I've recently suspected (for various reasons) that I've been neglecting the long head of my triceps.

Pretty much all the triceps training that I've done for a while is supine triceps extensions with dumbbells.

I read that you can emphasise the LH by bringing your arms behind your head at the bottom of the movement, but Ive just been doing them with my arms at 90 degrees if that makes sense.

Am I right in thinking that I've only really been training the medial head of the triceps?

When I look into ways to strenghten the LH, I come across articles that basically just list every triceps exercise (including the one I've been doing)... so it makes me wonder what the point is in these articles.

Should I add in some extra exercises? like cable extensions above the head? and triceps dips perhaps?

  • 1
    Like JohnP said, you cant isolate the tricep muscles, but you can emphasize which muscle gets more action. Very generically put, long head="push upwards", like cable extensions above head, or skullcrushers, or skullcrushers on a 90 degree bench. Short head="push down" like tricep rope extensions. Medial head=pressing, think close grip bench press, suppinated tricep extensions, dips.
    – user32213
    Commented Mar 31, 2022 at 19:23

1 Answer 1


tl; dr: You may not be training the triceps optimally by doing only one exercise, but you are not undertraining any one part of the triceps overall.

The long head has its origin on the scapula, while the medial and lateral originate on the humerus. They all insert via a common tendon on the ulna. Muscles pull the insertion towards the origin (Origin is a fixed point), so since they all insert in a common tendon, anything that extends (straightens) the lower arm will work all parts of the triceps muscle.

Now, since the long head originates on the scapula, it can minorly assist in extending and adducting (Bringing closer to the body) the upper arm. You can't really isolate it.

The main reason you are finding bunches of tricep exercises to train the long head is for that reason, it's not really something that you can isolate. It either works in conjunction with the medial and lateral heads to extend the lower arm, or it's a stabilizer/minor addition in other exercises.

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