I used to be a big fan of overhead triceps presses, however, I noticed that with increased weight my joints started to ache. Sometimes I even hear a pop sound and after that my joints hurt for up to a week.

Are there any particular exercises for triceps that don't put too much pressure on elbow joints?

  • Dips, flat bench, close-grip bench. I also find that overhead tricep curls performed with a rope attachment on a cable are less strenuous to the elbow joint - perhaps because of wrist position?
    – TestWell
    Oct 23, 2015 at 21:24
  • You should indicate what type of equipment you have available.
    – rrirower
    Oct 24, 2015 at 13:39

1 Answer 1


Without seeing your form, it’s hard to determine what may have caused your problems. Typically, it’s your elbow that tends to react to the load if your form is incorrect, or, the weight is too heavy. Couple that with the force of gravity during overhead extensions, and, you may have a recipe for chronic pain.

In your case, I would avoid any triceps exercise where the weight is lowered behind your head. Additionally, I’d suggest you back off on the weight until you are pain free. I’d also suggest you try some overhead stretches and towel stretches as part of your warm up. Then, take a look at trying these exercises.

Standing Cable Triceps extension with a straight bar or rope. Keep your elbows by your side and press straight down.

Cable Triceps Kickbacks are another good exercise for avoiding extra pressure on the triceps. Just remember to keep your upper arm parallel to the floor when performing the exercise.

Reverse Grip Cable Triceps Extensions with a bar or one handle. This is a similar movement to the kickbacks, but, your body is vertical.

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