9 Best Dumbbell Triceps Exercises For Toned Arms

Everyone loves toned and shredded triceps, not only because they make your arms look solid but also help you push heavyweights during the compound workouts, such as the bench press and dips. Well, you can also reinforce your tricep muscles with dumbbells. And if you want to, you can check out the best dumbbell triceps exercises in this article that will help you increase both mass and strength.

Although there are various exercises, you can do with barbells and machines but if you don’t have access to them, you can use the most accessible equipment – dumbbells. Working out with dumbbells has various advantages that will motivate you to do triceps exercises, and below I’ve shared some of the crucial ones.

Related: Resistance Band Tricep Exercises

Benefits of Doing Tricep Workouts with Dumbbells

tricep workouts with dumbbells
  • Building brawny triceps is easier with dumbbells as they provide a full range of motion and help you specifically target the long, lateral, and medial head.
  • You can do unilateral tricep exercises with dumbbells, which means using one arm at a time. It will help you focus on your weaker arm and fix strength and imbalance.
  • You can do various tricep workouts with dumbbells only, which is higher than equipment, such as the barbell, cable machine, and resistance band.
  • Dumbbells are adaptable and efficient you can use them anywhere you like, such as at home and the gym. It doesn’t require much space.

Okay! It’s time to learn more about the muscle you’re are going to train. Knowing that may help you target the right muscle with the right exercises and elicit better results.


The Basic Anatomy Of The Triceps Muscles

Many people concentrate more on the biceps for bigger arms. However, the bicep is just one-third of the upper arm, while the triceps is two-thirds. So, it would be best if you focus equally on both muscles. You should even work more on the triceps.

Muscles of the triceps

The tricep has three heads: long, lateral, and medial head. These muscles are responsible for elbow extension and horizontal arm abduction.1 Kholinne, Erica et al. “The different role of each head of the triceps brachii muscle in elbow extension.” Acta orthopaedica et traumatologica turcica vol. 52,3 (2018): 201-205. doi:10.1016/j.aott.2018.02.005

  1. Long head: The Long head is located on the backside of the upper arm. It is also called the inner head and the largest among the three heads. It is easy to target compared to other muscles.
  2. Lateral head: The lateral head is smaller than the long head but an important muscle to train as it makes your biceps attractive from the sides. It is also called the outer head.
  3. Medial head: The medial head is the smallest muscle located deep within the triceps. It is least visible but crucial to isolate and reinforce for solid triceps. However, you don’t have to specifically target it because it engages in nearly all exercises.

Hitting all three muscles is essential for growing tricep strength and mass.


The Best Dumbbell Tricep exercises For Long Head

  1. Incline Dumbbell French Press
  2. Dumbbell Behind The Neck Triceps Extension
  3. One-arm Dumbbell Triceps extension
  4. Crush Grip Dumbbell Push-Ups
  5. Incline Dumbbell Tricep Kickback

1. Incline Dumbbell French Press

The incline dumbbell French press, also known as incline tricep dumbbell extension is a great exercise to target the long head and a great way to isolate your muscles.

How to do Incline Dumbbell triceps extension
  1. Grab a dumbbell in each hand and lie on a incline bench (30 to 45-degree).
  2. Keep your arms straight overhead with palms are facing each other.
  3. Fix your elbows and lower the dumbbells down behind your head.
  4. Hold for a second and then squeezeing your triceps extend your arms fully. That’s one rep!
  5. Do 3 sets of 8-12 reps with 1-2 minutes rest between set.

You can also perform overhead tricep extension on a flat bench or in seated and standing positions. All these variations reinforce the long head and help you build bigger arms.

2. Dumbbell Behind The Neck Triceps Extension

The dumbbell behind the neck triceps extension isolates and stimulates the long head and helps you get bigger and stronger triceps.

Dumbbell Behind The Neck Tricep Extension
Dumbbell Behind The Neck Tricep Extension

How to perform:

  1. Grab the top of a dumbbell with your hands and stand upright.
  2. Hold the dumbbell behind your head with elbows bent.
  3. Raise the dumbbells overhead until your arms completely extended.
  4. Hold for a moment and then slowly bring the dumbbell to the start.
  5. Keep your elbow steady and don’t relax them much during the entire movement.
  6. Aim for three sets of 8 to 10 reps.

