Best Medial Head Triceps Exercises

If you're looking to build some big triceps, you can't ignore the medial head. For those that don't know, the triceps are made of three separate muscles, with the medial head being one of them.

If you want to increase the size and definition of your arms, you'll need to target this part of your triceps, and this is what we're here to help with today. Let's get to it and take a look at some of the best medial head triceps exercises you can do at home or at the gym.


Triceps Anatomy – The Medial Head

Best Medial Head Triceps Exercises

Although we aren't going to go in depth, your triceps muscles consist of three separate parts, the long head, the lateral head, and the medial head. The medial head is the smallest and least visible of the triceps muscles, otherwise known as the inside tricep.

It's located at the bottom center of your upper arm, and attaches to the humerus. Without the medial head of your triceps, you couldn't extend your elbows, which is of course important for a number of reasons.

Related: Exercises to target the long head of the tricep.


Best Medial Head Triceps Exercises

Let's not waste any more time and get to it. Here are some of the best medial head triceps exercises for you to try.

1. Reverse Grip Dumbbell Press

The reverse grip dumbbell press is a fantastic movement as it is compound, which means that it works a whole lot of muscles in your upper body. However, it targets your triceps and chest most. Instead of using a regular grip like you would to chest press, here you have a reverse grip, which means that your palms are facing your body.

This has major advantages, including taking a lot of pressure off of your shoulder joints and muscles, and putting more pressure on your triceps and upper chest. It is a great exercise for the medial head of the triceps, although it doesn't specifically target any one part of the triceps per se.

How To Do Reverse Grip Dumbbell Press

  1. To do the reverse grip dumbbell press, lay down flat on a bench facing upwards.
  2. Hold a pair of dumbbells, one in each hand, with a reverse grip, just like you would hold them when you are doing a biceps curl. For your first set, especially if you're a beginner, choose a relatively light weight. You can always increase the weight as you progress.
  3. Hold the dumbbells with your arms fully extended upwards and your palms facing back.
  4. Bending at the elbow, lower the dumbbells down to your chest, pause for a second, and then press them back up.


2. Reverse Grip Barbell Press

The reverse grip barbell press, otherwise known as the reverse grip bench press or reverse grip JM press, is a fantastic exercise that targets all of your triceps muscles, your pecs, and your delts.

It's a great exercise to help increase the strength and size of all parts of your triceps, and is fantastic for quickly increasing the amount of weight you can lift. As you'll see throughout this article, a common theme is that to target the medial head of your triceps, you need to use this reverse grip.

How To Do The Reverse Grip Barbell Press

  1. Lay down on a bench press rack facing upwards, and then hold the barbell at shoulder width. However, instead of your palms facing up and away from you, they're going to face backwards and towards your face.
  2. In terms of the weight, start out relatively lightweight, no more than 50 lbs, especially until you get the feel of the exercise.
  3. Like with a regular bench press, you'll want to keep your elbows at your sides and tucked in close to your body. While keeping this in mind, unrack the bar and extend your arms overhead.
  4. Start bending your elbows, while keeping them close to your body, and lower the bar towards your neck and chin, making sure to use your biceps, forearms, and triceps to control the movement.
  5. Press the bar back up to its starting position, and this is one repetition.


3. Reverse Grip Cable Pushdown

Whereas the first exercises we looked at used dumbbells, here we have a cable machine exercise that is excellent for your triceps muscles, particularly for your medial head.

Yes, here you also need to use the reverse grip, as this puts a lot of pressure on the medial head of your triceps muscles. If you use a regular grip, although you will target your triceps, it won't target the medial head specifically.

How To Do Reverse Grip Cable Pushdowns

  1. For this exercise, use a bar attachment and attach it to a cable machine, and position the pulley in such a way so that the bar is at roughly shoulder height when not on your attention.
  2. Face the machine and the bar, and then hold the bar with your palms facing upwards. Your arms should be about shoulder width apart, but the important part is the reverse grip with your palms facing upwards, as this will target the medial head of your triceps muscles.
  3. When doing this exercise, make sure that your upper arms stay stationary and that your elbows stay at your sides. The only movement here should be your forearms, with the movement originating in your elbows.
  4. Push the bar down until your arms are fully extended downwards, hold it for a second or two, contract your triceps as much as possible, and then slowly lift it back up to its original position.

Related: Our top lateral head tricep exercises.


4. The Palm Out Bench Dip

Yet another type of exercise, here we have a bodyweight exercise that requires you to have a bench. What's so good about this exercise is that it's relatively ideal for most fitness levels, even for total beginners who don't have all that much muscle. 

What's also cool about this exercise is that although it targets all areas of your triceps, by holding your hands a certain way, you can target the medial head. Let's find out how to do this exercise.

How To Do The Palm Out Bench Dip

  1. To do the palm out bench dip, sit down on a bench sideways, so that you can put your hands beside you on the bench. Your hands should be right next to your thighs, just like with a regular bench dip, but your hands should be turned so that they are sideways, or in other words horizontally aligned with the bench. Your fingers should be pointing away from your body.
  2. Using your arms, lift your butt up off the bench and extend your legs until they are in front of you. If you want to make this exercise harder, you can elevate your legs on a platform or another bench.
  3. Bending at the elbow, lower your body down as far as your natural range of motion will allow. If you're doing it right, your arms will naturally create a 90° angle.
  4. To increase the difficulty, hold this position for a second or two, and then press yourself back up to the starting position.


