Tricep: Definition and What it is

Medically and clinically reviewed by Jonathan Lee, MD and Dylan Peterson, PT, DPT

Triceps Definition and Meaning

Your triceps is a major muscle located at the back of the upper arm, composed of three heads — the long, lateral, and medial head. These muscle heads converge into a single tendon that attaches to the ulna, one of the bones in the forearm. 

The triceps muscle is responsible for the extension of the elbow joint and straightening of the arm, and it also plays a significant role in the stability and strength of the shoulder. The triceps' position and function are critical for sustaining upper body strength and facilitating coordinated arm movements.

Triceps Exercises

Tricep dips are one of the most common triceps moves you can do to strengthen your triceps muscles. But don’t stop there: Exercises that strengthen the shoulders, chest, back, biceps, and arms overall build support around the triceps so they don’t have to work as hard. When your entire upper body is strong, your triceps are less susceptible to strain and injury. Great moves to start with include: triceps extension, bicep curls, and shoulder rows.

Common Triceps Injuries

The two most common triceps injuries are triceps tendinitis (inflammation of the tendon from repetitive use) and triceps strains (in which the muscle or its tendons are overstretched or torn).

Triceps Injuries: A Hinge Health Perspective

Your triceps are a key player in your body’s movement. They have the important job of stabilizing your shoulders and allowing you to push and pull. Every time you lift a grocery bag, pull open a door, or push a shopping cart, your triceps are activated. Occasionally, though, your triceps can get hurt. The good news: These muscles are strong and resilient, and there's a lot you can do to help them recover and avoid further irritation.

If you’re reluctant to move because you think you’ll cause more damage or injury to your triceps, know this: Movement is often the fastest way to healing. As our Hinge Health care team says, movement is medicine. Movement, while at times painful, helps rehab the triceps muscles by increasing blood flow, and gradually improving the muscle’s strength and flexibility. A physical therapist (PT) can also work with you on a strengthening and stretching plan. You can see a physical therapist in person or use a program like Hinge Health to access a PT via telehealth/video visit.

How Hinge Health Can Help You 

If you have joint or muscle pain that makes it hard to move, you can get the relief you’ve been looking for with Hinge Health’s online exercise therapy program.

The best part: You don’t have to leave your home because our program is digital. That means you can easily get the care you need through our app, when and where it works for you. 

Through our program, you’ll have access to therapeutic exercises and stretches for your condition. 

Additionally, you’ll have a personal care team to guide, support, and tailor our program to you. See if you qualify for Hinge Health and confirm free coverage through your employer or benefit plan here.

This article and its contents are provided for educational and informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice or professional services specific to you or your medical condition.


  1. Tiwana, M. S., Sinkler, M. A., & Bordoni, B. (2020). Anatomy, Shoulder and Upper Limb, Triceps Muscle. PubMed; StatPearls Publishing. 

  2. Casadei, K., Kiel, J., & Freidl, M. (2020). Triceps Tendon Injuries. Current Sports Medicine Reports, 19(9), 367–372. doi:10.1249/jsr.0000000000000749

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