Tricep Exercises With Dumbbells – Guide For Effective Exercises

By | February 3, 2015

Tricep Exercises With Dumbbells – Guide For Effective Exercises

dumbbell_2So you’re looking to taking your triceps to a next level? That’s real good and I think I can help you out a bit! I’ll give you the best tricep exercises with dumbbells so you can structure an effective workout.

By developing your arms with these movements you’ll guarantee yourself some serious muscle to your triceps which in fact make 2/3 of the muscle mass in your arms. So in order to build those sleeve ripping arms this is an excellent way to go about it!

Anatomy Of The Triceptricep_anatomy

But first let’s look a bit to the anatomy of the tricep itself so we can understand which exercise targets which part! The main function of the tricep is the extension of the arm. To plan a succesfull workout you have to do one exercise per part of the tricep.

So the three parts of the tricep are called:

  • Medial head – worked by heavy compound presses
  • Long head – worked by overhead extension
  • Lateral head – worked by pushing down

Now that you know that it becomes much clearer how to structure your routines with the dumbbells. So let’s get into it.

#1 Medial Head – Compound Pressneutral_bench_dumbbell

This part of the tricep gets the most hit from heavy compound presses such as dumbbell bench press or dumbbell overhead press. This should be the first exercise you’ll perform. A good idea for optimal tricep development is to incorporate your tricep workout to your pressing workout so you’ll get the most out of it since you’re first completing the heavy compound, followed by bodybuilding style movements to incorporate further hypertrophy to different parts of the tricep.

So the first exercise should be:

  • Flat Dumbbell Bench Press
  • Overhead Dumbbell Press Standing
  • Overhead Dumbbell Press Seated

Another option could be do them both and alternate between the workout days. If you’re doing pushing workout once a week perform Flat Dumbbell Bench Press first this week and next week do Overhead Dumbbell Press first. Or if you’re hitting your pushing workouts twice a week alternate in the same way for the different days.

#2 Long Head – Overhead Extensionoverhead_extension

The long head requires a bit more specific work than the Medial. Exercises that target the long head in the most optimal manner are anykind of overhead extensions. So in our case as we’re working with dumbbells we’re looking at couple of different exercises which are:

  • Seated Dumbbell Overhead Extension
  • Standing Dumbbell Overhead Extension
  • One-Arm Seated Dumbbell Overhead Extension
  • One-Arm Standing Dumbbell Overhead Extension

All of these options should be done with lighter weights compared to the compound exercise which targets the medial head. Using light weight in these exercises ensures that you won’t be putting too much stress on your elbows since its quite common with these overhead extensions when people get too greedy with the weights. Just keep the weights light and really control and squeeze with the tricep to get the most out of it.

#3 Lateral Head – Push Downtricep_kickback

This part is similar to the Long head since it requires specific work opposed to just a heavy compound press like the Medial head. This part of the tricep gets activated the most when pressing down. Since we’re working with dumbbells we have to improvise a little bit since we cannot really push the dumbbell down.

The only option basically what we have is to do:

  • One-Arm Dumbbell Tricep Kickback

Again use lighter weights and focus on really squeezing and controlling the weight!


So all in all even though here is listed different parts of the tricep and what exercises hits them the most, the matter of fact is that the heavy compound pressess such as barbell bench and overhead press will stimulate the whole tricep to a greatest degree. About 80% of your total tricep development comes from those movements, the isolation of the long and lateral head are just the icing on the cake!

Like I mentioned earlier, a good workout routine for triceps includes also chest and shoulders in the same workout since the movements like bench and overhead pressess will use all of these muscles to a great degree AND being compound exercises will also yield you the best possible development of these muscles!

So for example this is what your Dumbbell Workout should look like:

  1. Dumbbell Bench Press 2 sets of 5-7 repetitions
  2. Dumbbell Incline Bench Press 2-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions
  3. Standing Dumbbell Overhead Press 2 sets of 8-12 repetitions
  4. Standing Dumbbell Overhead Extension 2 sets of 12-15 repetitions
  5. Dumbbell Tricep Kickbacks 2 sets of 12-15 repetitions
  6. Dumbbell Lateral Raises 2-3 sets of 12-15 repetitions

Couple of pointers to mention here. I want you to do overhead press and overhead extensions standing because it teaches you to maintain a strong core and posture and this will recruite more muscles and stabilizers in your body, you basically get more out of the exercises this way. The Dumbbell Bench Press is your main movement for the whole workout so aim to do it with high intensity using correct lifting technique, don’t go using weight that you cannot handle and end up hurting yourself!

That’s really everything there is to it guys and girls. This is highly effective routine for utilizing only dumbbells. Try it out and see how you feel.

Remember to train hard and train SMART!

2 thoughts on “Tricep Exercises With Dumbbells – Guide For Effective Exercises

  1. Mark

    If you have the option you’ve gotta go with the tricep pushdowns over kickbacks. You can go so much heavier with pushdowns, and if you believe in the broscience that heavier weights = more gains like I do, you know that that’s important. Nobody got huge triceps doing kickbacks with 10lb dumbbells… 😉

    1. Jesse Post author

      Yes I agree but the whole point of the article was to do tricep exercises WITH DUMBBELLS.

      But absolutely heavier weights = more gains all the way.

      All the best to you 🙂


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