7 Best Dumbbell Tricep Exercises to Build and Sculpt Arms

Dumbell Tricep Exercises

Dumbell Tricep Exercises

Having access to a commercial gym or owning a well-stocked home gym can be great, but is it essential to improve wellness and train aesthetics? Not necessarily. Effort and strategy are crucial to have solid training sessions. Even with limited equipment, such as dumbbells, you can still train hard and develop body parts like the arms.

If you want to improve how your arms look, you need to focus on the triceps more than the biceps. Flexing the biceps is cool, but the triceps comprise most of the upper arm. Find your dumbbells, clear some space to train, and follow this workout so you can see progress for yourself.

Understanding the Triceps

The muscle group is known as “triceps” because they are made up of three heads. These three heads all have different origins, but they all meet to form a single tendon around the back of the arm, and they meet at the elbow area. Their primary function is to straighten the elbow and shoulder extension. 


Triceps Muscles Anatomy

The long head runs from the shoulder down to the elbow joint. It is the longest of the three heads, thus the name “long.”

The lateral head is the most visible part of the triceps. When you flex the muscle and look in a mirror, you will see the lateral head in action. Those with lower body fat percentages can see striations that look like feathers in this area.

The medial head lies underneath the long head and lateral head. Even though you can’t see it in action, it’s still vital to train it effectively to develop the triceps completely.

Let's know about the Dumbbells

The only equipment you need for these exercises is adjustable dumbbells or a pair of fixed dumbbells. You don’t even need a bench. If the movement requires you to lie down, you can lie on the floor or a mat. Ensure you have plenty of space to work so you don’t hit something while training.

Let's start with the Recommended Triceps Exercises

Below is the list of Triceps exercises that can be done with Dumbbells

1. Single Arm Overhead Extension

 This exercise allows you to target the long head of the triceps, and using a single-arm version will allow you to concentrate on each arm to maximize the isolation and stress. This exercise could be great for beginners learning how to train the triceps or someone looking to develop the area while getting leaner.

How to do Single Arm Overhead Extension

  1. Begin by sitting or standing with a single dumbbell in one hand.
  2. Lift the dumbbell up and over your head, fully extending your arm with your palm facing towards you.
  3. Slowly bend your elbow, lowering the weight behind your head while keeping your upper arm stationary. You should feel a gentle stretch in your triceps, from the elbow to the shoulder. Avoid overextending beyond your comfortable range of motion.
  4. Once you reach the lowest point, lift the dumbbell back to the starting position while squeezing the handle as firmly as possible. At the top of the movement, you should feel a contraction in your triceps.
  5. This completes one repetition. Repeat the exercise for the desired number of reps."

2. Double Arm Overhead Extension

The double-arm version of this exercise requires you to use both arms to lift a heavier dumbbell. Both arms will work together, but you can use more weight, which is beneficial for building size and strength.

How to do Double Arm Overhead Extension
  1. Start by holding a single dumbbell with both hands on the inside of one side of the dumbbell, creating a firm grip.
  2. Lift the dumbbell over your head, extending your arms fully and maintaining a straight posture.
  3. Slowly bend both elbows, gradually lowering the weight as far as you can safely go behind your head. Ensure that your upper arms remain stationary throughout the movement.
  4. Keep a firm grip with both hands on the dumbbell to maintain control and stability.
  5. Using the strength of both arms, press the weight back up to the starting position.
  6. When you reach the top of the movement, make a conscious effort to flex your triceps as hard as possible to maximize the contraction.
  7. Repeat the exercise for the desired number of repetitions.

By performing this exercise with both arms, you can handle a greater amount of weight, which stimulates muscle growth and promotes strength development in the triceps. Remember to maintain proper form and control throughout the entire range of motion

3. Lying Triceps Extension

These are also known as “skull crushers” because if you were to use a barbell, you would lower it near your forehead area. Since you have dumbbells, you can lower them further and by the sides of the head, increasing the range of motion and placing the muscle under more tension. These will work everything on the back of the arms, but these can be great for the medial head most of all.

How to do Lying Triceps Extension

  1. Begin by lying on a flat bench or on the floor, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Extend your arms straight up, shoulder-width apart, with your palms facing each other. This is your starting position.
  2. Bend your elbows and slowly lower the weights to each side of your head. Aim to keep your upper arms as still as possible, allowing them to move back slightly to achieve a full stretch. At the bottom of the range of motion, your hands should be positioned near your ears.
  3. Gradually lift the weights back up to the starting position while maintaining a tight grip on the handles. Squeeze the handles tightly as you perform this upward movement.
  4. Ensure that your arms are straight at the end of the exercise's movement.
  5. Repeat the exercise for the desired number of repetitions.

The lying triceps extension primarily targets the muscles on the back of your arms and can be particularly effective in developing the medial head of the triceps. By carefully controlling the weights and following the correct form, you can maximize the effectiveness of this exercise. Remember to maintain a slow and controlled pace throughout the entire range of motion.

4. Tate Press

The Tate Press is named after longtime powerlifter Dave Tate, credited with inventing this exercise. It is similar to the lying tricep extension, except you will take the weights down to the chest with the elbows flared out. This is an excellent exercise for strength as well as to get a great pump in the enter upper arm.