3. Dumbbell One-arm triceps extension

Dumbbell single-arm tricep extension is a unilateral movement for the long head and helps you target each arm specifically. You can also do this exercise to work more on your weaker side.

Single-arm Overhead Triceps Extension

How to do it

  1. Grab a dumbbell in right hand and sit on the edge of a flat bench.
  2. Raise your right arm straight above shoulder, bend your elbow behind your head, and maintain flat back. That’s the start.
  3. Focusing on your tricep, extend your arm fully.
  4. Pause and then return to the start.
  5. Do three sets of of 8-12 reps each.
Related: Single Dumbbell Exercises For The Entire Body

4. Crush Grip Dumbbell Push-ups

The crush grip dumbbell push-up is a compound exercise that does strengthens not only your triceps but also the chest, front deltoid, and core.

Additionally, it works great for upper body muscle development.

How to perform:

  1. Lie on the floor and place your hands on a standing dumbbell. Hold your body with the help of arms and toes.
  2. keep the dumbbell under your chest and your arms straight.
  3. Lower your body by allowing the elbows to flex while keeping your body straight. inhale as you lower your chest close to the dumbbell.
  4. Press yourself back up to the initial position by extending the elbows. That’s one rep!
  5. Hold for a couple of seconds then perform another rep.
  6. Complete 10 reps of 3 sets with 1-2 minutes gap between every set.

5. Incline Dumbbell Tricep Kickback

The kickback is one of the best dumbbell tricep exercises that highly activates both long and lateral heads.2 ACE Study Identifies Best Triceps Exercises – By Brittany Boehler, B.S., John P. Porcari, Ph.D., Dennis Kline, M.S., C. Russell Hendrix, Ph.D., and Carl Foster, Ph.D., with Mark Anders Doing it properly will increase your mass and shape your tricep.

How to do it:

  1. Grab one dumbbell in each hand and lie on your chest on a 45-60 degree incline bench with your face down.
  2. Keep your arms straight at your sides with your palms are facing each other.
  3. Slightly raise your arms, lock your elbows, and extend your arms until you feel the good contraction in your tricep muscles.
  4. Squeezing your tricep hold for a moment and then lower your forearm.
  5. Do it as many times as you like.

You can do incline kickback for the long head, and for the lateral head, single-arm kickback would be effective, which I’ll share below.

Best Dumbbell Tricep Workouts For Lateral And Medial Head

  1. Single Dumbbell Kickbacks
  2. Neutral Grip Dumbbell Bench Press
  3. Dumbbell Floor Press
  4. Dumbbell Tate Press

1. Single-arm Dumbbell Triceps Kickback

If you want to highly activate your tricep muscles with dumbbells, then there’s no better exercise than kickback. Kickback specifically works on your lateral and long head and increases the total arm’s strength.

Dumbbell Tricep Kickback Workout
Dumbbell Tricep Kickback

Moreover, the single-arm variation allows you to focus on one arm at a time so that you can work equally on both arms.

How to do it:

  1. Holding a dumbbell with a neutral grip, stand in front of a incline bench.
  2. Slightly bend your knees, lean forward so your face looking down. Maintain flat back.
  3. Keep your arm at your side, raise your elbow and keep it fixed.
  4. Extend your arm behind until you feel the good contraction in your triceps.
  5. Hold for a second and then slowly return to the start. That’s one rep!
  6. Shoot for three sets of 8-12 reps each.

You can do also do it by bending forward without a bench. And if you do that, place your opposite arm on your knee for support.

2. Neutral grip dumbbell bench press

The neutral grip is a tricep and chest workout that works more on the lateral head. It also puts less stress on the shoulder and helps you build sturdy arms.

How to do it:

  1. Grab a pair of dumbbells with a neutral grip and lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Hold the dumbbells at the chest level with your elbows bent and palms facing each other. That’s the start.
  3. Brace your core and press the dumbbells up until your arms are fully straight.
  4. Hold for a second and then slowly return to the start. That’s one rep!
  5. Aim for three to four sets of 8-12 reps each.
  6. Focus more on your triceps during the press.

3. Dumbbell Floor Press

If you don’t have a bench, do not worry because the dumbbell floor press almost gives the same result as the bench press. The floor press activates and engages the tricep muscles and works on the pectoralis muscles.

