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7 Lateral Head Triceps Exercises [At-Home Workout]

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an extended man's arm with a tattoo, triceps muscles highlighted, lateral head triceps exercises
Kris Gethin post Reviewer Kris Gethin post Reviewer
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Professional Natural Bodybuilder, Transformation Trainer, IRONMAN triathlete, Co-founder of the Kris Gethin Gyms franchise

Find the most effective lateral head triceps exercises to obtain well-defined, toned, and strong arms PLUS tips to maximize your gains.

Table of Contents

The word “tri” means three, and as such, the triceps have three heads. You should work all three of them to get toned and perfectly sculpted arms, but you can target different parts of the triceps to build size and strength for a well-developed physique. 

In this article, we will focus in particular on the lateral head of the triceps, its anatomy, and which exercises you can do to target it. 

Anatomy of the Triceps and the Lateral Head Triceps

The triceps brachii, or triceps, are located on the back of the upper arm. The three muscles that make up the triceps create the characteristic horseshoe shape, given by the two heads on one side and one insertion on the other. 

The three heads are known as the medial, lateral, and long head of the triceps, which differ in size and location within the muscle. All three heads work together to extend both the elbow and the shoulder. [1]

The lateral head is the strongest of all three heads, and thanks to its position, it is the most visible one, too. Therefore, the lateral head of the triceps provides most of the aesthetics to this muscle and the overall shape of the arm. 

Can You Isolate the Triceps’ Lateral Head?

The lateral head of the triceps cannot be fully isolated as all the heads work together to extend the elbow. So you can totally perform a triceps workout and expect all heads of the tricep to be engaged. However, some exercises, grips, and postures emphasize the action of the lateral head more than others.

To emphasize the lateral head of your triceps, you want to focus on the following:

  • Neutral grips, with the palms facing in
  • Overhand grips or pronated grips, palms facing down
  • Keeping the elbows tucked in at the waist

7 Lateral Head Triceps Exercises for Your Upper-Body Workout

The triceps’ lateral head can be targeted with the following exercises:

Triceps Kickbacks

A man is performing lateral head tricep exercises using kettlebell tricep kickbacks.

Standing upright, grab a dumbbell with each hand. Hinge at the hips to bring the torso forward, then tuck your elbows in and hold the dumbbells up to your shoulders with the palms facing each other. Keeping your elbows tucked at the waist, extend the elbows to straighten the arms back, then bend them again to return to the starting position and complete the repetition. 

Bench Dips

A man is performing lateral head tricep exercises using bench dips.

Sit on the long side of a bench, placing your palms on the edge next to your hips. Straighten your arms and move your hips forward off the bench while extending your legs, supporting your weight with your arms. This is the starting position. Bend the elbows to lower your body down towards the floor, then extend the elbows to straighten your arms and move your body back up to the starting position.

You may also like: What Muscles Do Dips Work?

Diamond Push-Up

A man is performing lateral head tricep exercises using diamond push-ups with a band loop.

Place your hands on the floor with your index fingers and thumbs touching each other in a diamond pattern. From this position, extend your arms and legs into a full plank position. Bend the elbows to lower your upper body down towards the floor, then extend your arms to raise back up into the starting position. 

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Skull Crushers

A man is performing lateral head tricep exercises using skull crushers.

Hold a dumbbell in each hand, then lie down on the bench. Extend your arms above your chest with the palms facing each other. Bend the elbows to lower the dumbbells behind your head. Extend the elbows to complete the repetition. 

Overhead Press to Triceps Extension

A woman is performing lateral head tricep exercises using a plate overhead press to tricep extensions.

Hold a plate in front of your chest with your hands on each side of the plate. Lift the plate above your head, then bend the elbows to lower the plate behind your head. Extend the elbows up to lift the plate above your head, then lower the plate forward to your chest to complete one repetition. 

Overhead Triceps Extension

A woman is performing lateral head tricep exercises using a kettlebell overhead tricep extension.