How to do Tate Press

  1. Lie flat on a bench or the floor, holding a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Start with your arms extended at arm's length, holding the dumbbells with your palms facing away from you.
  3. Bend at the elbows and lower the dumbbells towards your chest, allowing the bottom of the weights to touch your torso. Avoid bouncing the weights off your chest; instead, maintain control throughout the movement.
  4. Press the weights back up to the starting position, focusing on squeezing the triceps forcefully at the top of the range of motion.
  5. Repeat the exercise for the desired number of repetitions.

The Tate Press is an excellent exercise for developing strength and providing a targeted workout for the triceps. By following the proper form and controlling the weights throughout the movement, you can optimize the benefits of this exercise. Incorporate the Tate Press into your routine to enhance your triceps training and achieve greater overall arm development.

5. Close Grip Dumbbell Press

The close-grip dumbbell press doesn’t have an extended range of motion, but don’t let it fool you. With this exercise, you can exhaust the triceps at the end of a session. It will also help with the lockout for other pressing movements like the bench press or overhead press. You could pair this with the Tate Press as a very intense superset.

How to do Close Grip Dumbbell Press

  1. Lie flat on a bench or the floor, holding a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Hold the dumbbells with a close grip, pressing them together over your chest area.
  3. Push the dumbbells up while maintaining the weights together until your arms are fully extended.
  4. Slowly lower the weights back down to the chest while keeping them together. Your elbows may slightly flare out, but avoid letting them move too far away from your body.
  5. Once the weights are positioned directly over your chest area, press them up again.
  6. Repeat the exercise for the desired number of repetitions.

The close-grip dumbbell press is an effective exercise to target and challenge the triceps. While it may not have a wide range of motion, it offers a focused and intense workout for this muscle group. By maintaining proper form and control throughout the movement, you can maximize the benefits of this exercise. Consider incorporating the close-grip dumbbell press into your routine to enhance triceps strength and overall pressing performance.

6. Dumbbell Kickbacks

This movement is going to place the most significant amount of stress on the lateral head of the triceps. If you were to use a cable machine, the triceps press-down would be the best way to target this area, but dumbbells are undoubtedly effective, especially if growth is your focus. You can do this movement with both arms simultaneously, but going one at a time is best.

How to do Dumbbell Kickbacks

  1. Hold a dumbbell in one hand with your palm facing towards you. Find a stable object such as a chair or table to lean against, using your free hand for support. To enhance stability, you can position one foot slightly behind you.
  2. Bend over at the hips while maintaining a straight back.
  3. Lift your upper arm so that it is positioned beside your side, with your elbow bent. This serves as the starting position.
  4. Straighten your elbow, lifting the weight behind you as far as your range of motion allows. Focus on feeling a contraction in your triceps during this movement.
  5. After a brief pause, return to the starting position.
  6. Repeat the exercise on one side before switching to the other arm.

Performing this exercise with proper form and control will effectively target the lateral head of the triceps. By concentrating on maintaining a straight back and engaging the triceps during each repetition, you can maximize the effectiveness of this movement. Incorporate this exercise into your routine to develop and strengthen your triceps, particularly the lateral head.

7. Dumbbell Pushups

This movement works on dumbbells or on, paralettes, or pushup handles. Using the dumbbells with your hands close to you will force all three heads of the triceps to work hard. You also will have a greater range of motion than if you were to place your hands on the floor.

How to do Dumbbell Pushups

  1. Begin in a push-up position, with the dumbbells on the floor where you intend to place your hands. Ensure that the dumbbells are securely in place and won't move during the exercise. Your hands should be positioned shoulder-width apart.
  2. Maintain a solid grip on the dumbbells and assume the full push-up position. You can either keep your toes on the floor or rest your knees on the floor if necessary.
  3. Keep your arms as close to your sides as possible throughout the exercise.
  4. Lower your body by bending your elbows, going as far down as you comfortably can or until you touch the floor.
  5. Push through the handles of the dumbbells and raise your upper body back up to the starting position.
  6. Repeat the movement for as many repetitions as you can perform with proper form and control.

By following these instructions, you can effectively target and engage the triceps while performing this exercise. Placing your hands close to your body using dumbbells allows for a greater challenge and range of motion. Remember to focus on maintaining proper form and control throughout each repetition.

Sample Workouts

Here's an overview of the workout structure:

  • Begin with a brief warm-up to prepare your muscles for the workout.
  • Perform the exercises in the specified order, following the recommended sets and repetitions for each exercise.
  • When encountering a superset, complete both exercises back-to-back without resting in between. Rest only after completing the second exercise in the superset.
  • Maintain proper form and technique throughout each exercise, focusing on engaging the triceps muscles effectively.

Note: Adjust the weight/resistance according to your fitness level and gradually increase it as you progress.

By following the workout plan, you can efficiently target and strengthen your triceps within a reasonable time frame. Remember to listen to your body and rest as needed during the session. Now, let's dive into the exercises and sets for this triceps workout.

  • Single Arm Overhead Extension
    • 2 sets of 8-10 reps per arm
  • Double Arm Overhead Extension
    • 2 sets of 12 reps
  • Lying Triceps Extension
    • 2 sets of 12 reps


  • Tate Press/Close Grip Dumbbell Press
    • 2 supersets of 12 reps each
  • Dumbbell Kickbacks
    • 2 sets of 15 reps per arm
  • Dumbbell Pushups
    • 2 sets to failure

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