Triceps Dumbbell Exercises

If you are looking to maximise your tricep gains then it is important to incorporate a variety of exercises to help focus on all three muscles in your triceps.

What better way to train your triceps than with dumbbells which are a versatile training tool. They can be used to isolate your triceps and offer a wide range of exercises to work the muscles from different angles.

So let's get right to it with our best dumbbell tricep exercises.


Why Use Dumbbells For Tricep Exercises?

Dumbbell Tricep Exercise

With all of the different machines out there, you might be wondering why dumbbells are so ideal for doing tricep exercises. Well, there are several reasons.


Isolation and Compound Lifts

What's nice about using dumbbells to train your triceps is that you can do a number of isolation lifts and compound lifts.

For instance, if you do the Arnold press that we describe below, you'll train not only your triceps but also your shoulders and chest. This is much the same for virtually all triceps exercises, particularly when done with dumbbells.


Fixing Muscle Imbalances

Using dumbbells allows you to focus on one arm at a time. Yes, there are many dual-handed triceps exercises with dumbbells, but also many single-handed ones. Allowing you to focus on a single arm at a time. This way you can concentrate on the exercise to get the most out of it and fix any potential muscle imbalances.


A Free Range of Motion

Some people might see this as a drawback, but having a free range of motion is a big benefit that many people like when using dumbbells for triceps exercises. There are many machines and other exercises that force you to follow a single rigid path.

If you have an injury or just aren't all that flexible, this can be an issue. However, with dumbbells, you can move in such a way that works best for you, to avoid any potential joint pain or discomfort that you may be experiencing.


Best Dumbbell Tricep Exercises

Here is our list of the best dumbbell exercises for your triceps. You should be able to find at least a few that work for you.


1. Overhead Dumbbell Tricep Extension

Overhead Dumbbell Triceps Extension

This is a fantastic exercise because all you need is a single dumbbell. Now, keep in mind that you'll be lifting this one dumbbell with both of your arms, so it can be of significant weight.

It's a really good exercise for training all sections of your triceps muscles, as well as for increasing overall flexibility and range of motion, especially in your elbows and shoulders.

How To Do Overhead Dumbbell Triceps Extensions

  1. Stand straight up with your feet at shoulder width apart.
  2. Take a dumbbell and hold it by one weighted end, by forming a diamond with your index fingers and thumbs.
  3. Move the dumbbell up and over your head so that your arms are fully extended above your head.
  4. While making sure that your upper arms remain vertical and in the same position, slowly lower your forearms and the dumbbell by bending at the elbow until your elbows are fully bent and the dumbbell is behind your head. To make this exercise a little more difficult, hold this position for a few seconds.
  5. Press the dumbbell back up into its original position.


2. Dumbbell Chest Press + Incline and Decline Bench Press

All right, before anybody says anything, we know that the chest press is primarily a chest exercise, at least this is what people use it for.

However, it is also a great exercise for your triceps, because it sees you pushing heavy weights up into the air, and your triceps are what are responsible for pushing.

As you can see, we mentioned both the incline and decline chest press. The reason for this is that depending on your body position, it can target different parts of your triceps.

For a well-rounded workout, do both dumbbell incline and decline bench press, and you can also do the flat variation as well. We've grouped all three of these types of bench press into a single section, as they're all relatively similar, just with your body being angled differently for each one.

How To Do Dumbbell Bench Presses

  1. To do a dumbbell chest press, first select whether you want to do the flat variation, incline, or decline. You can now also choose how much weight you want to push. Remember that form is the most important thing, and much more important than lifting heavy.
  2. Start by holding the dumbbells as you naturally would when doing a chest press press, with your palms facing your legs and feet.
  3. Lift the dumbbells up so that your arms are extended upwards towards the sky.
  4. While keeping your elbows close to your side, slowly bend at the elbow and lower the dumbbells down until they are almost at chest level. To increase the difficulty, hold this position for a few seconds.
  5. Press the dumbbells back up into the air.


