Have you ever before read a blog post, or heard human being talking in the gym, about muscle agonists/antagonists and also wondered what lock mean? I’d favor to aid you out with that. In this quick blog post, I simply want to carry your attention to some frequently used lingo to make you a an ext informed climber. I’ll give you a an easy example, specify what agonists and also antagonists are, and then talk around two climbing-specific examples. However first, here are a couple of other clarifications.

You are watching: What muscles are antagonists of the triceps brachii

Skeletal Muscle Function:

Skeletal muscles create movement through pulling on our skeleton. A muscle is usually linked to 2 bones, and when the muscle contracts, it brings one bone closer come the other (and just to be clear, a muscle contraction is a fancy means of speak “flex” as in “flex your muscle.”) once one bone is carried closer come another, this creates movement.

Concentric, Eccentric, and also Isometric Muscle Contractions:

There are three varieties of muscle contractions that we will concern ourselves with here:


Concentric muscle contractions are when a muscle is shortened.Eccentric muscle contractions are once a muscle is lengthened.Isometric muscle contractions are when a muscle is no moving, yet held in constant length.

To give an instance we require to focus on one muscle therefore we stop confusion. Let’s take the Biceps Brachii (biceps) for example, and also discuss a biceps curly exercise. When you lift the weight up, girlfriend flex at the elbow, happen the forearm closer to the upper arm, and also shorten the biceps. This is a concentric muscle activation. As soon as you progressively lower the weight back down in a controlled fashion, you lengthen the biceps, prolonging at the elbow, and also move the forearm far from the top arm. This is one eccentric muscle activation. As soon as you hold the weight at 90˚ of flexion without moving it, her biceps is isometrically activated.

Osteokinematics – Actions at the Joints:

In order to relocate the body, you require to relocate your skeleton’s joints. A share will have at least two muscles crossing that to have the ability to move in one of two people direction (assuming that only has two directions.) let’s again look at the elbow joint since it is a basic hinge share with just one plane of motion. When you “bend her elbow,” you decrease the angle in between the forearm and also upper arm. This is flexion the the joint, and also the biceps brachii is energetic to perform the motion. When you “straighten your arm,” enhancing the angle in between the forearm and upper arm, this is expansion of the joint, and the triceps brachii is active to do the motion.


Agonists and also Antagonists:

When pointing out movement at a joint, the muscle performing the action on one next of the share is referred to as the agonist, and the muscle ~ above the various other side the the joint with the potential to oppose the activity is referred to as the antagonist. Basically agonists and antagonists are simply opposites. In ours elbow joint example, let’s look at flexion and extension separately. Once we flex the elbow, the biceps is the agonist due to the fact that is causes the elbow come flex. The triceps is the antagonist due to the fact that it is ~ above the opposite side of the elbow joint and has the potential to protest the elbow flexion. Now, if we room talking around active elbow extension, the triceps is the agonist because it reasons the action, and also the biceps is the antagonist. This might sound confusing so let me clarify. One muscle have the right to be the agonist because that one movement, yet the antagonist for another movement. It just depends top top what you’re discussing. Yet that’s basically it: The agonist muscle contract to carry out the motion, and the antagonist muscle have the right to oppose that motion. These terms are just a construct to assist us talk around biomechanics, however I hope that currently it’s a little bit clearer. Agonist and antagonist muscles merely oppose each other’s action. Think that it an ext simply together “opposing muscle groups.”

In these two pictures below, we view the forearm flexors and also extensors each together a entirety group. They are opposing muscle groups, and either work as agonists or antagonists for a offered movement. They can also work together synergists to accomplish an in its entirety goal. Ns will sophisticated on the in the next section.


Agonists and also Antagonists working Together:

Realistically, activity is never ever a pure sense of agonist vs. Antagonist, however instead it exists more like a collective effort to achieve an action. To usage a climbing-specific example, as soon as you hold a crimp on the wall, your finger and also wrist flexors space working overtime to store you top top the hold. Yet what you may not notification is that your wrist extensor muscle are additionally firing to store your wrist in ~ the optimal angle for maximum tight strength. This angle is around 30-35 levels of wrist extension.1 for this reason in this case, the a static hold (isometric muscle contraction) whereby the muscle group on one side of the share works together with the muscle on the various other side to execute the task. In this case, friend could call them synergists. The flexors are the main muscles flexing her fingers and also keeping girlfriend on the wall, and the wrist extensors are energetic to oppose extreme wrist flexion (and preserving optimal wrist flexion because that max grip.) If the weren’t for the extensor muscles, her wrist would just fold into full flexion, and you have the right to imagine exactly how ineffective that would certainly be because that climbing (see image below.) This is why it’s vital to execute exercises that promote wrist extensor strengthening, come ensure a proper muscular balance and also healthy climbing! mountain climbing who have over-bearing forearm flexor muscles in relationship to the extensor muscles (especially brand-new climbers that are currently addicted come climbing,) space at a threat of arising elbow pain. Remain tuned. I’ll carry out a different blog post about that issue in the close to future.


Don’t Forget Those Triceps!

For the second climbing-specific example, I want to mention one more opposing muscle team balance the is vital for every climber. Mountain climbing are really biceps-dominant due to the nature and mechanics of ours sport. If you’ve ever seen a video or picture of Tommy Caldwell through a twin undercling ~ above El Cap, he’s basically bicep curling the earth (see screenshot below). However it’s likewise the basic movement of pulling increase on a hold. She demanding a the majority of your elbow flexors to do the task, so it is imperative the you additionally strengthen her triceps muscles to keep a healthy and balanced balance overall. Over there are many climbing techniques that require heavy triceps task like mantles, and pushing indigenous a gaston, yet this reminder to strengthen her triceps is directed much more toward injury prevention and avoiding muscle imbalances in her body. So as soon as you’re at the gym not forgetting foot day, don’t forget those triceps either.

See more: What Are Candy Wrappers Made Of, Can Candy Wrappers Be Recycled


I hope this brief short article was helpful, and also if girlfriend have any type of other questions, don’t hesitate to email me. And also if you climb at Mesa in salt in mountain Diego, come grab me at the gym come chat!

Follow Matt:

basebklyn1 (https://www.instagram.com/basebklyn1/)

Contact Matt:


Neumann DA, Kelly ER, Kiefer CL, Martens K, Grosz CM. Kinesiology the the Musculoskeletal System : structures for Rehabilitation.