Kinesiology of Exercise

Triceps Kickback

Another effective exercise to work the triceps, especially the long head in two actions, is the triceps kickback.

Major Muscles and Actions Involved

In the Triceps Kickback the triceps brachii muscle is involved in elbow joint extension. In this action the forearm moves away from the upper arm, which is held stable, to a fairly straight, upright, arm position. In addition, full extension of the arms makes execution of some sports skills even more effective.

Sports Uses

Elbow joint extension and the muscles involved are very important in execution of many sports skills. For example, they are needed in many overhead hitting actions such as the tennis serve and smash and basketball shooting. Elbow joint extension is a key action in pushing and throwing actions as used in the shot put, pressing up into a handstand in gymnastics, in hand-to-hand balancing, pushing an opponent in football, jabbing in boxing, various actions in mixed martial arts, in some baseball pitches and so on.

Exercise Analysis

  • In correct execution you must maintain a stable bent-over position so that your back remains in the horizontal position. This is needed for safety and to ensure that the muscles work directly against gravity for maximum resistance. 
  • In their zeal to use heavier weights, many athletes and bodybuilders raise their shoulder to get the weight sufficiently up and back. This action uses the spinal rotational muscles and does not fully involve the long head of the triceps. The key is to keep your shoulders in place. 
  • Excessively heavy weights lead to a decreased range of motion and also limit your ability to fully extend your arm. This defeats the purpose of the exercise and when continued for a long time, can decrease your flexibility. 
  • In comparison to other triceps extension exercises, the triceps kickback is more difficult to execute. It requires more stability, coordination, and balance for effective execution. Therefore, before beginning this exercise you should be proficient in doing other triceps exercises. 
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