The triceps – or more accurately, the fascia within and around the tricpeps – typically don’t play the main role in any pain patterns; however they can play a significant minor role in rotator cuff issues, elbow pain (both golfer’s and tennis elbow) and sometimes neck and wrist issues.
The diagram on the right shows the Anatomy Trains posterior fascial line that includes the triceps. As you can see, the muscle (and thus the fascia in that muscle) does connect to both the shoulder joint and the rotator cuff, as well as the wrist and neck.
The reason I say the triceps play only a minor role in all the issues I’m going to talk about is because it would be pretty uncommon for anyone in today’s world to overuse their triceps (and I don’t see many clients with triceps fascia that plays a big role); conversely, it’s all too common for us to overuse our BICEPS (the muscle that could be inhibiting your triceps), and I see the biceps fascia playing a HUGE role in all kinds of issues.
So if you have shoulder, rotator cuff, elbow, wrist or neck issues and you haven’t FIRST ruled out the biceps…do that. Click here for my bicep release technique and blog post.
Reasons to release your triceps fascia:
- You certainly don’t have to be in pain to benefit – I use this one and my arm feels instantly lighter, freer, like it’s floating! Just because you’re not in pain doesn’t mean you can’t feel EVEN BETTER 🙂
- You have rotator cuff pain/issues or pain behind your shoulder (or IN the posterior shoulder)
- You have elbow pain (tennis and/or golfer’s elbow)
- You have pain anywhere in the arm (sometimes it shows up as a line of pain through the biceps, elbow and into the forearm) that happens when your arm is outstretched laterally and you rotate internally
- You have neck pain, especially pain near the cervical spine up to the occiput (skull)
- You have pinky side wrist issues
How to get the most out of this technique:
- Be willing to hunt around for the best spot – it will be a knot or lump, and in MOST people it’s higher up, but go ahead and check EVERYTHING from just above the elbow to just below the shoulder
- Once you find the spot, do NOT just roll your arm over the barbell in a massage-like manner; instead, focus on PINNING the adhesed piece of fascia to the barbell and use your arm movements to release it while doing your best to keep your humerus (bone) directly on the barbell
- If you do this right, you don’t need more than 10 back and forths, or approximately 20-30 seconds of pinning and releasing
- Look for 2 good spots, but DO rule out a third by trying another spot either below or above the other two (sometimes you might miss the BEST one, and if you do you’ll miss the best result)
- All in all, once you have this down, you’ll only need to spend a MAXIMUM of 3 minutes at the barbell pinning, releasing, taking a quick break and repeating 1-2 more times
- If you feel ANYTHING that resembles nerve pain COME OFF IMMEDIATELY. Nerve pain is sharp and shooting or electrical and you never want to stay on a nervy area