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What Is Triple Extension?

The knees should extend and lock in a triple extension.
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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 14 July 2014
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Triple extension is a type of movement used in exercise training programs to promote explosiveness, the production of force in a specific direction. This movement involves three sets of joints: the ankles, the knees, and the hips. Performing a triple extension involves moving from a bent position, in which all joints are primed and ready for movement, to a fully extended position in which all joints are essentially locked. The motion can be performed during jumps, while weight lifting, or while using other resistance objects such as medicine balls.

Performing a triple extension involves a quick, sharp movement, which means the risk of injury is high if the motion is carried out incorrectly. This exercise is meant to mimic many of the movements common in sporting events, such as jumping in volleyball, lifting off during a ski jump, blocking a shot in basketball, or even diving for a ground ball in baseball. The triple extension is therefore a great way to prepare the body for such explosive movements by conditioning the muscles and ligaments for the sudden movement. Most athletes who include this exercise in their workout routines will perform several repetitions, often in various lifting or jumping scenarios.

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The simplest way to execute a triple extension is to grasp a barbell with the palms facing inward toward the body. The amount of weight one puts on the bar will vary depending on his or her ability level. With the bar hanging in the dead lift position — hanging with the arms fully extended downward — the lifter will thrust the ankles upward and the hips back. The knees should extend and lock, as should the ankles. The upward motion will provide an explosive movement that the muscles in the legs and the ligaments in the joints must support. The lifter will then return to the starting position with the ankles flexed, the knees slightly bent, and the hips relaxed.

During the triple extension motion, it is advisable to pronate the ankles slightly outward to reduce the risk of injury. This will ensure the ankles are in proper position to absorb the weight of the body as it returns to the starting position. The knees may also pronate slightly during the triple extension exercise. A lifter will perform this motion several times, and the exercise will become more difficult as more weight is added to the barbell; only advanced users should work with heavier weights.

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