Tricep extensions, french press...do you know all the dumbbell tricep exercises?

There are actually a few more that are very effective to build big arms... After all, triceps are 3/5 of your upper arm!

Dumbbell Tricep Exercises One Arm Extension StartI am sure that you are quite familiar with dumbbell tricep workouts, have you already done all of them?

  • Overhead Tricep Extension
  • One Arm Tricep Extension
  • Tricep Kickback
  • Close Grip Dumbbell Press
  • Dumbbell French Press

Dumbbell Tricep Exercises: Overhead Tricep Extension

Let's start from my favorite, the overhead tricep extension. I like this because it doesn't hurt my left elbow. I have never done any x-ray (because it doesn't really hurt), but there's something in there that bugs me.

During most of the dumbbell tricep exercises I feel a "pop" in my left elbow that I don't like, but the overhead extension is ok. No issues.

The initial position is like you see in the left picture. Sit upright on a bench, feet flat on the floor and grab a dumbbell. Hold it with both hands behind your head.

Note that the upper arms are vertical, they don't bend backwards.

From there, lift the weight over your head extending your arms (tricep extension). This is the final position.

Dumbbell Tricep Exercises - Overhead Extension Start
Dumbbell Tricep Exercises - Overhead Extension Finish

It's a very effective exercise for triceps. I just did it the other day after a period that I wasn't doing it (muscle confusion), and still two days after my arms hurt. That means it was a very good workout!

Note: don't move or swing the upper arms, they should stay still the whole duration of the exercise.

One Arm Tricep Extension

This is a variation of the overhead extension, just with one arm. You can use the free hand to support the elbow that is doing the work, it's like being your own spotter.

Dumbbell Tricep Exercises - One Arm Extension Start
Dumbbell Tricep Exercises - One Arm Extension Finish

Again, the upper arms must stay still and vertical.

Tricep Kickback

Tricep kickback is one of those dumbbell tricep exercises that, if done correctly, will not allow you to use heavy weights.

I said "done correctly" because it seems that most people cheat when they do kickbacks.

Place one knee on a flat bench and bend forward till you are more or less 90 degrees and place the hand from the same side on the bench like in the picture on the left.

Grab a dumbbell and lift it till your upper arm is horizontal and your elbow forms a 90 degree angle.

At this point extend the elbow as much as you can without moving the upper arm.

Do your number of reps and repeat with the other arm.

Dumbbell Tricep Exercises - Kickback Start
Dumbbell Tricep Exercises - Kickback Finish

Trust me, if you've never done this exercise you'll be surprise of how hard it is, especially if you expect to be able to use the same weight that you use for the one arm tricep extension.

Many cheat because they swing the upper arm...but that way there is not much workout on the triceps.

Don't be embarrassed to use small weights, it's normal. It's important to be able to extend your elbow completely!

Close Grip Dumbbell Press

This is the close grip barbell press done with dumbbells.

Lay down on a flat bench, feet stable on the floor. Grab two dumbbells and keep your elbows adherent to your body (close grip). The weights are just above your lower chest.

Push up the dumbbells vertically, extending the elbows and maintaining the close grip. This is the final position.

Dumbbell Tricep Exercises - Close Grip Press Start
Dumbbell Tricep Exercises - Close Grip Press Finish

Note: palms face each other the whole time.

Dumbbell French Press

The last of our dumbbell tricep exercises is the french press, also known as skull crusher when done with a barbell or EZ-bar).

It looks similar to the pullover for chest muscles, but there is a substantial difference: the upper arms should not move or swing.

Lay down on a flat bench, and stay with your head at the edge. Grab two dumbbells and extend your arms upright above your head. They almost touch.

Then lower the weights keeping the upper arms still...and don't hit your head! This is why it's also called skull crusher.

Yes I know, in my right picture I lower the weights too much, but I noticed later. You get the point though.

Dumbbell Tricep Exercises - French Press Finish
Dumbbell Tricep Exercises - French Press Start

Looking to Buy Dumbbells? Here Some Ideas

I realize that not everybody can have a set of N dumbbells at home, because the truth is...they take a lot of room. That's why, if you're looking to buy dumbbells to use at home, I strongly recommend the following types. My favourites are the Bowflex adjustable dumbbells, even though I have different types. In fact, they're not the only ones out there. For example I have a different type of adjustable dumbbells, those where you add the plates to obtain the desired weight. I prefer the Bowflex dumbbells because you can change the weight in one "click". I had a chance to use the last model I showed you when I trained in a hotel gym...here is the actual pair I used:
 

 

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