Tate Press Exercise – Increase Your Pressing Numbers

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What Is A Tate Press? 

The Tate press – named after elite powerlifter, Dave Tate – is a triceps isolation exercise. It can help you to improve any pressing movement in your workout routine.

With compound exercises like bench presses (for example the Larsen press) and overhead lifts, bigger muscle groups like the pecs (chest muscles) and delts (shoulder muscles) do most of the work. Therefore, can get overpowered in comparison to the triceps.

This muscle only comes into play to a limited extent. To avoid and address triceps weaknesses and imbalances, it is important to utilize triceps isolation training.

Isolation exercises like the Tate press not only build triceps muscle mass and strength but can also help to prevent injury at your elbows caused by weak muscles and excessive loading on your joints.

How To Do A Tate Press

Tate press instructions:

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do the Tate press with dumbbells. Depending on what feels best for your shoulders and elbows you can perform this isolation exercise on a flat bench or incline bench.

Step 1: Lie Down

First, place yourself in a lying position with dumbbells over the chest at full arm extension – palms forward, thumbs next to each other, and elbows pointed outwards. This is your starting position.

Tip: Adjust the degree of your outward pointed elbows to what feels best for your shoulders and elbows.

Step 2: Bend Your Elbows

From the starting position, begin the exercise by bending your elbows (keep them pointed outwards). Do not move the shoulders during the movement. Pin your shoulders blades together against the bench.

Lower the dumbbells and bring your thumbs to the middle of your chest.

Step 3: Extend Your Elbows

Without moving your shoulders and involving your chest muscles, extend your elbows and bring the dumbbells to the starting position.

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Benefits Of The Tate Press

Here are the main benefits of adding the Tate press to your workout program:

Build More Triceps Muscle Mass And Strength

The Tate press targets your triceps and stimulates hypertrophy. The goal of hypertrophy is to efficiently fatigue the muscle.

So, focus on proper loading and correct technique, rather than using too much weight and not being able to maintain good form. This is especially important when performing isolation exercises like the Tate press.

Therefore, use a weight that is challenging but still allows correct form. This way, the result of this exercise will be muscle growth of your triceps.

Enhanced Bench Press Performance

The Tate press leads to more strength and muscle mass of your triceps head, which is primarily used during the bench press (like the Larsen press) and other compound presses (like overhead pressing). This results in improved performance and increased lockout strength.

Here, you benefit from isolated triceps training by being able to overload the triceps specifically. In comparison to compound movements, where your chest and shoulders carry most of the load, while the triceps is assisting and activated secondarily.

Most people aren’t aware that weak triceps can lead to bench press plateau and imbalances in strength. Avoid this by targeting the triceps specifically through isolation exercises like the Tate press.

Increase Blood Flow To Elbow Joint And Connective Tissues

To feel your muscles get pumped up, use lighter weights, control your motion, and do a lot of reps (high-reps).

The high-reps that focus on muscle isolation help to boost blood flow to the local muscular and connective tissues.

The high-rep sets help to push blood flow into your muscles, improve circulation, and can help keep your elbow joints healthy.

Muscles Worked By The Tate Press

The Tate press is an isolation exercise that targets the triceps. As an isolated pressing exercise, it builds triceps strength and muscle.


All three heads of the triceps extend the elbow joint. The Tate press is working the medial head – triceps brachii medial (the long head) and therefore improves pressing strength and stimulates hypertrophy.

In pushing movements, especially at the top part of the bench press (Larsen Press for example), the triceps extend your elbow.

It is important to target the long head of the triceps because it contributes to triceps size and normally, during presses worked secondarily – not specifically.


Your shoulders maintain your position during the Tate press. However, your shoulders should not be responsible for any movement or pressing.



Tate Press Workout – Sets And Reps

Depending on your fitness level and goals, you can perform the Tate press as part of your upper body workout routine. To help you build stronger, healthier triceps and elbows, do the exercise after your main strength training (like bench press, Larsen press, etc.).

As with any other exercise, it is important to start light and gradually increase the weight as you get stronger – focus on the right form.

Change up your training and keep your muscles stimulated by alternating your rep range over time.

You can train the Tate press as well as smaller muscles in general with lighter weights for higher reps. This drives a lot of blood flow to the elbows and connective tissues at the elbow joint.

Tate Press – To Build Muscles

Perform three to five sets of eight to 15 reps with moderate to heavy weight. It is also possible to do two to four sets of 10 to 15 reps with a moderate weight until failure -> Rest time = 45 to 90 seconds between sets.

Tate Press – To Build More Strength

This triceps exercise can be utilized to build strength but single joint movements like the Tate press will more likely assist you in developing your overall strength.

Aim for two to five sets of five to 10 reps with heavier weight and correct form to avoid injury and elbow pain.

Tate Press Variations 

Despite performing the Tate press with a flat bench and dumbbells, there are more ways to do the exercise. Below are two Tate press variations that offer slightly different benefits.

Incline Tate Press

In comparison to the flat bench Tate press, the incline Tate press offers an increased range of motion. This delivers a bigger weighted stretch and can result in increased muscle hypertrophy.

A controlled movement can also help to increase joint and connective tissue health.

Resistance Band Tate Press

The resistance band Tate press is performed by extending your elbows against the band’s tension. You can anchor the bands under the bench or on the floor.

If dumbbell Tate presses are uncomfortable for you, the resistance band Tate press is a good option. This exercise provides overloads of the triceps in different ranges of motion.

Elbows extend -> increase tension and external loading

Deeper ranges of elbow flexion -> at the same time, decrease the loading


Tate Press Alternatives

Below you find great Tate press alternatives, that provide you with triceps-specific exercises.

Skull Crusher

The skull crusher is performed using a curl bar, dumbbells, or bands while lying flat on a bench. It is possible to do this exercise with an incline as well.

Similar to the Tate press you do the skull crusher exercise by bending the elbows. Also, the emphasis of this exercise lies on the long head of the triceps.

Dumbbell JM Press

The dumbbell JM press is in comparison to a normal JM press (variation of the skull crusher) not performed with a bar, but with dumbbells.

The dumbbell JM press and the JM press allow you to overload your tricep with heavier loads.

Triceps Pushdowns

The triceps pushdown is a tricep isolation exercise. By doing this exercise in high volumes you ensure an increase in triceps elbow extension performance, muscle mass, and blood flow to your joints and connective tissues.

Overhead Triceps Extensions

The overhead triceps extension targets the long head of the triceps as well. Making it a good alternative to the Tate press and delivering a growing triceps size as a result.

History Of The Tate Press

Dave Tate, a legend in the powerlifting world, coined the Tate press. Being a partitioner in weight training and bodybuilding competitions in his teens, he became more interested in powerlifting as time went on. In his career, he’s done a 935lb squat, a 740lb deadlift, and a 610lbd bench press.

Final Words

The Tate press helps you in developing and giving attention specifically to your triceps. Training it isolated with the different variations and alternatives – not just in compound movements, will result in bigger and stronger triceps without overstressing your joints.

A strong and powerful triceps will enable you to get more out of your pressing movements.

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