What does tricep extension have to do with the bench press? The answer is more than you might think. Licensed chiropractor and avid powerlifter, Jordan Shallow, shows us how a properly executed tricep extension can prevent future elbow pain.

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With muscles always contracting in the bench press, the scapula tends to lose movement. This affects not only the shoulder, but the elbow. Given that elbow pain is a common ailment amongst powerlifters, it’s worth taking note of preventative measures.

When many powerlifters begin to experience this type of elbow pain during a bench press, they tend to compensate for it with compromised form rather than fixing the issue at the root. Keeping exercises in the overhead plane helps keep the shoulder mobile as a function buffer from dysfunction.

“The benefit of training the overhead position is reintegrating that movement of the scapula that’s lost in the bench.”

So what does the tricep extension do? Well, for one it doesn’t necessarily build mass or strength. But don’t let that turn you off; what the tricep extension does do is reinstate proper shoulder function in the overhead position that will help you get the most out of your bench press in the long run. In doing so, you are preventing potential dysfunction that may later cause pain.

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To do this move, hold a dumbbell in full overhead position. Then rotate your shoulder blade, punching it towards the ceiling to get your elbow and shoulder in a straight line. Lower the dumbbell with measure, driving the elbow to the ceiling while maintaining stability in the shoulder blade. Hold this position before driving the elbow back up and into a straight line with the rest of the arm.

“It’s more so the benefit of this exercise is to begin keeping at bay potential dysfunction causing pain at the elbow.”

As Jordan mentioned, this move isn’t about taxing the triceps the whole time. In fact, they’re only taxed in the fully lengthened position. As you do the move, the serratus muscle gets activated.

Use this method in your warmup to better prepare your shoulders for bench press work and take preventative measure against potential elbow pain.