Dumbbell triceps workouts

How to do it:

  1. Grab a dumbbell in each hand and lay down on the floor with your knees in front of you.
  2. Hold the dumbbells at your chest level with your elbows bent and palms facing forward.
  3. Press the dumbbells up toward the ceiling until your arms are fully straight and directly over your upper chest.
  4. Hold for a couple of seconds at the top and then slowly return to the start. That’s one repetition!
  5. Aim for three sets of 10 to 12 reps each.

4. Dumbbell Tate Press

The Tate press, also known as elbow-out tricep extension, is an isolation tricep workout you can do with a pair of dumbbells. It targets lateral and long heads and helps you develop defined tris.

In powerlifting training, the dumbbell Tate press also performed as an accessory lift for the barbell bench press.

How to do it:

  1. Holding a pair of dumbbells, lie down on a flat bench and hold your arms straight toward the ceiling with your elbows pointing out.
  2. Lower the dumbbells inward and downward towards your chest until they are close to it but do not let the dumbbells touch your chest.
  3. Return the dumbbells until your arms are fully extended. You’ll feel the good contraction in your triceps at the top of the extension.
  4. Do three sets of 8 to 12 reps.

You can also perform dumbbell Tate press on an incline bench, on the floor, and with a single dumbbell.

4 Simple Ways To Grow Triceps Faster

  1. Focus on each head: Train you each head equally. If you workout at home, you should always include overhead tricep extnsion, incline french press, and dumbbell kickback for targeting each head.
  2. Start with the Long Head: It’s better to train your long head first then lateral and medial. By working more on the long head, you will be able to build well-shaped triceps with a lot of depth.
  3. Compound Exercises: Incorporate bodyweight compound exercises for your triceps, such as triangle pushup and bench dips.
  4. Progressive Overload: Increasing load over time is know as progressive overload and it helps in growing mass. So if you also want to strengthen, tone and beef up your tricep, increase 10 to 15 percent load of your 1RM constantly, typically after every three to four weeks.

Dumbbell Tricep Workout Routine 

To develop sturdy arms, you can follow this tricep dumbbell workout plan at home.

ExerciseSetsRepsRest
Crush Grip Dumbbell Push-Ups2-36-1260-90 sec
Incline Dumbbell French Press3-48-1245-90 sec
Dumbbell Tate Press2-36-1260-90 sec
Dumbbell Kickbacks3-48-1245-90 sec
One-arm Dumbbell Triceps extension2-38-1245-90 sec
Dumbbell Tricep Workout Routine 

You can include, exclude or replace any exercise from this routine if you like. Moreover, you can check out more dumbbell workout routines for the total body.

Dumbbell Triceps Exercises – FAQs

Can you build biceps with just dumbbells?

Yes, you can strengthen and tone your triceps with dumbbells only. Dumbbells help you control the range of motion, target one arm at a time, and isolate each head effectively. Moreover, you can include barbell tricep exercises into your routine to speed up growth.

How often should you work out triceps?

Doing tricep exercises every day won’t make them bigger. A good dumbbell workout program includes tricep exercises once to twice a week because doing more than that won’t make any difference. Additionally, you can incorporate tricep compound exercises, such as dips and triangle pushups for maximum results.

What tricep exercise is the most effective?

Dumbbell overhead tricep extension or incline DB french press and crush grip pushup for the long head while kickback and neutral grip bench press for the lateral head are the most effective exercises. So if you’ve limited time, you can do these three to four exercises. And for gym guys and gals, you can check out these bi’s and tri’s workouts.

How Heavy Dumbbells Should You Use?

Use the dumbbells that are heavy enough for doing at least six reps and a maximum of twelve with proper form. But make sure you feel the contraction during each rep.

What Muscles Can You Train With Triceps?

The chest and shoulder are suitable muscles to train with triceps. You can do tricep exercises after chest or shoulder exercises. You can also do triceps and biceps exercises together on the same day. And if you do that, train your triceps first.

Where Can You Buy Good Quality Dumbbells?

You can buy the dumbbells from wherever you want, such as local and online stores. I’ve selected some best dumbbells from Amazon and other platforms for various exercises. So you can have a look.

Dumbbell Exercises For Other Muscles

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