5 Best Dumbbell Triceps Exercises

  • March 15, 2016
  • / By Tom

Dumbbells are a great choice for improving muscle size and strength in the triceps muscles. Because of the way they are made, they have great versatility and can hit the muscles from a bunch of different angles. Below are 5 of the best dumbbell triceps exercises.

Dumbbell Triceps Exercises

Photo By: Aberro Creative


The kickback is one of the most common exercises for specifically targeting the triceps. Some people think it is too light of an exercise to do much good, because they are forced to use such a light weight as resistance, but that is only because it specifically isolates the triceps so well and if you use proper form, you can’t cheat extra reps out of them by using other muscles to help.

To perform this lift, you just need a bench to go with a dumbbell, although you could use a different surface to lean against. To work your left arm, put your right knee and right hand on top of the bench. You use a flat, stable back and hold the dumbbell with a neutral grip. Your upper arm stays in place and you sort of kick back the dumbbell. You can see a demonstration in the video below.

2 Arm Lying Extension

The lying extension may go by many other names, such as skull crushers of French curl, but it is a staple of many arm workouts. It can also be done with a curl bar or a barbell. Mixing in this lift with dumbbells forces the muscles on both sides of your body to work equally.

To perform this lift, lay flat on your back on a bench with a pair of dumbbells. You lower the weights by the side of your head and then press them overhead. You can see what it looks like in the video below.

Seated Overhead Extension

You will definitely want a partner or spotter on this lift, especially if you are going heavy. This is kind of a tricky exercise, because you have to lift the dumbbell overhead to get it in position to start, so it can be tough to both start and finish. If you have a spotter who can get the dumbbell into place at the start and to help put it on the ground at the end of your set, it will definitely help.

This exercise is performed with a bench in the upright position or with a seated bench. You only use 1 dumbbell and put both hands on it, lower it and press it overhead. Start with a conservative weight when you are first trying this out because, even though you are using 2 hands, it puts tremendous stress on the muscles.

Close Grip Bench Press

The barbell close grip bench press is one of the best exercises for adding size and strength to the triceps, and it can also be done using a pair of dumbbells. You can see a demonstration in the video below, but you essentially perform a DB bench press, but with the dumbbells touching each other. This gives you an idea of how close your grip should really be.

This really targets the triceps and will also work the chest. You can also incorporate some variations with this exercise, such as using an incline or decline bench.

Decline Single Arm Extensions

This exercise is a variation of the 2 arm lying extension that is shown above. Rather than being on a flat bench, this uses a decline bench and it only uses 1 arm at a time. You can certainly get creative with this lift and use any combination of flat, decline, or incline bench with either 1 or 2 dumbbells. Mixing it up, even slightly like this, will allow you to continue to make progress and force your body to change. Make sure you have a stable decline bench if you are going to be performing these. You don’t want to risk anything when you are holding a dumbbell over your head.


Dumbbell are great for targeting the muscles in your arms because they are versatile and can be used in so many different ways. While triceps can mostly only be used with a pressing movement, these 5 dumbbell triceps exercises will hit the muscle from a variety of different angles to stress it to grow and strengthen.

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