While the close-grip bench press is great, MRI research shows that it emphasizes your lateral and medial triceps heads, not your long head (1). However, things change when you follow Mark Rippetoe's advice to combine a pullover with a traditional skull crusher.
EZ-Bar Pullover Triceps Extension
While it looks like you're cheating with your lats, the long head of your triceps is a two-jointed muscle. It extends your elbow and extends your shoulder. Yes, your lats help, but they simply work with your triceps and allow you to use more weight for more reps.
- You hammer the long head of your triceps – the biggest head which makes the biggest difference in your overall triceps size.
- Less elbow stress than traditional triceps extensions.
- Bring the weight back behind your head like you're doing a pullover. Get a nice triceps stretch, but don't overdo it.
- As you come up, simultaneously move your elbows up as you extend them. Don't bring your upper arm all the way to vertical; this will take tension off your triceps at the top.
- Start slow to get the hang of this, then add some controlled speed. Remember, your triceps are fast-twitch dominant muscles and they love speed.
- As you get stronger, hook your feet under a sturdy object or have a training partner hold your knees down.
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- James, M.M. Biomechanics of the spine. (1973). Achieves of Surgery, 107(3), 418-423. Tesch, P.A. (1999). Target Bodybuilding. Windsor, ON: Human Kinetics.