3. Dumbbell Tricep Kickbacks

If you're looking to target the various parts of your triceps muscles, and all you want to do is lift some relatively lightweight dumbbells, then this is a fantastic exercise. Yes, you can always increase the weight you're lifting, but for this exercise, a little bit of weight goes a long way.

It's also a good exercise because you can do it by either standing up and supporting yourself, or using an incline bench to support your upper body.

Of course, if you stand upright, you'll need to use a lot of back and core strength to maintain your balance, whereas if you're supported by the bench, all of your focus would be on your triceps.

How To Do Dumbbell Triceps Kickbacks

  1. Start by choosing whether you want to do this exercise standing up or on a bench. If you're standing up, you're going to keep your feet at shoulder width, bend forward at the hips so that your body is virtually horizontal to the ground, and bend your knees slightly to keep your balance. If you're using a bench, adjust the angle of the backrest to roughly 45 degrees, and sit down on it with your chest facing the bench and your arms hanging down.
  2. Position your upper arms so that they are perfectly in line with your body, which should be nearly horizontal. Hold the dumbbells in a neutral grip, with your palms facing inwards.
  3. Slowly straighten your elbows and stretch out your arms behind you until your arms are fully extended and horizontal with the ground.
  4. Hold this position for one or two seconds to add some intensity, and then return to the starting position.

Related: See our guide to the best lateral head tricep exercises.


4. The Arnold Press

As made famous by none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger himself, the Arnold Press is a staple in the bodybuilding world. It's a great exercise to target all parts of your triceps muscles, as well as your upper chest. It's also a great shoulder exercise because you're doing an overhead press, just with a bit of a modification. Let's find out how to do the Arnold press.

How To Do The Arnold Press

  1. For this exercise, start by choosing a weight that is slightly lighter than you would use for a normal dumbbell shoulder press.
  2. Adjust the bench so that the backrest is vertical so that you're sitting upright.
  3. With your back resting against the bench, hold the dumbbells in your hands with your palms facing you at face level, with your elbows bent and tucked in at the sides (reverse grip). At this point, your forearms should be perpendicular to the ground.
  4. Just like with a regular shoulder press, you're now going to press the dumbbells over your head. However, instead of just maintaining the reverse grip, you're going to rotate your arms into a regular grip, the same grip you would use when doing a normal dumbbell bench press.
  5. Once at the top, hold for a couple of seconds, and then return to the starting position by moving your arms down and rotating them back inwards until you're in the reverse grip position again.


5. Dumbbell Skull Crushers

Dumbbell Skull Crushers

If you're looking for an exercise that really targets the triceps muscles and isolates them, then dumbbell skull crushers are what you need to do.

Skull crushers also a great exercise for the long head of the tricep.

All you need is a bench and some dumbbells, and it's a great beginner exercise as well.

How To Do Dumbbell Skull Crushers

  1. Start by lying down on a bench facing upwards.
  2. Hold the dumbbells beside your ears, with your elbows bent and facing upwards.
  3. Slowly raise the dumbbells up into the air by straightening out your elbows, until they are almost fully extended, but not quite.
  4. During this movement, your upper arms should remain stable and in the same spot. Only your forearms should be moving, with the movement originating from your elbows. Your upper arms should also be angled slightly backwards, not perfectly vertical, as this will help keep constant tension on your triceps.
  5. You can now return to your starting position.

 Related: Medial head tricep exercises to try.


The Bottom Line on Dumbbell Triceps Exercises

Triceps Dumbbell Exercises

With nothing more than a simple pair of dumbbells, you can target those triceps to get that great horseshoe look you've always been dreaming of. Remember to switch up your exercises, always push for more, and don't give up!

Author's Photo

William Parrett

Will, co-founder of Home Gym Supply, launched the company in 2019 after 15-years in the fitness industry. His expertise stems not only from his professional background but also from his athletic pursuits. A former competitor in the World Beauty Fitness & Fashion (WBFF) and a competitive rugby player, Will has always been dedicated to health and fitness.