The Ultimate Dumbbell Tricep Workout

If you were to survey any group of young men and ask them what their favorite workout is, they likely would say arm day.

Look at any action movie star, sex symbol, or cartoon hero and one of the most common physical attributes is big arms.

As young men, it becomes ingrained in our minds that big arms equals strength, brute force, and a strong sense of sex appeal.

However, this belief is not limited to only men.

Women also strive to have toned, defined arms much in the same way as their male counterparts.

One thing most people do not realize is that to get large guns of steel hanging off their shoulders, they need to work their triceps.

It is not uncommon to see beginners at the gym doing non-stop bicep curls in hopes of building bigger arms.

The truth is if you want large arms, start working those triceps.

Did you know… the tricep makes up two-thirds of the arm?

How Do you Work Triceps with Dumbbells?

Triceps can be worked in a variety of different ways.

Whether it be with cables, barbells, or dumbbells the options are limitless.

However, dumbbell exercises provide some of the best options for building large defined triceps.

Dumbbells are one of the most versatile tools for building muscle at home or in the gym.

With just a simple pair of moderate weight dumbbells, it is possible for an individual to have an amazing workout.

Focus on time under tension and not necessarily the amount of weight being lifted for these exercises.

It should never be about how much weight you can lift, but rather how much weight can be lifted safely with proper form.

Read Also: Best Weight Bench For Your Home Gym

Benefits of Dumbbell Tricep Exercises

dumbell tricep workout

Dumbbell tricep exercises have several unique advantages compared to other exercises.

No matter how limited your gym equipment is, it is always possible to have a meaningful workout even with few options available.

  • No fancy equipment needed: Commercial gym equipment is not necessary, a pair of old dumbbells sitting around the garage can give you one of the best workouts of your life.
  • Limitless exercises available: With some creativity a simple set of dumbbells can give you tons of different exercises for every single muscle group.
  • Can be performed anywhere: Whether you are at home, in the office, at the gym, or on vacation, dumbbells are transportable allowing you to take your workout with you. You can even workout outside or at the park for something new.
  • Can be used for single or dual arm exercises: Whether you want to workout both arms simultaneously or one at a time, both can be achieved with the use of dumbbells.

Read Also: Best Fitness Trackers For CrossFit For Data Driven Improvements

If you want to turn your noodle arms into massive pythons, pick up a pair of dumbbells and lets get to work.

How Many Tricep Exercises Should You Do?


Most people do not workout triceps by themselves in their workouts.

The majority of gym goers do tricep exercises after first working primary muscles such as chest or shoulders.

Others choose to work triceps in conjunction with biceps together on an “arm day.”

The way you choose to split up your workout is entirely up to you.

When working triceps out with other muscle groups, a good rule of thumb to follow is pick 2 to 3 exercises for approximately 3 to 4 sets each.

In total aim for 8 to 12 sets of exercises to work the triceps.

Best Dumbbell Tricep Exercises

Having a pair of dumbbells can go a long way towards your workout goals.

While there are several tricep exercises that can be performed with dumbbells, some are considered superior for building muscle.

Compound Tricep Exercises

Neutral Grip Press

To perform this exercise grab two moderate weight dumbbells. This exercise is set up in a similar manner to the traditional dumbbell press.

  1. Lay on a flat bench with the dumbbells tucked close to the chest.
  2. Bring the weights up and down while keeping the elbows tucked so that the contraction is focused solely on the triceps and not the chest.
  3. The weights should come down only to chest level and not drop to below parallel to the ground.
  4. Aim for 8 to 12 reps.

Tricep Isolation Exercises

Overhead Tricep Extension (Two-arm)

To perform this exercise, simply grab a moderate weight dumbbell.

  1. Place both hands on one side of the interior part of the dumbbell forming a diamond shape.
  2. Bring the dumbbell overhead and slowly lower it behind the head.
  3. Keep the elbows tucked tightly close to the head and control the movement up and down.
  4. Aim to get 8 to 12 reps and perform 3 to 4 sets.

Standing Single Arm Kickbacks

Standing Single Arm Kickbacks

Grab a lighter weight dumbbell, most likely 25 pounds or less for this movement.

  1. Begin with your back straight and tilted almost parallel to the ground.
  2. Use one arm to support the body.
  3. The other arm is used to contract the weight back and forth.
  4. Keep the arm performing the movement tucked close to the body while the forearm moves the dumbbell back and forth.
  5. Do not use a swinging motion, move the weight slowly in a controlled manner.
  6. Aim for 10 to 15 reps.

Single Arm Overhead Extension

This exercise will be performed with a light to moderate weight level.

  1. Grab a weight with one arm and place it overhead with your thumbs facing downwards.
  2. Keep the upper portion of the arm as straight as possible, keeping it parallel to the rest of the body.
  3. Slowly lower the weight downwards behind the head while controlling the weight
  4. Do not flare out the elbows while performing the exercise.
  5. Aim for 12 to 15 reps.

Lying Dual Arm Tricep Kickbacks (Chest Supported)

Grab a bench and move it to a 45 degree incline position. Grab two lighter dumbbells.

  1. Lay facing downwards with your chest on the bench.
  2. Place both dumbbells to your sides.
  3. Keep the arms tucked close to the body.
  4. Use the forearms to grab the weights and contract the dumbbells backwards in a slow and controlled fashion.
  5. Pause for a moment at the top of the rep and slowly control the weight up and down.
  6. Do the movement for 8 to 10 reps.

Lying Skull Crushers

Grab two light to moderate weights and lay down on an incline or flat bench.

  1. Lay facing upwards on the bench.
  2. Grab dumbbells and place weights overhead.
  3. Slowly move the forearms downwards while keeping the upper part of the arms stationary.
  4. Move the dumbbells all the way towards the head.
  5. Most importantly bring the dumbbells downwards to contract the triceps completely.
  6. Aim for 10 to 15 reps.

Best Dumbbell Tricep Workout

Most tricep exercises will be performed in conjunction with other primary body parts such as chest or shoulders. Choose 2 to 3 exercises for the triceps.

A good example workout would be:

  1. Overhead tricep extension (Reps 12, 10, 8, 8)
  2. Lying skull crushers (Reps 15, 12, 10, 10)
  3. Single arm kickbacks (Reps 12, 10, 8)

This workout will give you a total of 11 sets. This tricep workout should be considered more than adequate for building muscle and having a solid workout.

The arm muscles are a much smaller muscle group that recovers at a quicker rate compared to body parts such as the legs or back.

Due to this, arms can be worked out two or even three times per week without any concern over lack of recovery time.

Start handing out tickets to the gun show this summer

Whether you are looking to build large muscular arms or are simply attempting to fill out a Medium shirt, we’ve got you covered.

By incorporating a few of the exercises discussed today, you will be well on your way towards the arms you’ve always dreamed of.

Just perform the movements a couple times per week and your arms will be growing like pythons in no time.