Are you looking for nothing short of a fantastic arm-shaping workout? If you're here, you must be just as frustrated as we are with the everyday arm "pump" that seems to vanish after repeatedly doing the same tricep movements. But fear not — this is where dumbbells come in handy!
Well, these exhaustive tricep exercises with dumbbells will help you work up a sweat and gain steel biceps right in the comfort of your home! No more excuses about not having access to the gym—this comprehensive list has everything.
Push yourself and make sure there's no muscle left untoned; from overhead press variations to Greek God-approved moves like skull crushers, we'll go through what it takes to get those arms bulking up in no time. Brace yourself for some intense burn—let's start pushing that iron!
Related Article: The Best Tricep Exercises for Beginners
Benefits of Doing Tricep Workouts with Dumbbell
Doing tricep workouts with dumbbells at home can be highly comfortable, but with that, it also has more benefits to enlighten your day. Here are some gains you need to know to add tricep exercises to your routine.
Strengthening your triceps muscles can help improve your posture by keeping your shoulders from slouching forward and lifting your chest higher, creating an upright position.
Better Elbow Health
By strengthening the triceps muscles, you can help to protect and support the elbow joint. The muscles support the tendons that attach to the elbow joint in this area, so building up the strength of these muscles will lead to a stronger elbow joint overall and better health for this particular area.
Enhances Shoulder Health
The long head of the triceps, in combination with all other muscles connected to the shoulder blade, plays an essential role in enhancing shoulder health and wellness.
It is instrumental in providing stability, improving range of motion, and promoting strength. Strengthening the long head of the triceps can help to fortify the shoulders, helping to prevent injuries or impairments from occurring.
Incorporating exercises that target the triceps muscles can make all the difference when it comes to pressing plateaus.
Building size and strength in this area will help you power through your bench or overhead press, enabling you to lift heavier weights more quickly. Doing so will increase your lockout strength and give you added confidence when attempting maximum efforts.
Not only is it easier to find the time in your schedule if you’re taking the exercise class down the hall (the one called “My Living Room”), but you can also tailor your routine to fit into smaller spaces or limited equipment, if necessary. So grab some dumbbells, turn on some tunes, and get ready for toned triceps - from the comfort of your couch!
Related Article: Weighted Dips: Your Ultimate Solution to Building Your Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps Muscles
Muscles Worked by Triceps Exercises
Triceps exercises target multiple muscles in the arm area to add muscle and tone the shape and strength of the specific area. Here are the muscles that tricep exercises work.
The long head of the triceps is found on the posterior side of the upper arm, sometimes referred to as the inner head. It is the largest of all three heads and can be easily targeted when exercising. This muscle extends the elbow and performs horizontal arm abduction movements.
The lateral head of the biceps is essential to achieve a toned and attractive look, particularly from the sides. It is often referred to as the outer head, and it is noticeably smaller than the long head of the biceps. This muscle group can be effectively trained to shape and tone the arms, providing a well-rounded aesthetic.
The medial head of the triceps is the most minor but vital muscle. It lies deep within the triceps and is essential for various exercises. Though it may not be externally visible, it's vital to isolate and strengthen this muscle to achieve optimal triceps strength.
Workouts that target and reinforce the medial head can support solid and robust triceps and improve overall muscular balance. It can add effects with Whey Isolate Supplements and enhance muscle mass in your arms.
Related Article: 5 Triceps Extensions Variations to Try for Strengthening Your Arms in 2023
Best Tricep Exercises with Dumbbells
Here are the 6 best tricep exercises with dumbbells that you can try at home and add to your routine for better body shape, toned and muscular arms, and improved body health.
Incline Dumbbell French Press
The incline dumbbell french press is a real upper-body burner - don't be fooled by its fancy name! Not only does it target the long head of your triceps, but it isolates those muscles for the full effect.
Granted, the incline angle does put those shoulders through their paces, too - so you get a great full-body workout with this little gem. But if you're serious about honing in on triceps strength, the french press can quickly become your go-to move. Give it a go and see what all the fuss is about!
Here’s how to do it,
- Grab a set of adjustable dumbbells and lie down on an incline bench, which is adjusted to an angle between 30 and 45 degrees.
- With both palms facing each other, raise the dumbbells straight above your head; ensure that your elbows are kept stable throughout the exercise.
- Next, slowly lower the weight behind your head and hold for a second before contracting your triceps to extend your arms back up.
- This is one complete repetition.
- Aim to complete three sets of eight to twelve reps with rest periods ranging from one to two minutes in-between sets.
Dumbbell Behind the Neck Triceps Extension
The dumbbell behind the neck triceps targets the long and lateral heads of your tricep muscle group, helping you build strength and size in that region like no other.
Sure, it may take a little getting used to at first as you adjust to not merely holding the weight but also finding balance while doing so - but with a bit of practice, you'll be seeing impressive gains in no time.
Here’s how to do it,
- Start by grasping the weight with both hands and standing upright with good posture.