5. Diamond Pushups

If you're like us, it means that you probably don't have time to go to the gym every day. If you don't have any dumbbells or weight machines at home, you're left doing bodyweight exercises. If this is the case, then the perfect exercise to target your triceps, particularly the medial head and long head, as well as your pecs, diamond push-ups are the way to go.

How To Do Diamond Pushups

  1. Get in a regular push up position, but instead of having your hands spread shoulder width and at your sides, bring your hands together underneath your chest and use your thumbs and index fingers to form a triangle or diamond.
  2. Your starting position should see your arms fully extended, and to do the exercise, slowly lower your chest down until it almost touches the ground by flexing your elbows. To make the exercise more difficult, hold this position for a couple of seconds.
  3. Press yourself back up to the starting position.


6. Cable Concentration Extension

The cable concentration extension for your triceps is a fantastic one to consider because it really isolates your triceps muscles, and if you hold the table the right way, you can really target that medial head.

It's also a good exercise because it works out one arm at a time, instead of being a dual arm movement. This allows you to focus all of your energy on a single arm, and possibly remedy any muscle imbalances that you might have.

How To Do The Cable Concentration Extension

  1. Get a pulley machine and adjust it so that the pulley is up relatively high. It needs to be higher than your head when you're kneeling down on the ground. Attach a single grip handle to it.
  2. Hold the handle with your left hand and then kneel down, making sure that your right knee is on the floor and your left foot as well,  like you're proposing for marriage.
  3. Ensure that you keep your upper body vertical and your back straight, and rest the back of your left arm on your inner thigh. You can imagine this as being a reverse concentration curl using a cable machine.
  4. The starting position should now look as though you are about to do a concentration curl, but instead of using your biceps to push the weight up, you're actually using your triceps to maintain tension and pull it down.
  5. With your arm resting on your leg, slowly move your forearm upwards by bending at the elbow until it reaches your chest, hold this position for a second, and then slowly pull the cable back down to your starting position.
  6. You can then switch sides to target the other arm.


7. Dumbbell Tate Press

Dumbbell Tate Press

If you're looking to target the medial head of your triceps, then the dumbbell Tate press is by far one of the best exercises you can do. Not only does it help build strength and muscle mass, but it also provides a lot of stretching tension, which is known to be effective at building strength and muscle size. 

Although this exercise does target the medial head of your triceps, technically speaking, all of your triceps segments will benefit from it. Admittedly, it is somewhat of an awkward exercise, especially for beginners, so you'll want to use a lighter weight.

How to Do Dumbbell Tate Press

  1. To do the dumbbell Tate press, start just like you would with a regular dumbbell bench press. Lay down on the bench facing upwards, put your feet flat on the ground on either side of the bench, flex your abs, push your chest up and pull your shoulders back.
  2. Start this exercise like you would a regular dumbbell bench press, with your arms extended directly above your chest, holding both of the dumbbells with a regular grip. This is where things will get a bit tricky.
  3. Instead of just moving the dumbbells down like you would with a bench press, you're actually going to rotate your arms outwards so that by the time the ends of the dumbbells get down to your lower chest or stomach, your knuckles are facing inwards and your palms are facing outwards. This puts an incredible stretch on your triceps muscles, and is great for building mass.
  4. If you want to increase the difficulty level, don't let the dumbbells rest on your stomach or chest when doing it, but rather keep constant tension, and then press back up.

Related: For more tricep dumbbell exercises see our guide.


How Many Reps and Sets of Medial Head Triceps Exercises Should I Do?

If you go look around, there is a lot of discrepancy in terms of how many reps and sets you should do for each exercise. General knowledge tells us that anywhere between 8 and 15 reps, and between two and four sets, is generally ideal for muscle growth.

What it really comes down to is how you feel. If your arms feel extremely tired and are burning after just 8 reps, then that's probably enough for you. 

However, if you get to 15 reps and still can't feel all that much, either you're not doing the exercise properly or you're not doing enough weight. Try to aim for around 11 to 12 reps per set, and if you really want muscle growth you should aim to be close to failure at the end of the set.


The Bottom Line on Medial Head Triceps Exercises

Best Medial Head Triceps Exercises

As you can see, there are plenty of fantastic exercises that you can do to target the medial head of your triceps muscle. What we really can't stress enough however is that it's all about maintaining proper form and control during the movement. Don't try to lift extra heavy just because heavier is better, because in most cases, it's really not.

Author's Photo

William Parrett

Will, co-founder of Home Gym Supply, launched the company in 2019 after 15-years in the fitness industry. His expertise stems not only from his professional background but also from his athletic pursuits. A former competitor in the World Beauty Fitness & Fashion (WBFF) and a competitive rugby player, Will has always been dedicated to health and fitness.