When it’s time to shape up or ship out, choosing the right moves to incorporate into your workout routine might be the deciding factor between sweet success and utter failure. Perhaps you’re on the road to bodybuilding bliss, and have already mastered these five tricep exercises. Or, perhaps you’ve been doing it wrong all these years. From bad techniques to lifts that can cause injury, here are four of the worst tricep exercises you should stop doing immediately.
1. Lying tricep extensions
While lying tricep extensions, also called skull crushers, can be a beneficial exercise, there’s a lot of room left for error. Because this move is done with a straight bar, along with the fact that each rep starts and stops with your head as the base, Flex Online says, you’re basically setting yourself up for disaster. Instead of straining your head and neck, the article recommends doing French presses to avoid bouncing off your forehead, using a suggested cambered bar.
2. Tricep kickbacks
If you’re someone who likes to lift weights, you’re probably no stranger to this traditionally beloved staple. But the task at hand, which involves extending your arm back while holding a dumbbell, isn’t necessarily as beneficial (or safe) as you might think. As Dan McCarthy, from Crow Hill CrossFit in Brooklyn, told GQ, “Kickbacks put your shoulder in a poor position to move effectively, and also don’t allow you to load the movement with much weight.” For those reasons the movement generally won’t yield the results you’re looking for.” Basically, they’re a complete waste of time. You may be better off incorporating more compound moves, which strengthen multiple muscle groups at the same time.
While this may be a fairly common exercise, it’s important to be cautious when actually performing the move, as sloppy technique will do you no good. Dips have the potential to produce results, but they’re tricky. Mike Boyle, ATC, owner of Mike Boyle Strength & Conditioning , told Men’s Health, “Perfectly executed dips are like unicorns. They’re talked about but never seen.” When performed incorrectly, with flared elbows and a vertical torso, this can increase strain on the rotator cuff, the shoulders’ most vulnerable muscle.
Furthermore, chief clinical officer at Orthology Dr. Josh Sandell told MSN.com, “This exercise places extreme stress on the acromioclavicular joint as well as the labrum, [which] can lead to all kinds of shoulder problems and perpetuates the problems on anyone who has forward head posture.” If this is a move in your daily workout routine, it might be time to reevaluate your technique, or even the need to do dips at all.
4. Overhead tricep press
This is another fairly common exercise, and it’s likely you’ve either performed it or witnessed it in action. You hold a dumbbell with both hands, lower it behind your head, then extend your arms to press it back up. As cautioned in this article from The Huffington Post, “Overestimating your strength ability can put your shoulders in a very vulnerable position and can even injure them and your neck.” If you really insist on doing some tricep-specific exercises, opt for something less risky like diamond push-ups.