- Keep your elbows slightly bent before lifting the dumbbells behind your head.
- Next, carefully push them upward until your arms are fully extended, and hold for a second.
- After that, slowly lower the weights back down to the starting position and focus on keeping your elbows steady throughout the entire motion.
- Aim for three sets of 8-10 repetitions to optimize strength and muscle mass.
Dumbbell One-Arm Triceps Extension
Ditch the same old bilateral bicep curls and give the dumbbell single-arm tricep a try. Isolating the long head with this unilateral movement, it's a great way to specifically target one arm at a time, so you can focus your gym session on developing your weaker side - because we all know how much that "lagging arm" annoys us.
Plus, you get to spruce up your everyday workout routine. Did someone say easy peasy lemon squeezy?
How to do it,
- Start sitting on the edge of a flat bench and grasping a dumbbell in your right hand.
- Straighten your arm above your shoulder, then bend your elbow behind the head while keeping your back flat.
- This position is the starting point for this exercise.
- Focus on engaging your tricep muscles as you extend and straighten out your arm as far as it will go.
- Pausing slightly before bringing it back to its original point of origin.
- Do three sets of 8-12 reps each for optimal results.
Neutral Grip Dumbbell Bench Press
Narrow grip pressing has been known for helping lifters build massive triceps, and it's no wonder why. This variation of the standard dumbbell press moves the levers of muscle building in your favor, giving you a two-pronged approach to mass gain.
Not only do you get all the benefits inherent to dumbbell exercises like a wide range of motion and no spotter necessary - but you also reap the gains from mimicking close grip bench press.
Targeting your triceps' lateral and medial heads means more ways to pack on mass quickly. So don't ignore this great tool – give a narrow grip pressing a shot for your next tricep workout.
To do it,
- Pick the pair of dumbbells in your hands, keep a neutral grip, and sit down on the bench.
- Lay down on the bench and hold the dumbbells close to your chest.
- Now raise your arms and, almost locking your elbows, hold the dumbbells straight over your head.
- Slowly lower the dumbbells about the level of your chest.
- Contracting the chest muscles, push the dumbbells back to the starting position.
- Repeat for the desired number of reps.
JM Dumbbell Presses
If you thought, like so many of us, that bench press was only good for targeting your pecs and shoulders, think again! Thanks to the incredible JM Blakeley - three-time bench press world champion.
With shoulder flexion and extension included in the mix as well, you’re essentially hitting all three heads of the tricep - pretty impressive! In short, this hybrid should not be overlooked if you want to work extra hard during your arm training day with minimal risk of injury.
To do it,
- Begin the exercise by setting up on a flat dumbbell bench press with a pronated (overhand) grip.
- Slowly bend your arms at the elbow and extend your shoulders back to initiate the movement.
- After a few inches of movement, alter the dumbbell's path and move them closer to your neck by flexing the elbows and pivoting at the shoulder joint.
- Throughout this part of the exercise, keep your elbows raised.
- Once the dumbbells reach your neck area, quickly punch them back toward the starting position with great force.
Tricep kickbacks are one of those exercises that gets a lot of shade thrown at it from people who say it doesn't do much. And, yes, other triceps exercises can cover more ground.
But this doesn’t make tricep kickbacks completely useless. Because it contracts the long head and adducts the upper arm, you’re aiming directly at that backside muscle in your arm to give it the attention it deserves - something which other dumbbell exercises don't offer up in quite the same way.
To do it,
- Start by positioning your body on the adjustable bench parallel to the ground on a supportive surface, leaning with one hand for stability.
- With your elbow tucked in close to your side and shoulder extended, form a neutral grip around the dumbbell handle.
- The weight should be just below your elbow when you start the exercise.
- Next, extend your elbow, engaging and contracting your triceps as much as possible while keeping the upper arm adducted and extended.
- Once finished with this contraction, lower the dumbbell to its starting point below the elbow.
Related Article: 12-Week Workout Plan to Build Strong and Chiseled Triceps
Six triceps exercises with a dumbbell can help you build muscle and strength in the comfort of your home. Dumbbell is accessible equipment that can be used for workouts at home.
Triceps exercises have numerous benefits, like improving posture, elbow health, shoulder health, lockout strength, and home comfort. These exercises work on the long head, lateral head, and medial head muscles and include incline dumbbell french press, dumbbell behind the neck, dumbbell one-arm tricep extension, neutral grip dumbbell bench, JM dumbbell presses, and dumbbell kickbacks.
These exercises work your triceps and bring the best possible effects in the comfort of your home, doing anywhere just with a pair of dumbbells. Get on now and get the best upper body!
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- Farias, Déborah de Araújo, et al. ‘Maximal Strength Performance and Muscle Activation for the Bench Press and Triceps Extension Exercises Adopting Dumbbell, Barbell, and Machine Modalities Over Multiple Sets’. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, vol. 31, no. 7, July 2017, pp. 1879–87. PubMed, https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0000000000001651