The triceps sit at the back of the upper arm.  In fact it is the only muscle at the back of the arm.  It is called the ‘tri’ceps because it is, as the Latin clearly states, a three headed muscle.  There is a long head, a medial head and a short head.  These three head originate at different places in the shoulder and all end up inserting into a thick tendon at the olecranon process of the ulna, or what we call the elbow.  All three heads of this muscle extend the elbow and the long head alone is an extender and adductor of the shoulder joint.  Most yogis and yoginis become acutely aware of the location and strength of this muscle in Chatturanga Dandasana.  If you read my previous article about cycling, you will know mine got pretty beat up in the Fall.  My go-to YTU exercise for the tricep, especially for that long head is Long Head of the Triceps.  I do it after my rides, I have my indoor cyclists do it after class, I have my yogi and yogini cyclists and triathletes make it part of their routine.  It is a great strengthener and toner for that stretched triceps.  Check it out below and on the 10 Minute Quick Fix for Shoulders video.

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Heidi Broecking

I've been a yoga practitioner for 13 years and took my 200-hour certification in 2010. I received my Level 1 YTU certification with Jill Miller in March of 2011 at the Kripalu Center. When I'm not with my husband and son, I love to geek out on anatomy and ride a road bike, really fast. Providing a science based system of total body fitness, Yoga Tune Up® has provided me a seamless bridge between enhancing my performance and recovery as an athlete. Yoga Tune Up® has also given me greater understanding of mobility and biomechanics as it relates to the practice of Yogasana. YTU inspires curiosity for me as both a teacher and student of Yoga.

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Queen Sheba

This is such a go to movement all the time without needing equipment or going to a gym for a well used muscle.. I’m going to be doing this more often. Also great fact about tri = three why it’s the tricep, group of three muscles, fun tip to remember the amount of muscles.

Joann Burnham

Thank you for the concise and accessible description of long head of the triceps.
This is a great on the go strengthener and toner.

Sheena Nadeau

Thank you for this post and explaining the anatomy of the triceps. This exercise really helps me feel my triceps and my upper back.


I like to commute by bike to work when i can. This will be great to add after the bike ride, and also peppered in through out the day, especially after having shoulders that tend to round forward while typing at a computer.

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This looks like a great exercise. I think it’s great that you can tone this muscle with he equipment you carry around with you. We all have arms… need to make time for the gym you can make time for this anytime. Thanks


Hi Heidi, Thank you for this description of the triceps and the wonderful video of the Long Head of the Triceps. I learned this exercise today, and I was blown away by how hard it was. How hard could it be to fully extend your shoulders and adduct your arms behind your back? It looks so simple, and it is, but like so many seemingly simple things in the YTU system, it certainly packs a wallop! Afterwards I was acutely aware of the agonist of this movement of extension (long head of the triceps, the posterior fibers of the deltoid,… Read more »

Tina Cuevas

As a Vinyasa Yoga instructor, I do lots of Chatturanga Dandasana in my own practice as well as demonstrating in class. As such I’m always cognizant of strengthening and toning the triceps which are agonists in the pose. Lifting weights in the gym is fine when you have the time and inclination to get there, but it’s great to have this tool available from Yoga Tune Up to work the triceps effectively without the strain. I’ll certainly share this information with my cycling friends and my sister who is an Ironman!

Kristin Marvin

Thanks for the information. I do cycling and triathlons myself along with helping others. It’s always great to learn about new poses and stretches to help athletes excel in their sport.