Stretching the triceps is a great way to improve upper body flexibility and range of motion. If you need a break from work or just finished a heavy tennis workout, take a few minutes for a quick stretch routine. Overhead and horizontal static stretches are simple, basic shapes you can do anywhere. You can also try dynamic stretches, such as swinging your arms. If you're a little more flexible, you can also use a chair or other low, sturdy object to do a kneeling triceps stretch.
Method 1 of 5: Making Horizontal Stretches
Step 1. Raise your left arm and extend your arm to the right side
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent rather than locked. Cross your left arm stretched over your body at shoulder height.
Step 2. Grasp your left arm with your right wrist
With your left arm still extended, raise your right arm to the height of your left elbow. Place your right wrist at a comfortable spot near your left elbow.
- Depending on your flexibility, you can place your wrist just below your elbow on your forearm or above your elbow on your triceps.
- Placing your wrist higher than your upper arm will give you more strength and will help you stretch more muscles in your shoulder and sides that connect to your triceps.
- Do not stretch to the point where you feel pain or discomfort. Listen to your body and don't exceed your arm's natural range of motion.
Step 3. Stretch for 20 to 30 seconds
Use your right wrist to gently pull your left arm until you feel a stretch in your left triceps. Exhale slowly while stretching for 20 to 30 seconds, depending on your ability.
Keep stretching evenly rather than "bouncing" the muscles you are stretching. Bouncing or pulling sharply on the limb while stretching can cause injury
Step 4. Switch arms and repeat 2 to 4 times per arm
Repeat the process to stretch your right triceps. Then stretch each arm 2 to 4 times more.
Always stretch evenly by repeating the movement the same number of times per arm, leg, or side of the body
Method 2 of 5: Stretching over the head
Step 1. Elevate your left elbow and stretch your hand to your upper back
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Point your left elbow toward the ceiling and touch the center of your upper back with your left hand.
If you can't reach your upper back, place your hand on the back of your neck. Tilt your head forward as you place your hand on the back of your neck, then gently push your head back to increase tension in your triceps
Step 2. Pull your left elbow with your right hand gently
Grasp your left elbow with your right hand. Gently pull your elbow back and toward your right side until you feel a stretch in your left triceps.
Be careful not to stretch your arm beyond its natural range of motion
Step 3. Hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds
Exhale slowly during this time. Listen to your body and don't force yourself to spend the full 30 seconds if you feel pain or discomfort.
Remember to keep the stretch evenly rather than swinging your arm
Step 4. Switch arms and repeat 2 to 4 times
Repeat the steps on your right arm. Then stretch each arm 2 to 4 times more.
Method 3 of 5: Using a Chair to Stretch
Step 1. Kneel in front of a low chair or ottoman
You will need a low, sturdy object, such as a chair, ottoman, or heavier table. Kneel away from the object at a distance approximately equal to the length of your knees to the top of your head.
You will need to lean with your body parallel to the ground without your head touching the object
Step 2. Lean forward and place your elbows on the chair
Lean forward and place your elbows above your head to support yourself on the edge of your chair. Bend your elbows while supporting them on the chair to support the weight of your upper body. As you position yourself, use the chair and floor for support so you don't strain your lower back.
Continue kneeling while leaning forward so that your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle with your shins touching the floor
Step 3. Get down and align your head, neck and back
Look down so your head and neck are in line with your back. Your back should be straight and parallel to the floor. Extend your arms beyond your head so that your elbows are the only part of your body that touches the chair.
Step 4. Bring your hands back towards your neck
Keeping in position, bend your elbows to bring your forearms to your neck. Rest your hands around where the nape of your neck meets your upper back.
This stretch is slightly more advanced than the horizontal and overhead stretch. Don't force yourself to do this if you have difficulty or feel discomfort
Step 5. Press your torso towards the floor and maintain the stretch
Exhale slowly while gently pressing your chest towards the floor. You should feel a good stretch in your triceps through your rotator cuffs and sides of your back. Hold the stretch for up to 30 seconds, then straighten your arms and use them to return to a kneeling position.
Step 6. Grab each wrist with the opposite hand
You can get more out of this stretch by gently pulling 1 wrist at a time. Once in position, place your left hand below your right hand and grasp your left wrist to gently pull your left arm toward your upper back in a deeper stretch.
- Hold the position for up to 30 seconds, then return to the kneeling position to rest for about 15 to 30 seconds. Get back into position and hold your right wrist to pull your right arm into a deeper stretch.
- Listen to your body and don't stretch your arms beyond their natural range of motion.
Method 4 of 5: Experiencing Dynamic Stretches
Step 1. Rotate your arm for 30 seconds in each direction
Raise your arms straight out to the sides so that they are parallel to the floor. Keeping them straight, rotate your arms in circles backwards for 30 seconds. Then rotate them forward for 30 seconds.
Use gentle movements and don't force your arms beyond their natural range of motion
Step 2. Do the front crossover for 30 seconds
Raise your arms out to the sides so they are parallel to the floor. Wrap them as if you were hugging, open them again and close them.
Do not swing your arms uncontrollably or beyond your natural range of motion
Step 3. Use a tension band to do triceps extensions
Stand on top of the center of the band, feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. Hold one end of the band in each hand. Raise your bent elbows so that they point toward the ceiling and bring your hands to the back of your head.
- To complete one repetition, align your arms and raise your hands toward the ceiling, then lower your forearms back to the bent-elbow position. Use smooth, controlled movements and do reps for 30 seconds.
- You should feel a stretch in your triceps when bending your elbows.
Method 5 of 5: Incorporating Stretching into Your Routine
Step 1. Stretch at least 2-3 times a week
Try to stretch your triceps for 1-2 minutes a day, 2-3 times a week.
Intensely stretching the same muscle group every day can pose a risk of injury. You can do a quick daily stretch if you're feeling a little tense (no tension or pain), but try alternating your stretching routine. Stretch one muscle group one day and another the next day
Step 2. Warm up before stretching
Circulating the blood will help prevent the muscles from overstretching. Do a light warm-up for 5 to 10 minutes, such as a brisk walk, brisk jog, or jumping jacks.
It's also better to stretch after working out rather than before
Step 3. Do static stretches before dynamic stretches
Warming up and static stretches will help relax your muscles and prepare them for dynamic stretches. Doing dynamic stretches without warm-up or static stretches increases the risk of injury.
Step 4. Take regular breaks from work to stretch
Static, quick stretches, such as crossing your arm horizontally or lifting it over your head, are great to do at work. Take a break every hour to get up, walk, and stretch.