Dumbbell Triceps Extension: How-To, Benefits & Variations

The tricep muscle is a crucial part of the upper arm and is often neglected in workout routines.

However, strengthening this muscle can lead to improved overall arm definition and functional strength.

Dumbbell tricep extensions are a simple and effective exercise for targeting the tricep muscle and can be easily incorporated into any workout routine.

In this article, we will discuss the importance of tricep exercises, the benefits of dumbbell tricep extensions, proper form, and variations of the exercise to help you achieve your fitness goals.

Anatomy of the Tricep Muscle

The triceps brachii muscle, commonly referred to simply as the tricep, is a large muscle located in the back of the upper arm.

It is responsible for extending the elbow, or straightening the arm.

It consists of 3 heads : the medial head, the lateral head and the long head and is responsible for 2/3 of upper arm mass.

medial, lateral, and the long head of tricep

Big Triceps make the arms look big, contrary to the popularity of big biceps, which are smaller in comparison.

Strengthening the tricep muscle can improve overall arm definition and functional strength, making it a crucial part of any upper body workout.

What Is Dumbbell Tricep Extension

The dumbbell triceps extension is a versatile movement that targets your tricep muscles by repetitively flexing the elbow joint against resistance.

The dumbbell triceps extension can be performed in several positions, such as standing, sitting, or lying down, and either flat or on an incline and decline position

The movement involves starting with the dumbbell above the head and lowering it behind the head until the arm is fully extended, and then raising it back to the starting position.

The exercise can be done using one arm at a time, or using both arms simultaneously.

The dumbbell tricep extension is a versatile exercise that can be easily incorporated into any workout routine to target the tricep muscle.

Muscles Worked During the Dumbbell Tricep Extension

The dumbbell overhead tricep extension is an isolation exercise rather than a compound motion. This makes it a great exercise for targeting your triceps.

The primary muscle group worked by the dumbbell tricep extension is your triceps.

There are a variety of secondary muscle groups that activates during tricep dumbbell extension are biceps, forearms, lats, abs (rectus abdominis)obliques, pecs, and traps (trapezius).

These secondary muscles engage to stabilize and support the motion.

Overall, the dumbbell tricep extension is an effective exercise for targeting and strengthening the tricep muscle, and can be easily adjusted to target other muscles as well.

Benefits of the Triceps Extension With Dumbbell

There are many exercises that work the triceps muscle along with other major muscles in the upper body, such as the push-up or the chest press.

But doing isolation exercises that target the triceps can help you build size and strength. Exercises such as the dumbbell tricep extension are an effective way to train the triceps.

Let’s have a look at some other benefits to performing tricep extensions with a dumbbell and having stronger tricep, including:

  • Strong triceps help with shoulder stability and improve your range of motion
  • Triceps main responsibilities are extending the elbow joint or simply straightening the arm
  • Strong triceps help keep your joints healthy, particularly your elbow joint.
  • Increase in overall arm strength, power, and endurance.
  • Allows you to lift heavier during other lifts like bench presses and shoulder presses.
  • Regularly doing tricep extensions can help the upper arm look better by making the muscles bigger and more defined.
  • Dumbbell tricep extension can be done either standing or seated, and can be performed using one arm at a time or with both arms simultaneously, making it a versatile exercise.

Standing Dumbbell Tricep Extension

The standing dumbbell tricep extension is a strength training exercise that targets the tricep muscle.

It is performed while standing and requires the use of a pair of dumbbells.

Standing overhead dumbbell tricep extension is a great way to add resistance and increase the intensity of your tricep workout.

Standing Dumbbell Tricep Extension

How To Do Standing Dumbbell Overhead Extension

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing in.
  2. Raise the dumbbells above your head, keeping your elbows close to your ears.
  3. Lower the dumbbells behind your head, bending at the elbow, until your forearms are parallel to the floor.
  4. Push the dumbbells back up to the starting position, straightening your elbows.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Dumbbell Tricep Extension Proper Form And Technique

It is important to know the proper form and technique that athletes and weight lifters uses when performing dumbbell tricep extensions. It will provide you with a better perspective on your form.

Here are some key points to keep in mind when performing the exercise:

  • Keep elbow close. People tend to flare their elbows outwards. This can put unnecessary stress on the shoulder as well as elbow joint.
  • Always remember that this is a tricep workout and not back training. Do not bend your back while pushing down the weights.
  • Always use weights that you can handle comfortably.
  • Always use the longest range of motion possible and control the dumbbells throughout the set.
  • Focus on using your tricep muscles to control the movement, avoiding swinging the weights or using momentum.
  • Keep the head in a fairly neutral position, don’t allow the neck to jut forward, as this may place excessive pressure on the cervical spine.
  • Exhale as you extend your arms, and inhale as you lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.

