Ever feel left out? The triceps do. People often neglect to stretch the backs of their upper arms — the muscle known as the triceps brachii — unless they're sore from an upper-body workout. But your triceps have a few important functions, including assisting with elbow extension and shoulder movement.
Though you may be tempted to skip your post-workout stretching, as little as 30-second bursts of flexibility training can bring big benefits, including reduced muscle tension, increased range of motion, improved circulation, stress reduction and injury prevention.
Regular stretching can also increase the ease with which you perform daily activities, like carrying in groceries, putting things away on a shelf overhead and picking up your kids or pets.
And stretching can be incorporated into many aspects of your day and done practically anywhere — while you're watching television, before bed or at your desk at work — and it usually doesn't require any equipment. Try these three triceps stretches when you need a break from your desk or after an intense arm workout.
1. Overhead Triceps Stretch
The overhead triceps stretch is probably the best-known stretch for targeting the backs of your upper arms, probably because it's the most obvious and easily accessible way.
- Stand up straight and extend your right arm straight above your head.
- Bend your right arm at the elbow.
- Bring your bent left arm above your head.
- Use your left hand to guide your bent right arm behind your head until you feel a stretch in the right triceps.
- Hold for 30 to 60 seconds and repeat with your left arm.
2. Double Shoulder Stretch With Towel
This stretch is based on the top half of the yoga pose Cow Face. It's a funny name for a seriously intense upper-body stretch. While the full version requires a lot of shoulder mobility and triceps flexibility, you can do this modified version even if you have tight upper-body muscles.
- Stand straight with good posture and grab a small towel with your right hand.
- Raise your right arm above your head. Bend it and dangle the towel behind your back.
- Bend your left arm and curl it behind your lower back. Grab the dangling towel.
- Gently pull the towel with your left arm until you feel a gentle stretch in your right triceps.
- Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
- Repeat this exercise with your left arm above your head.
3. Cross-Body Arm Stretch
Consider this cross-body arm stretch an ancillary stretch. Its primary target is your shoulder muscles, but you'll also feel a slight stretch in your triceps.
- Stand or sit with perfect posture. Extend your straight right arm.
- Bring it across your body and above your left shoulder. You may need to bend at the elbow.
- Hold your right arm with your left hand until you feel a gentle left arm.
Read more: An At-Home Triceps Workout With Just 4 Moves