Eight Best Dumbbell Exercises for Your Triceps


Eight Best Dumbbell Exercises for Your Triceps

The triceps muscles get a bad rap. They’re sometimes dismissed as showy beach muscles, along for the ride while the biceps do all of the work.

In reality, the triceps are the engines of everyday movement, playing a key role in the extension of the elbow joint and the straightening of the arm, working with the lats to bring the arm toward the body. Try swinging a bat, racket, or golf club without the triceps. It can’t be done. Swimmers would be useless without the triceps pulling them through the water. Basketball players could not get off a jump shot.

The three-headed triceps brachii muscle makes up roughly two-thirds of the mass of your upper arm and plays such a key role in movement that at least one study has been done breaking down what each of the three parts of the triceps does during elbow extension.

The triceps deserve equal time in the gym even if they were valued solely for aesthetic reasons. With this dumbbell workout, we’ll work through four sets of these eight moves in a circuit fashion to produce triceps that will look awesome and handle the burdens of everyday life.  We will alternate between pushing and pulling movements, so we can produce maximum results with minimal time and equipment, resting only briefly between sets.

Skull Crushers

What it does: One of the most familiar triceps moves, it’s also one of the most effective. Not only does it work the triceps directly it also builds coordination between the upper back and tris.

How to do it: Lie supine on a bench and lower the dumbbells until your elbows are bent 90 degrees. Then pull back to starting position.

How many? 4 sets of 10 reps.

Renegade Rows

What it does: It’s a simple yet challenging move that hits the triceps and also the biceps, back, and shoulders.

How to do it: Start in the top position of a pushup with your hands on dumbbells shoulder-width apart. Row one dumbbell toward the side of your body while balancing on the opposite hand and feet. Pause for one second at the top and return the weight slowly to the start position. Repeat on the other side.

How many? 4 sets of 10 reps to each side.

One-Arm Overhead Extension

What it does: Similar to Skull Crushers, it further isolates the triceps.

How to do it: Hold a dumbbell and raise your arm behind your head with the elbow bent. Extend the elbow to point the arm straight overhead. Repeat for 10 reps with one hand and switch hands.

How many? 4 sets of 10 reps to each side.

Diamond Pushups

What it does: By performing pushups from this position, you take a traditional chest/bicep move and make it a triceps exercise.

How to do it: Assume pushup position grabbing dumbbells placed at a 45-degree angle. Push up using the triceps.

How many? 4 sets of 10 reps.

Tate Press

What it does: It targets the triceps from a non-traditional in a bench press-like maneuver.

How to do it: Lie supine on a bench with dumbbells in each hand. Arms should be extended over your chest and palms facing the floor. Point the elbows out and bend them to lower the weights nearly to the chest, forming L shapes. Extend the elbows to starting position.

How many? 4 sets of 10.

Waiter’s Walk

What it does: Waiting tables might not land you a movie role. But it could give you better triceps, as well as overall core stability.

How to do it: Grab a dumbbell in one hand and hold it overhead. Keep your shoulder blades pulled back and down and fire your glutes as you walk. Keep your wrists straight, as if you were waiting tables and holding a tray. Walk 10 yards out and 10 yards back. Switch hands and repeat. Like the farmer’s carry, you’ll soon increase distance and weight.

How many? 4 sets.

Dumbbell Upright Row

What it does: It’s a simple, familiar yet effective compound movement that challenges the triceps while also strengthening and stabilizing the shoulders and upper back.

How to do it: Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding dumbbells palms down in front of your body. While keeping the shoulder blades back and chest up, raise dumbbells vertically, lifting elbows to the ceiling. Return to starting position.

How many? 4 sets of 10.

Standing Kickbacks

What it does: It targets the triceps while promoting core stability.

How to do it: Stand holding dumbbells. Glide your hips back, lowering your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor. Turn your palms to face in front of you and, while keeping the upper arms against your sides, extend your elbows until your arms are parallel to your torso.

How many? 4 sets of 10 to each side.

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