Tricep Extension for Tricep Workout

There are several tricep extension exercises that you can do when you go to the gym, the most common are:

  • One arm dumbbell extension
  • Overhead dumbbell extension
  • Overhead cable extension

What all of them have in common is that you have to fully extend your elbow overhead with a weight (in the last case provided by the cable).

As I said somewhere else, I prefer to use the cable. I can't give you the scientific explanation, but I just know that the cable extension doesn't hurt my elbow joint like lifting a dumbbell does.

Maybe it's because of the constant resistance provided by the cable?

Who knows, but it works for me!

One Arm Dumbbell Tricep Extension

For the time that I could do the overhead one-arm extension with dumbbell it worked great and I notice a visible increase in size of my triceps.

This is also what personal trainers usual put on your workout program to train your triceps as it stresses those muscle a lot and it brings good results.

With this exercise you work the whole triceps, especially the external tricep.



SECONDARY MUSCLES: Shoulders, Forearms

EQUIPMENT: Flat Bench, Dumbbell

TYPE: Isolation


Something that probably you wouldn't notice is that with this exercise you work your shoulders too, as well as forearms, but just as an auxiliary muscle.

One Arm Dumbbell Tricep Extension


INITIAL POSITION: Seated on a bench, grasp a dumbbell with hammer grip. Bring the dumbbell up extending your arm above your head. With the other hand you can hold arm to keep that position.

MOVEMENT: Bend your elbow lowering the weight behind your head as much as you can. Slowly lift the weight till you fully extend your arm again reaching the initial position. Contract your tricep and then repeat.

BREATHING: Inhale while you lower the dumbbell and exhale while you lift it.

TIPS and ERRORS: As I said, I suggest you to hold the arm that is working out with your other hand. This will help you to balance better and find a stable position. Keep your back straight, even better if you use bench with back pad to support. Allow your elbow the be a little bit wide open to follow a more natural movement.

Any personal trainer will tell you the same...

Dumbbell Tricep Extension Doesn't Allow You to Use Heavy Weights

Due to the Unnatural Position of the Weight as Opposed to the Elbow Articulation

I can definitely confirm this, as I explained above.

Use the cable if you have the same issue that I have.


If you want you can do this exercise working out both arms at the same time, but I don't like it and I you asked me to make you a workout routine I would just assign you the one-arm extension.

I prefer to have one hand free to hold my arm and balance more. Working out one arm at the time also lets me concentrate more on what I am doing.

The exercise can also be performed in a standing position.

Overhead Dumbbell Tricep Extension

You're probably wondering...isn't this the same as the one-arm dumbbell extension?


...but it's very similar and uses the same principle.

Basically you hold the dumbbell with both hands behind your head and lift the weight till your arms are fully extended and the triceps are contracted.

Dumbbell tricep extension

Seated dumbbell tricep extension

Overhead Cable Extension

The last tricep extesion exercise that we can consider being part of the same "family" uses the cable.

You will need:

  • Cable machine
  • Rope attachment or single handle

Standing position: With your back to the machine, step forward and keep one foot in front of the other while you bend forward to find the perfect stable position.

Seated position: just bring a bench to the cable machine.

With an overhead grip, grasp the rope attachment and fully extend your arms like in the picture below.

If you want to work out one arm at the time go ahead, you can use a single handle too if you prefer (that will give you a better grip).

Seated Cable Tricep Extension

Seated cable tricep extension

If you have some inventive you can experiment a bunch of tricep extension exercises, these are just the most common and the ones I do more often and proven to be effective for me and my body type.


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