-thirds of the mass in the upper part of your arm. And if you want to start pushing the limits of your shirt sleeves, triceps training is a must.

If size is the prize you’re looking for, a new study has been published in European Journal of Sports Science on 12 July 2022 (1), it is suggested that You may want to choose upper triceps extensions cable pressure To maximize your growth.

A shirtless bodybuilder doing an upper triceps extension.
Agan Allen/Shutterstock

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Upper triceps extensions vs push-ups for muscle growth

The study was conducted by researchers from Ritsumeikan University and the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Japan. It included 21 participants – 14 men and seven 23-year-old women – who performed overhead extensions and triceps extensions on separate arms using cable machine. Participants performed each exercise for five sets of 10 reps after a short warm-up, and participated in these exercises twice a week on non-consecutive days for 12 weeks. Each week, the weight increases for each exercise.

To correctly compare the results, the participants had Maximum one actor tested For each exercise, their arm mass was measured using MRI at the beginning and end of the study. Once 12 weeks had passed, researchers found that participants get stronger with each exercise but that There was about a 1.4-fold (or 40%) increase in triceps muscle growth In the arms that lead to an upper extension compared to the compression units. This happened even though overhead extensions usually involve a lighter weight.

What does the study say?

According to researchers, one possible reason for Increase muscle mass is that the long head of the triceps muscle (triceps brachii) is lengthened more during upper extension. This means that the participants saw More tension One of the stretches though is to use a lighter weight during the exercise.

A longer range of motion is not the only possible explanation for an increase in mass. The researchers wrote that the decrease in blood flow To the triceps during overhead extension can “increase and enhance metabolic stress within the muscle.” Enlargement of the cells. “

[Related: 3 Triceps Training Rules For Every Workout]

In short, this is not entirely clear Why There was more growth.

It’s important to note that this small study found that overhead extensions helped promote muscle growth compared to push-ups, not that overhead extensions were the best exercise for the triceps overall. And the There is no evidence to suggest that overhead extensions And the Triceps can’t be part of your routine. (Remember that both movements increased participants’ strength equally.)

How to do the upper triceps extension

To make sure you perform the upper triceps extension correctly, follow these guidelines:

  • The first step: Attach a rope to the low position of the cable pulley machine.
  • The second step: Choose a comfortable weight, grab the rope, and turn your body to face away from the machine. Take two steps forward until the cable is tight.
  • The third step: Your elbows should now be bent, and your hands should be behind your head. Your elbows should also be facing forward and upward.
  • The fourth step: Let your hands lower with control. Once you feel a stretch in your triceps, fully extend your elbows by bringing your hands up and over your head. Then slowly lower your hands behind your head again and repeat. Keep your elbows in the same position throughout the entire movement.

Check out our full guide on how to do it Upper triceps extensions.

More triceps training content

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  1. Maeo, Sumiaki & Wu, Yuhang & Huang, Meng & Sakurai, Hikaru & Kusagawa, Yuki & Sugiyama, Takashi & Kanehisa, Hiroaki & Isaka, and Tadao. (2022). The triceps brachioradialis is significantly greater after an elbow extension exercise performed in the overhead position versus the neutral arm position. European Journal of Sport Science. 1-26. 10.1080 / 17461391.2022.2100279.

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