8 Best Ways To Do Triceps Dumbbell Overhead Extension

The dumbbell tricep extension and its variations are a great way to strengthen your triceps.

Here, I will introduce you to eight different ways to do triceps dumbbell extension exercises that you can incorporate into your triceps workout regime.

1. Seated Dumbbell Overhead Extension

If you’re looking for straightforward dumbbell overhead tricep extension to add to your routine, two arm dumbbell extension is a great staple exercise to get you started.

The seated dumbbell overhead tricep extension is a variation of the tricep extension and an exercise used to isolate the muscles of the triceps.

Overhead dumbbell extension exercises are particularly useful in targeting the long head of the triceps muscle.

Having a larger and denser long head will give you an overall appearance of a larger tricep.

Two Arm Dumbbell Extension

How To Do Seated Dumbbell Overhead Extension

  1. Sit on a flat bench, grab a dumbbell with both hands
  2. Lift the dumbbell until your arms are fully extended with palms facing the roof and elbows pointing forward.
  3. Bend at the elbows and squeeze your triceps, slowly lower the dumbbell behind your head.
  4. Slowly return to starting position and repeat the desired number of sets and reps.

2. One-Arm Overhead Dumbbell Triceps Extension

The one arm dumbbell overhead triceps extension is a single-joint exercise that targets the triceps while increasing stability throughout the core and the shoulder regions.

By using dumbbells instead of an EZ-bar for the overhead extension, you work each arm separately and ensure one stronger side isn’t carrying the weaker one, but it’s also worth doing the exercise with one arm at a time.

This lets you focus on perfect form in that one arm and allows for a greater range of motion.

One-Arm Overhead Dumbbell Triceps Extension

How To Do One-Arm Overhead Dumbbell Triceps Extension

  1. Stand shoulder width apart and lift a dumbbell overhead with your right hand.
  2. Hold it straight overhead with an overhand grip (palm facing forward).
  3. Keeping your upper arm right beside your head, lower the dumbbell behind your head and toward your left shoulder until your elbow forms a 90-degree angle.
  4. Then slowly lift it back to full arm extension. Repeat for as many reps and sets as desired.

Tips

  • Weight should move in a controlled manner.
  • The chin should remain parallel to the floor and the core should brace during the exercise.

3. Dumbbell Lying Triceps Extension

The dumbbell lying triceps extension is an excellent move to begin your triceps routine.

It can be beneficial for fixing imbalances in the triceps or rehabilitating from injury.

Dumbbell tricep extensions put no pressure on the wrists, so they are an alternative for people with wrist strain or injury.

Dumbbell Lying Triceps Extension

How To Do Dumbbell Lying Triceps Extension

  1. Lie on a flat bench with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Grasp a dumbbell in each hand and hold them directly above you with your palms facing inward (neutral grip) and your arms extended.
  3. Making sure that your upper arms and elbows are still, lower the dumbbell behind your head, feeling a stretch in your tricep muscles.
  4. Pause and squeeze the triceps, and then raise the dumbbells back to the starting position.

Tips

  • Keep your elbows close to your body.
  • Slowly lower the weights and do not use momentum

4. One-Arm Dumbbell Lying Triceps Extension

When doing a tricep workout with a dumbbell, there are plenty of single-arm exercises you can add to correct potential imbalances.

The One-arm lying dumbbell tricep extension is one of the best tricep exercises you can do because it stretches the muscle and allows for a full range of motion during the movement.

It’s a fantastic exercise for overall tricep development.

One-Arm Dumbbell Lying Triceps Extension

How To Do One-Arm Dumbbell Lying Triceps Extension

  1. Lie on a flat bench and hold a dumbbell in your right hand with an overhand grip. Extend your arm so that the dumbbell is straight up from your right shoulder.
  2. Without moving your upper arm, bend at the elbow to bring the dumbbell down to the side of your head.
  3. Exhale as you extend your elbow and push the dumbbell back up to the starting position.
  4. Complete as many reps as desired, then repeat with the left arm.

Tips

  • Only move your forearms, not your upper arm.
  • Do not lock out your elbow at the top of the movement.

5. Incline Dumbbell Tricep Extension

If you are looking to get bigger and stronger tricep, then the incline dumbbell tricep extension is what you need to add to your tricep workout routine.

It can be used by both those looking to build bigger triceps and those looking to increase their tricep strength.

