We’ve found the best dumbbell workouts for triceps, and they’re sure to target your triathlons with just a few simple exercises. Whether you’re looking for the best dumbbell arm workouts or want to add an accessory to your chest workout arsenal, we’ve got you covered.
The benefits of dumbbells are well documented. Not only are they widely accessible and take up little space, they also burn calories, build muscle and strength, and allow you to train one-sided (one-sided) to isolate your chosen muscles. Even celebrities are convinced. Find out what happened when I tried Chris Hemsworth’s 250 rep dumbbell workout.
And research agrees. In the dumbbell versus machine debate, the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (opens in a new tab) found that dumbbells give very similar results to machines when building muscle and strength, but are better at improving your coordination, making them more functional as well.
It’s time to grab a set of the best adjustable dumbbells and read these three dumbbell exercises for triceps.
Dumbbell exercises for triceps
Each workout is a tri-set (see what we did there), which means performing three back-to-back exercises (similar to a superset) with no rest. Triceps tri-sets increase fatigue, save time and improve workout efficiency, allowing your triceps to be the star of the show. Building strength in your triceps can also improve your bench press, overhead press, and other lifts, helping you lift heavier and improve arm definition.
Perform each exercise for 10-12 reps with a 30-second rest between sets, for a total of 5-6 sets. Each workout can be added as finishers or completed together for a standalone workout. Good luck!
Workout 1: Diamond push-ups, seated dumbbell kickbacks, and dumbbell crossover extensions
This workout combines a compound bodyweight exercise—the diamond push-up—that works multiple muscles like the chest, front shoulders, and triceps (which help) with two isolation exercises designed to target and fatigue your triceps. The positioning of the hands during the push-up makes your triceps work even harder.
Create a diamond shape with your hands, bringing your index fingers and thumbs together. Start in a push-up position with your shoulders stacked over your wrists and your core engaged. Bend your elbows, then lower your chest to the floor while making sure your elbows stay tucked in towards your ribs. Pause, then explosively push up for one rep.
Edit: use your knees if you’re struggling to complete 10-12 reps with good form. You can also hold two dumbbells in a diamond position to relieve pressure on your wrists.
Seated dumbbell bribes
Sit on the edge of a bench holding a dumbbell in front of you in each hand. Start with elbows bent. Palms should face inward. Lean forward, then extend your elbows as you push the dumbbells behind you, keeping your elbows close to your sides. Bend your elbows as you return to the starting position.
Amendment: Work one side at a time or release your weight so you can fully extend the elbow and avoid swinging back.
Dumbbell Shoulder Extensions
Lie down with your back on a bench, making sure your head is supported and your feet are planted on the floor. Hold a dumbbell above your chest in an overhand grip. Bend your elbow and lightly tap the dumbbell on your opposite shoulder, then extend your arm back to the starting position. Perform 10 to 12 reps on one side, then switch.
Edit: You can also perform a dumbbell crossbody extension while standing up. Avoid locking your elbow and bring your elbow to your body for maximum engagement.
Workout 2: Dips, Overhead Triceps Extension, and Dumbbell Dumbbell Crushes
Dips train your triceps, front shoulders, and lower pectoral muscles with your rhomboids (muscles in your back) also working. The combination of skull crushers and tricep extensions will strain your triceps.
Dips can be done using two bars, high benches, or other devices that you can grab with two hands on either side of you. Jump up and grab both bars with straight elbows and relaxed shoulders. Bend your knees, then lower yourself while bending your elbows with the elbows pointing behind you. Push explosively to return to the starting position.
Edit: If this is too difficult, wrap a resistance band over the bar and place both knees on it for extra support. If that’s too easy, hook a dumbbell between your legs to add weight. Try bench dips (opens in a new tab) for practice if you are new to this exercise as it can relieve some pressure on your shoulder joints.
Overhead triceps extension
Stand upright holding one end of a dumbbell with both hands behind your head. Start with straight elbows, then slowly bend your elbows and lower the dumbbell behind you, keeping your elbows as tight as possible against your body rather than flaring out the sides. Push the dumbbell up and fully extend your elbows back to the starting position. Squeeze your core and glutes throughout.
Edit: Hold the dumbbell horizontally if you find your elbows hurt or add a second dumbbell (one in each hand) for progression. Avoid pushing your head forward or leaning back.
Skulls lying down with dumbbells
Lie with your back on the floor, knees bent and feet flat. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and extend your arms overhead with weights directly over your shoulders. Bend your elbows and slowly lower the dumbbells near your ears with your elbows pointing forward. Keep the weights close to your body at all times. Extend your elbows and push the dumbbells up for one rep.
You can learn how to make skull crushers here.
Edit: Hold a weight horizontally in both hands and aim for your forehead instead, hence the title ‘skull breaker.’
Workout 3: Close Grip Floor Press, Tate Press, and Pallof Press
These three presses are designed to work tired triceps even harder. These are compound exercises, just like the bench press and push-ups, also targeting the same muscles but with a slightly different emphasis. The grip and hand positioning put more emphasis on your triceps and the Pallof will burn your heart out.
Close-grip Dumbbell Floor Press
Lie down with your back on the floor, knees bent and feet planted. Hold a dumbbell in each hand above your chest with your arms straight and the dumbbells touching. Bend your elbows, slowly lower the dumbbells to your chest, then push back explosively to the starting position.
Edit: Lower onto a dumbbell and focus on compressing your chest while pushing the weight back. Play with a slower tempo to increase the difficulty and extend the time your muscles contract.
Tate Dumbbell Press
Prepare for a bench press by holding two dumbbells to your chest with your arms straight. Let the ends of the dumbbells touch in the middle. Bend your elbows, then slowly lower the dumbbell heads down to touch the center of your chest, keeping the weights close together. The palms will now be facing you. Next, lift the weights straight up and slowly extend your elbows as you return to the starting position.
Edit: Use light weights until you’re familiar with the movement pattern, or practice using a dumbbell before moving to a double.
Pallof dumbbell press
Stand with your dumbbell in both hands in front of your chest, elbows bent. Roll your shoulders down and back and engage your core. Push the dumbbell away from you and extend your arms while squeezing your chest and shoulders. Bend your elbows and bring the weight back to your chest for one rep.
Edit: Increasing the weight, adding a second dumbbell, kneeling, and adding rotations or holds will help you progress in this exercise. Go lighter if you consider yourself a beginner.
Need more arm workout ideas? Train your shoulders by learning to do an Arnold press or build your back by perfecting your one-arm dumbbell row. Plus, this dumbbell ab workout will sculpt your core.
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