Stand holding a dumbbell or a kettlebell with both hands. Extend the arms above your head, then bend the elbows to lower the weight behind your head. Extend the elbows to lift the weight back above the head to complete one repetition. Alternatively, you can perform this exercise seated on a bench. 

Floor Dumbbell Press

A man is performing floor dumbbell press on a fitness mat, lateral head tricep exercises

Lie down on a mat while holding a dumbbell in each hand. Move the dumbbells to your chest with your palms facing toward your feet. Extend the elbows to straighten the arms up, then bend them to lower the weights to the starting position and complete the repetition. 

Achieve a wrapped-up arm workout routine by adding some best long head bicep exercises, bicep short head exercises along with these front delt exercises with dumbbells.

Lateral Head Triceps Workouts

Although the triceps heads work in synergy, you can still target the outer portion of your triceps with the following workouts. Here is a series of lateral head-focused workouts, as well as a full triceps workout to target all three heads of this muscle. 

Workout #1. Lateral Head Triceps Workout for Strength

ExerciseSetsRepsRest Time (seconds)
Skull Crushers55-690
Overhead Triceps Extensions (standing)55-690
Floor Dumbbell Presses55-690
Diamond Push-Ups5890
Superset:590
Bench Dips5-6
Triceps Kickbacks5-6

Workout #2. Lateral Head Triceps Workout for Hypertrophy

ExerciseSetsRepsRest Time (Seconds)
Overhead Press to Triceps Extensions 3-410-1260
Finish off the series with: Overhead Triceps Extensions1To failure
Floor Dumbbell Presses3-48-1060
Skull Crushers3-410-1260
Bench Dips3-410-1260
Triceps Kickbacks412-1560

Workout #3. Lateral Head Triceps Workout for Conditioning

ExerciseSetsRepsRest Time (seconds)
Superset:3-430-45
Skull Crushers8-10
Triceps Kickbacks12-15
Superset:3-430-45
Floor Dumbbell Presses8-10
Overhead Press to Triceps Extensions10-15
Superset:3-430-45
Diamond Push-Ups8-10
Bench Dips10-15

Workout #4. Overall Triceps Workout

Here you can find a triceps workout to target all the heads, or you can create your own using a workout app

ExerciseSetsRepsRest Time (seconds)
Narrow Grip Smith Machine Bench Press 4-56-860-90
Overhead Triceps Extensions4-56-860-90
Skull Crushers with EZ-Bar4-56-860-90
Superset:3-460-90
Triceps Dips5-6
Single-Handed Dumbbell Triceps Extensions10-12
Superset:3-460
Triceps Pushdowns10-12
Triceps Kickbacks10-12
Diamond Push-Ups1To failure– 

Tips for Training the Lateral Head Triceps

Here are three additional tips to help maximize your lateral head triceps growth. 

Frequency

To maximize growth and gain more strength, perform lateral-head-focused workouts a minimum of twice per week. [2]

Pre-Activation

To activate the triceps muscle more effectively, do some light exercises before starting your workout, such as triceps kickbacks with light weights to activate the muscle and allow it to work more efficiently. [3]

Rest

Allow at least 48 hours of rest between triceps workouts. This will allow the muscle to recover properly between sessions and be able to work to its full potential each time. [4] 

Summary

The lateral head is a very important part of the triceps muscle as it is the one that gives it its well-defined size and shape. Below, you can find the key points to remember about this muscle and how to work it:

  • The triceps muscle allows the elbow and the shoulder to extend.
  • The triceps’ lateral head cannot be isolated, but some exercises target it more than others.
  • To target the lateral head of the triceps, perform exercises with a neutral or overhand grip and keep your elbows tucked into your waist.
  • To maximize your results, perform triceps-focused workouts at least twice per week, activate the muscle before the workout, and allow at least 48 hours of rest between sessions.
Disclaimer This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!



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