The benefit of doing extension movements is that you can get a deeper stretch in the muscle to hopefully activate more muscle fibers.

Incline Dumbbell Tricep Extension

How To Do Incline Dumbbell Tricep Extension

  1. Grab a dumbbell in each hand and lie against an incline bench, face up, with your feet firmly planted on the floor.
  2. Extend your arms over your shoulders with your palms facing each other, and then slowly lower the dumbbells behind your head by bending your elbows.
  3. Hold this position for a count and then with a controlled motion raise your arms back up to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for as many reps and sets as desired.

Tips

  • Keep your upper arms fixed, with your elbows close to your head.
  • Do not use excessively heavyweight as this is dangerous for your elbows.

6. Decline Dumbbell Tricep Extension

The decline dumbbell tricep extension is a variation of the lying dumbbell tricep extension that adds a slight decline to the movement.

The decline tricep extension is a phenomenal exercise that can take your training and results to the next level.

It is more effective for two reasons: the use of a neutral grip and the location of the shoulders.

The benefit of doing decline extension movements is that you can get a deeper stretch in the muscle to hopefully activate more muscle fibers.

Decline Dumbbell Tricep Extension

How To Do Decline Dumbbell Tricep Extension

  1. Grab a dumbbell in each hand and lie against a decline bench with your feet firmly on pads.
  2. Extend your arms over your shoulders with your palms facing each other, and then slowly lower the dumbbells behind your head by bending your elbows.
  3. Hold this position for a count. Then, in a controlled motion, raise your arms back up to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for as many reps and sets as desired.

Tips

  • Keep your upper arms fixed, with your elbows close to your head.
  • At the top of the movement, do not lock out your elbows.

7. Lying Single Dumbbell Extension

The dumbbell lying triceps extension is an excellent move to begin your triceps routine.

Triceps extensions are isolation exercises, which means they use just one joint.

Lying Single Dumbbell Extension

How To Do Lying Single Dumbbell Extension

  1. Lie on a flat bench with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Grasp a dumbbell with both hands, securing it on one end with your hands flat and palms facing upward.
  3. Making sure that your upper arms and elbows are still, lower the dumbbell behind your head, feeling a stretch in your tricep muscles.
  4. Pause and squeeze the triceps, and then raise the dumbbell back to the starting position.

Tips

  • Focus on moving the weight with your triceps.
  • Keep your body as still as possible, moving only your forearms.

8. Two Arm Dumbbell Extension

The seated two-arm overhead dumbbell triceps extension is an isolation exercise that’s great for building and strengthening your triceps brachii.

When performing the seated two-arm overhead dumbbell triceps extension, keep your elbows close to your head. This will emphasize your triceps brachii.

Two Arm Dumbbell Extension.

How To Do Two Arm Dumbbell Extension

  1. Holding a dumbbell in each hand using a neutral grip, sit on a flat bench and both dumbbells should be above and slightly behind your head, with your arms straight.
  2. Engage your core and plant your feet flat on the ground.
  3. Keeping your elbows close to your head and pointing up towards the ceiling, inhale as you lower the dumbbells behind your head by flexing your elbows.
  4. Exhale as you raise the dumbbells by extending your elbows, keeping the rest of your body stationary.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Tips

  • Perform the exercise using a slow and controlled movement from start to finish.
  • Keep the head in a fairly neutral position, don’t allow the neck to jut forward, as this may place excessive pressure on the cervical spine.

FAQs

Seated Vs Standing Dumbbell Tricep Extensions

Both seated and standing dumbbell tricep extensions are effective exercises for targeting the tricep muscle.

The main difference between the two is the position of the body during the exercise.

Seated Dumbbell Tricep Extensions:

  • In this variation, you perform the exercise while seated on a bench or chair.
  • This position allows for greater stability and eliminates the need to balance, making it easier to focus on the tricep muscle during the exercise.
  • It is also a good option for those with balance issues or for those who are just starting out.

Standing Dumbbell Tricep Extensions:

  • In this variation, you perform the exercise while standing.
  • This requires more stability and balance, and engages the core muscles as well as the tricep muscle.
  • It is a good option for more advanced exercisers or for those who are looking for a more challenging workout.

Takeaway

The dumbbell triceps extension is a fantastic isolation exercise. It’s the perfect option to include in your triceps workouts, and you’ll definitely see a difference in your muscular development.

If you typically do either tricep pulldowns or tricep kickbacks, tricep extensions are a great alternative to add variety to your routine

Try out the different dumbbell tricep extension variations as well to see which one works best for you, or include them all for variety in your training.

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