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Tricep Kickbacks: How to Do Perfectly, Benefits & Variations

Thinking about that fat at the back of your upper arms? Try tricep kickbacks and their variations for building arms and targeting several upper-body muscle groups.

Daniel Murphy
Tricep Kickbacks: How to Do Perfectly, Benefits & Variations
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Are you looking to work on your arms? If so, tricep kickbacks are an excellent exercise to strengthen and tone your triceps. This exercise will help you build strength and muscle definition in the back of the arm, but it also helps with shoulder stability.

Tricep kickbacks are great for anyone looking to strengthen their triceps and tone the back of their arms.

But exactly what muscles do tricep kickbacks work? What are the benefits of doing this exercise? And how can you do a tricep kickback safely and avoid injury?

Read on for our comprehensive guide to tricep kickbacks!

What are Tricep Kickbacks?

A tricep kickback is an isolated arm exercise that targets the triceps brachii muscles—the three-headed muscle found at the back of your upper arm. The exercise involves extending your arm backward while you keep your elbow close to your torso. It's important to note that this move is not suitable for beginners because it requires good physical stability and form.

Tricep kickbacks are an effective way to target the three heads of the triceps brachii muscles—the long head, lateral head, and medial head. When done properly, this exercise will help strengthen and tone these muscles, resulting in more defined arms.

Additionally, because it is an isolated movement, it can be combined with a comprehensive workout program to build lean muscle mass or burn fat.

And tricep kickbacks work other muscle groups, including your rear shoulders, back, and core, along with triceps, making it a perfect workout for fitness enthusiasts looking to gain more working less.

Benefits of Tricep Kickbacks

In addition to targeting and strengthening the triceps, there are many other benefits of incorporating tricep kickbacks into your workout routine. These include:

Increased Muscular Endurance

Triceps kickbacks are a great way to increase your muscular endurance and get those arms looking defined! They work both the stability and mobility of your shoulder joints to target only your triceps, making them a great exercise for toning up that part of your body.

By focusing on the tricep muscles, these kickbacks will help you build strength and increase your endurance during active workouts. Start small and do fewer reps with a heavier weight that you can comfortably lift (this style works specifically for endurance building only).

Once you have built up from lighter weights, start increasing the reps while keeping the same weight.

This action plan will help condition your triceps and give you a greater sense of muscular endurance that can carry over into other exercises and everyday activities.

Improved Mobility in the Shoulder Joint

Strengthening the triceps through exercises like kickbacks is a great way to improve mobility in the shoulder joint. As we explained above, tricep kickbacks work on your shoulder muscles while strengthening and growing your arm muscles.

This exercise specifically targets the triceps brachii, as explained above- it's a three-headed muscle that lies at the back of your upper arm (that bulge you see at the back of your upper arm).

But, alongside, you can increase joint stability, which improves mobility and range of motion for your shoulders.

Stabilizes the Upper Body

Working out with tricep kickbacks isn't just about toning your arm muscles - it's also an effective way to stabilize your torso! Tricep kickbacks involve contracting the tricep muscle and pushing your extended arm behind you. This movement works the entire arms, back, and core muscles for a full-body effect.

Take the time to focus on contracting your muscles and moving slowly and deliberately when performing tricep kickbacks.

This ensures you're benefiting maximum from the exercise while protecting your body against joint pain and injury.

How to Do a Tricep Kickback

Tricep kickback is an isolation technique in which you target your triceps with a pushing technique instead of pulling weight (most exercises are pulling exercises). This exclusive tricep exercise bears fruit quite soon if done right.

  • Stand on the left side of the bench, and place your right knee and right hand on the bench.
  • You will have to bend over at this point.
  • With a neutral grip, pick the dumbbell up with your left hand.
  • Keep your back straight throughout.
  • Tuck your left arm close to your torso and bend at the elbow, forming a right angle with your upper arm and forearm.
  • This is the starting position.
  • Moving only the elbow, and keeping the arm stagnant, raise the dumbbell behind you until your arm is fully stretched.
  • Stop, and lower the dumbbell back to the starting position.
  • Repeat this movement for the desired number of reps.

Note: Make sure you keep your abs engaged throughout the entire movement and do not swing or jerk as you move; instead, focus on controlling each rep for maximum results.

How to Work Out Safely & Avoid Injury

When exercising, it's important to always stay mindful of correct form so you can get the maximum benefit from each rep and avoid injury too! Relaxing when you need to be active and mindful isn't cool; it can lead to muscle strains. You want to be vigilant about the perfect form.

Plus, warm up before attempting exercises like stretching or light cardio—this will help activate all the muscles being used during the exercises and increase blood flow, which helps reduce muscle strain.

And, make sure you use proper equipment, such as weights that are appropriate for your current fitness level—using too heavy weights can lead to poor form, which gives you nothing else but serious injuries! So steer clear!

Tricep Kickbacks Variations

If you are getting bored with the standard version of this exercise, here are top variations you can use to add a bit of fun to this amazing arm buster:

Cable Tricep Kickback

The cable tricep kickback is a great foundation move to tone your arms and upper body. You can do it with a cable machine.

  • Begin by setting the handle about hip height on the cable machine.
  • Face the machine while your back is bent and you are holding the attachment parallel to the floor, and take it to your side.
  • Tuck your elbow back toward your chest, slowly stretching your arm as far as possible.
  • Engage the tricep muscle by squeezing it, and pause for a few seconds.
  • Bring the attachment back to the starting position.
  • Repeat the required number of reps.

Cable Reverse Grip Low Tricep Kickbacks

Cable reverse grip low tricep kickbacks activate your tricep and rear delt with every rep because you'll pull the weight back and up.

  • Start by grabbing a handle with an underhand grip on a pulley cable set.
  • Bend your elbow, bringing it close to your hand while parallel to the floor.
  • Now, push your elbow up and go as far as possible, pausing for a moment as you contract your triceps.
  • Bring your arm back to the starting position and repeat.
  • Repeat this for as many reps or sets as needed.

Two-Arm Cable Kickback

The two-arm cable kickback is a surefire way of getting your upper arms to be toned, strong, and symmetrical.

  • You will need a long rope or two single-grip handles to set up a pulley cable system.
  • Grab the rope or both handles with a neutral grip.
  • Move a few steps back from the machine.
  • Bend your knees and body to the floor so your back is parallel to the floor and your elbows are slightly tucked in.
  • Bend your arms back.
  • Return to the starting spot.
  • Repeat as many reps as required.

Resistance Band Tricep Kickback

Adding isolation exercises to your compound pressing routine helps you immensely by providing a tough and stimulating workout for your triceps.

  • Get your hands on a resistance band.
  • You should be standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and holding the band handles almost around your hip height.
  • Bend forward, lowering yourself until your torso is parallel to the floor.
  • Your elbows should be close to your body, while your knees should be slightly open.
  • Use a pronated grip with your hands. You'll need to retract your shoulder blade to protect yourself from injury while doing this exercise.


Triceps kickbacks are a great way to target your arms and get stronger muscles in no time! This exercise targets the triceps and works other muscles like the shoulders and back, allowing you to build total-body strength from just one move! When performing this exercise, ensure you stay mindful of proper form so as not to injure yourself. Additionally, use proper equipment suitable for your current fitness level! With these tips in mind, now go forth confidently, knowing how beneficial adding this exercise to regular workouts can be!

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Daniel Murphy

Daniel Murphy is a fitness enthusiast who has been exploring the fitness world for many years and is combining his passion for writing to create well-researched, engaging, and unique content.

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