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It seems like most workout targeting tricep is harmful to shoulders (dips, overhead extension), I have suffer from shoulder impingement from the past and would like work out my tricep in a healthy way that won't harm my shoulder. Can someone suggest some workout?

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    Triceps pushdowns? – Mårten Apr 15 '15 at 8:06
  • When you tweaked your shoulder doing overhead stuff, what type of exercise was it? Behind the head press, a machine, a properly done overhead barbell press? – Eric Apr 15 '15 at 16:13
  • When I tweaked my shoulder, it wasn't a sudden thing, over a couple week my left arm begin to feel weaker and weaker. When I checked with the doctor, the doctor did some impingement test and x ray (but no mri) and said that I probably have some minor impingement due to the setting in front of a desk and working out chest too much so that my posture is bad and my pec is pulling my shoulder forward. – Kevin Apr 15 '15 at 17:53
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There are a variety of triceps exercises you can perform. However, if done incorrectly, some of them can impact shoulder problems. To lessen any potential problems, I’d suggest you warm up by doing some light shoulder stretching, and, use relatively light weight to begin. I’ll list a few, but, if they cause discomfort, you should stop immediately.

  • Triceps Dumbell Kickbacks – keep the upper arm parallel to the floor and do not swing the arm.

  • One-arm cable triceps extensions – extend the arm straight down to the side of your body.

  • Single arm cable kickback – again, keep the upper arm parallel with the floor.

If you don't have access to the appropriate equipment, you should be able to adapt the above exercises to exercise bands. You should perform any exercise in a controlled manner. And, with a history of shoulder problems, you should pay close attention to any pain you may experience.

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As someone who also has recurring shoulder issues (previously had a steroid injection to treat severe bursitis) I tend to stick to these exercises:

  • Close-grip bench press
  • Straight or angle bar cable extensions
  • Rope cable extensions

The close-grip bench does require shoulder activation but due to the limited range of motion I find it doesn't trigger my shoulder issues. Standing cable extensions, done properly, keep the elbows static at the side of the body (or slightly in front) and also don't cause issues for me.

I can occasionally do overhead extensions (with dumbbell or cable) but tend to keep these very light and use them to burn out my triceps after the above exercises are done.

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