Monday, February 25, 2013

Triceps Kickback technique. By Vic Goyaram

Triceps Kickbacks: Common mistakes and performance pointers
Researched and composed by Vic Goyaram
Darrem Charles shows proper form in the triceps kickbacks

The triceps exercise most commonly performed WRONG
The triceps kickback is a good exercise to bring variety into your routine. Although not within the scope of this article, the effectiveness of the triceps kickback exercise is debatable. One of the reasons is that the effective range of motion with dumbbell kickbacks is too short to fully tax the triceps.  However, I believe that the triceps kickback is one of the most improperly performed exercises in resistance training. Kickbacks are often associated with ladies lifting pink dumbbells but a hardcore bodybuilder can include it in his routine as well.  

Common mistakes

a. Improper torso angle
Very often people can be spotted doing the triceps kickback with their torsos nearly perpendicular to the floor, as if doing a hammer curl. This reduces the effective range of motion of the exercise and provides no resistance to the triceps muscles. You can blame it on excessive weights. Keep in mind that the effective range of motion of kickbacks is already far less than other triceps exercises. Maximum resistance on this exercise is achieved when the weight moves perpendicular to gravity, that is, the elbows parallel to the floor.
 Mistake 1: This sweetheart is standing with her torso
at a too steep angle, thereby reducing the effective ROM

b.Elbows too low
Another common mistake which can be blamed on the use of excessive weights is dropping the elbows too low. This also reduces the effective range of motion. This can also happen if the lifter does not bend the torso enough and sometimes not using any support to rest the non-exercising arm.
 Mistake 2: Dropping the elbows too low
reduces the effective ROM of the exercise too
Proper form
 Proper form: arm supported, torso parallel to floor,
working arm aligned with torso
A proper triceps kickback is performed as follows:

1. Bend your torso nearly parallel to the ground, leaning against a bench, much like you do when performing a one-arm dumbbell row. This will be the position of your body for the entire duration of the set.

2. Grab dumbbell of appropriate weight and bring it to the starting position. Forget about taking heavy weight. Learn technique fast and besides, the triceps kickback is an isolation exercise.

3. At the starting position the forearm should be perpendicular to the ground; the dumbbell should not be brought to the chest.

4. Raise the dumbbell in an arc to full extension, until your forearm is parallel to your torso. The angle of the entire kickback movement should be about 90 degrees. Keep the dumbbell in the contracted position for about 1-2 seconds. You should get a feeling of “cramping” in your triceps if you maintain this position. This is what we want. This is your finishing position. Keep the shoulders pointing down at all times even at full contraction.
 Although this position may be judged correct it can still be
improved on. Try to point the shoulders down, do not arch
the back as in the contracted position of a dumbbell row
5. Slowly bring the dumbbells back to starting position, i.e. forearm perpendicular to the ground and not towards the chest. Don’t tell me you are bringing the dumbbells towards the chest to stretch the triceps. You cannot stretch the triceps in this position.

6. Some people twist the wrist in the top position to really feel it in the triceps long head. Experiment with this once you have mastered the basic triceps kickback.

Cable kickbacks
The dumbbell kickback may be substituted for cable kickbacks. This increases the effective range of motion of the exercise and allows you to stretch the triceps, something not afforded in the dumbbell version.
The cable kickback variation increases the "effective" ROM
Go ahead and give the true triceps kickback a try. Do not forget your close grip bench presses, skull crushers, French presses and cable push-downs as well.

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My Bio: I am a Mauritian originally from Roche Bois, Port Louis and now based in Cape Town, South Africa where I am busy with my postgraduate studies in molecular biology of exercise. My research, supervised by Prof. Edward Ojuka and Dr. Tertius Kohn, looks at the influence of nutrition and exercise in gene expression in muscle, research which is relevant and applicable to exercising individuals, sports persons and diabetic individuals. The knowledge that I share with you stems from my 18 years of experience in bodybuilding and 8 years (and counting) of university education in the field. I have also published work in the American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism (2012, 2014), International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism (2013) and co-authored two book chapters on exercise and diabetes. I also presented my research work at the 2012 International Sports and Exercise Nutrition Conference (UK). I am grateful to each and everyone at the UCT Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine. "Knowledge without sharing is worth nothing"
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