Best 6 Lateral Head Tricep Exercises: Sculpt Your Arms

When it comes to building impressive arms, the triceps play a crucial role. Among the three heads of the triceps muscle, the lateral head often takes the back seat in many workout routines. In this blog, we’ll delve into the world of lateral head tricep exercises, exploring their significance, anatomy, and the most effective workouts to target this specific area.

Importance of Targeting Lateral Head in Tricep Workouts

Your triceps consist of three heads: the long head, medial head, and lateral head. While many tricep exercises hit all three heads, specifically targeting the lateral head is essential for achieving well-rounded and defined arm development. Neglecting this aspect can lead to an imbalanced appearance.

Anatomy of the Lateral Head

Understanding the anatomy of the lateral head is the key to effective training. The lateral head is situated on the outer side of the arm and contributes significantly to the horseshoe shape of the well-developed triceps. It is crucial to know how this muscle functions to optimize your workout routine.

Tricep Function

Concerning the long head of the tricep, it has an additional function related to the shoulder. It plays a role in movements that include shoulder adduction and extension, while also contributing to the stabilization of the shoulder joint.

Best 6 Lateral Head Tricep Exercises

Best 6 Lateral Head Tricep Exercises

Tricep Pushdowns

Tricep pushdowns stand out as one of the most favored tricep exercises. If your aim is to boost both strength and size in your lateral head tricep, the key lies in selecting the appropriate attachment and grip position. Optimal attachments for targeting the lateral head in tricep pushdowns include the rope, straight bar, and v-bar. Utilizing any of these with a narrower grip proves most effective for isolating the lateral head.

Tricep Kickbacks

Tricep kickbacks stand as another excellent exercise for targeting your lateral head. Depending on the variations, it can also engage the long head. Optimal for the lateral head is the bent-over position, utilizing either a cable pulley or dumbbell. This position has been demonstrated to enhance activation of the lateral head.

Cable Crossbody

The objective is to secure your elbow against your inner thigh while positioning the cable to originate from the opposite side. Essentially, you are horizontally extending your arm from the contralateral side of the working arm. This technique enables you to specifically target the lateral head.

Bench Dips

This is a traditional bodyweight tricep exercise that effectively targets the lateral head. It proves particularly beneficial for individuals new to strength training, aiming to develop the strength required to perform tricep dips effortlessly – the subsequent exercise on this list.

Tricep Dips

While parallel bar lifts are frequently employed to target the pecs, they can also contribute to building mass in your triceps, particularly the lateral head, when positioning your body correctly. To emphasize your triceps, including the lateral head, ensure your body is positioned for dipping with an upright back.

Decline Close Grip Bench Press

Decline Close Grip Bench Press

Whether you aspire to be a bodybuilder or are just seeking to add size to your triceps, the close grip bench press stands out as one of the most effective exercises. It’s a potent mass builder. While the close grip bench press is a comprehensive tricep exercise, it can be performed in a manner that particularly highlights the lateral head.

Proper Form and Technique

Executing exercises with proper form is paramount for targeting the lateral head effectively. Ensure controlled movements, proper elbow positioning, and a full range of motion to activate the muscle optimally.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Avoiding common mistakes, such as using excessive weight or neglecting full extension, is crucial. These errors can lead to inefficient workouts and, in some cases, injuries. Focus on quality over quantity.

Incorporating Variety in Workouts

To keep your lateral head tricep exercises effective, incorporate variety. Changing angles, grips, and equipment can stimulate the muscle differently, promoting balanced development.

Benefits of Lateral Head Tricep Exercises

Having well-developed lateral head triceps not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of your arms but also contributes to overall arm strength. Strengthening this area aids in various daily activities and improves athletic performance.

There are the benefits of lateral head triceps exercises:


The lateral head of the tricep significantly contributes to the arm’s aesthetics, particularly when viewed from the back and side. A well-developed lateral head enhances the overall shape of the upper arm, forming a crucial part of the distinctive horseshoe appearance associated with fully developed triceps. Having a robust lateral head ensures that your triceps are visibly defined, even when viewed from the front.

