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Tricep Exercises with Dumbbells

Updated on September 2, 2011
Bodybuilder doing one arm triceps extension
Bodybuilder doing one arm triceps extension

   The triceps are a very important muscle to work whether its to assist you in bench pressing or put some strength and size to your arms. A lot of people think of the bicep as the main show off muscle but the triceps are actually stronger and make your arm look bigger. There are numerous exercises you can do for the triceps with dumbbells. All of them require to have good form and the correct weight. Remember without good form and you are wasting time at the gym or at home. You will want to feel your triceps burn when doing these exercises to give them a good pump. Depending on your goals whether its to tone or bulk up do the correct range of repetitions. If you want to get more cut/ripped do 15-20 repetitions. On the other hand do 8-12 for bulking up the muscle.

   One of the great exercises for the triceps is the "Triceps extension". You can do this with either one dumbbell or two dumbbells. It may be easier with one dumbbell however because form is easier to maintain than it is with two. Pick a weight you are comfortable with but is challenging. You want the right weight but make it hard on yourself just no so hard that you can not perform the exercise with proper form or can't meet enough reps.

   The first way of doing a triceps extension is with one dumbbell while standing up. To perform this exercise position one dumbbell overhead with both hands under inner plate. This is what you could call a heart shape grip. Simply holding the dumbbell at the collar is not effective and you could drop the weight easier. It does not work the triceps like its supposed to. Now lower the weight behind the neck and raise it up until the muscle contracts above your head. (repeat) Keep in mind to have proper form and make sure your going low enough.

   A variation of this exercise is sitting or laying down. Some people like to sit down and have there back supported when performing the exercise. This is essentially the same thing as standing its just what you feel more comfortable with.

   Now the laying down triceps extension is similar, but you may find it harder because you're in a position that is isolating it more. So whatever weight you are doing with standing or sitting you will want to lower the weight slightly. When performing this exercise lay down on a bench and do the same thing as a normal triceps extension. This may require someone to hand you the dumbbell since you are laying down.  Lower the weight and rise above your head and repeat. Remember to keep a heart sharped grip.

triceps kick back illustration
triceps kick back illustration

Tricep kickbacks

   The triceps kickback is a great exercise when finishing up on a triceps workout. It should be the last exercise performed for the most part. This exercise can not be done with very heavy weight so again pick a weight that's suitable for your goals and needs while attaining good form. For example, if you do 50 lb dumbbell triceps extensions then you may need to use 15-20 lbs for this exercise. This numbers may not be exact but is just rule of thumb that it is significantly lower poundage.

   To perform this exercise you will need  a bench to support yourself on. Kneel over the bench with one arm in front of you for support. With the other arm grasp the dumbbell off the floor and extend arm behind you until straight then lower and repeat. This motion will have your forearm extended while feeling a burn in your triceps.

Triceps for improvement

   Triceps are not just for getting bigger arms or toner arms but for also helping exercises like the bench press. You may be stuck in a rut because your triceps can't press the weight up but these triceps exercises will help you succeed. Which in turn will help you get a bigger and more defined chest. See how doing simple supplementary can benefit you in the long run. Just remember to get proper rest and nutrition and drink plenty of water or efforts will not be as effective.

Arnold Schwarzenegger doing one arm dumbbell extension
Arnold Schwarzenegger doing one arm dumbbell extension


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