Aesthetically the triceps are important and are a bigger muscle than most think making up two-thirds of the upper arm, so training the triceps is a good idea if having bigger arms is a goal (1).

Developing the triceps for aesthetic purposes will make a difference, but the reasons for doing so shouldn't just be for aesthetics but also for optimising health and function of the body.

The triceps sits on the rear side of the humerus (upper arm bone) and is made up of 3 heads (long, medial and lateral heads) with the main function of the triceps being elbow extension and a weaker lesser-known role of shoulder extension (2,3).

Shoulder Stability

Due to the long head of the triceps attaching to the scapula, the triceps muscle also plays a role in stabilising the shoulder joint. Most likely not the main contributor to stabilising the shoulder, but an under performing and weak triceps will have some influence on shoulder stability and when the arm is adducted the triceps muscle acts to hold the head of the humerus in the glenoid cavity (surface located on the lateral part of the scapula) (4,5).

Therefore a weak tricep could affect the positioning of the scapula and potentially lead to shoulder pain as well as compensation of other muscles such as the traps.

Daily Life & Performance 

Elbow extension and shoulder stability is needed to complete daily tasks and to perform well during activity. The overriding thought that arms are just trained for aesthetics should be replaced with the thought of developing the triceps and biceps to provide a better look to the body, but also improved functionality.

Effective Tricep Exercises 

Close Grip Bench 

E-Z Bar Skull Crusher

Dumbbell Single Arm Floor Press