Compound Pressing Exercises

The lateral head of the tricep is vital in the upper range of motion during bench pressing. A weak lateral head can pose challenges, particularly during the lockout phase of bench press, especially with heavier weights. This applies not only to bench press but also to other compound presses such as overhead press, jerks, and push presses. Strengthening the lateral head tricep significantly enhances strength, particularly during the crucial lockout phase of these exercises.

Elbow Stability & Health

The lateral head, along with the other tricep heads, intersects at the elbow joint. Enhancing muscle mass and strength in these muscles can safeguard the joint, aiding in injury prevention and enhancing overall stability.

Lateral Head Tricep Exercises with Dumbbells

Lateral Head Tricep Exercises with Dumbbells

Grasp a dumbbell with your right hand and take a step forward with your left foot, creating a split stance. Bend your left knee and lean forward over it, positioning your torso at a 45-degree angle to the ground. Ensure your shoulders stay oriented towards the front. Next, with your right palm facing inward, raise your right arm straight back behind your body, limiting the elevation to avoid lowering the shoulder. Activate the muscles in the back of your arm and upper back. Lower the arm and repeat this movement 10 times, then switch to the opposite side.

Balancing Tricep Development

While focusing on the lateral head, it’s essential to maintain a balance among all three tricep heads. A holistic approach ensures symmetrical and proportionate arm development.

Training Frequency and Volume

Consistency is key in tricep training. Aim for 2-3 sessions per week, adjusting volume based on your fitness level. Listen to your body and allow for adequate recovery.

Nutrition and Recovery for Lateral Head Tricep Exercises

Building muscle is not solely reliant on exercise. Proper nutrition and recovery are equally vital. Make sure to consume sufficient protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates to support muscle growth. Hydration is critical for sustaining workout performance and aiding in recovery. A well-balanced diet, abundant in vitamins and minerals, is also essential. To optimize muscle recovery and growth, prioritize adequate sleep and effective stress management.

Progress Tracking of Lateral Head Tricep Exercises

Monitoring your progress is essential for growth. Keep a workout journal, track weights and repetitions, and periodically reassess your routine to ensure continued gains.

Sample Lateral Head Tricep Workout Routine

  1. Tricep Pushdowns: 3 sets x 12 reps
  2. Tricep Kickbacks: 3 sets x 15 reps
  3. Cable Crossbody: 4 sets x 10 reps
  4. Bench Dips: 3 sets x 8 reps
  5. Tricep Dips: 3 sets x 12 reps
  6. Decline Close Grip Bench Press: 3 sets x 10 reps

Tips for Beginners

  • Start with lighter weights to focus on form.
  • Gradually increase the intensity as your strength improves.
  • Seek guidance from a fitness professional to ensure proper technique.


Incorporating lateral head tricep exercises into your workout routine is a game-changer for achieving well-defined and powerful arms. By understanding the anatomy, emphasizing proper form, and maintaining a balanced approach, you can sculpt impressive triceps that contribute to both strength and aesthetics.


Q1. What exercise works the lateral head of the tricep?
That means dips, kickbacks, and overhand-grip press-downs are all good choices for targeting the lateral head. Of course, some exercises like skullcrushers position your arms at an in-between position, perpendicular to your body, so they focus on both the long and lateral heads.

Q2. How often should I train my triceps?
Aim for 2-3 tricep workouts per week, allowing for at least one day of rest between sessions.

Q3. Can I solely focus on lateral head exercises?
While it’s beneficial to target the lateral head, a balanced approach that includes all tricep heads is essential for overall development.

Q4. Is it normal to feel soreness after tricep workouts?
Yes, mild soreness is normal. However, severe or prolonged pain may indicate overtraining or improper form.

Q5. Can I perform these exercises at home without gym equipment?
Yes, modifications can be made for home workouts, such as using resistance bands or household items as substitutes for weights.

Q6. How long does it take to see results in tricep development?
Results vary, but with consistent training and proper nutrition, noticeable changes can occur within a few weeks.

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