Q: I have the Stretch-Overload Workout ebook, so I know how important stretch-position exercises are for mass.I’m training in a home gym with only free weights, and overhead triceps extensions are irritating my elbows. Should I just skip triceps stretch altogether to avoid injury?
A: We’ve been there, so we feel your pain. In a commercial gym, we recommend cable pushouts instead, which is facing away from an overhead cable, lunging forward and performing behind-the-head extensions.
The upward pull, rather than directly back, is easier on the elbows…
But you’re training in a home gym with no cable setup, so the next best thing is incline dumbbell extensions.
You probably didn’t notice, but in some of the workouts in Stretch-Overload Workout, like the 3D Power Pyramid Program on page 18, we have overhead OR incline extensions listed for triceps stretch.
The angle of the bench is similar to the upward cable pull—it relieves some of the elbow pressure when you reach the stretch position…
When you’re doing overhead extensions with a totally vertical upper arm, the downward elbow pressure is more severe, plus, if you have large biceps, they can act as a “bumper” that causes even more elbow trauma. Inclines solve the problem…
If incline triceps extensions still irritate your elbows, substitute dumbbell pullovers. It’s more of a semi-stretch move for your triceps but a good one for sweeping, sleeve-stretching mass.
By the way, the Pure-Positions STX Program, all-stretch Workout 3 (page 36 in Stretch Overload), is excellent as one of your home-gym mass sessions. All but two of the stretch exercises are free-weight moves—substitute donkey calf raises for leg press calf raises and incline dumbbell rows for close-grip cable rows.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
NEW 2.0 Release (with big, updated Home-Training Section)
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There’s even a weight-free workout using some of the aforementioned methods, no equipment necessary.
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