How to Do Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extensions: Variations, Proper Form, Techniques, Dumbbells

How to Do Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extensions: Variations, Proper Form, Techniques, Dumbbells

Triceps are a muscle group that often gets overlooked. Casual gym-goers and even advanced lifters tend to focus on the more visible muscles like the biceps, leaving the triceps underworked. Well-developed triceps are necessary for a balanced physique, so it’s important to learn how to master dumbbell overhead triceps extension techniques.

The overhead triceps extension is an upper body exercise that targets the triceps. The benefit of the overhead triceps extension is that it improves grip strength, builds strength in the muscles needed for other compound lifts like overhead press, and targets the muscles in their most elongated position, unlike the triceps pulldown.

The primary muscles involved in the overhead triceps extension are the triceps—the muscles on the backside of your upper arm. The triceps are responsible for straightening the elbow and helping to pull the arm down from an overhead position. They also act as stabilizers for the shoulder joints.

Maintain proper form when performing an overhead triceps extension to avoid common mistakes and common injuries. The main overhead triceps extension mistakes include using too much weight, which puts pressure on the elbow joint, not bracing the core and glutes, and not keeping the shoulders engaged.

This article will discuss the proper technique for performing overhead triceps extensions, the importance of good form to prevent common errors, and the benefits of overhead triceps extensions. It will also provide some information on overhead triceps extension variations. 

How to Perform Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extensions With Proper Form?

Here are the steps you should follow to dominate dumbbell overhead tricep extensions.

  1. Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Hold a set of dumbbells in your hands.
  3. Maintain these contractions throughout the entire exercise.
  4. Squeeze your glutes.
  5. Brace your core as though you’re going to be pounded in the belly.
  6. Maintain these contractions throughout the entire exercise.
  7. Lift the weights over your head.
  8. Straight your arms and biceps until they are close to your ears.
  9. Place both of your palms towards each other, this is your starting point.
  10. Bend your elbows and drop the weights behind your head.
  11. Let your forearms parallel to the floor.
  12. Return to the beginning posture by pausing, then straightening your arms.

Maintain proper form when performing the overhead triceps extension to avoid straining the elbow or shoulder. 

What Are the Benefits of Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extensions?

The benefits of the overhead triceps extension are as follows.

  1. Improve the strength of triceps muscles.
  2. Provide hypertrophy for the triceps.
  3. Improve the posture of the upper body by strengthening shoulder stabilizing muscles.
  4. Support the elbow and increase upper arm endurance.
  5. Creates a Better Activated Three-head of Tricep Muscles.

What Are the Mistakes for Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extensions?

These are the Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extensions Mistakes below, be sure to avoid them.

  1. Letting your elbows flare out to the sides. Keep them tucked in close to your head.
  2. Failing to engage your core throughout the exercise. Squeeze your abs and glutes while standing to stabilize the movement and protect your spine.
  3. Extending the forearms below parallel at the bottom of the movement. Do not over-extend your arms—this puts too much strain on the elbow joints and can result in injury.

How to Determine Proper Weight for Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extensions?

The weight you choose for your DB triceps extension should be a weight that is challenging but not too difficult. Start with low weight and work your way up.

Beginners should start with 5-10lb dumbbells and aim for three sets of 12-15 reps. Once you can perform 12-15 reps, add weight in 2.5lb increments. The weight is correct when the last 3-4 reps of each set are very challenging. 

What Is the Importance of Grip for Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extensions?

Your grip strength is an important factor to consider when performing the DB overhead extension because there is the potential to injure the wrists. Always keep your wrists directly in line with your forearms—do not bend them. Grip the dumbbell in the center, with your thumbs wrapped around to cover the fingers. Do not squeeze too tightly. If you struggle to hold the dumbbell or feel strain in your wrists when it is in its lowered position, lower the weight by 2.5lbs. 

Which Body Parts Are Working During Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extensions?

The triceps muscle has three heads, the medial head, lateral head, and long head. The OH triceps extension primarily works the long head of the triceps. However, performing the movement will use all three muscle heads.

The exercise also works your trapezius, deltoid, and latissimus dorsi if you perform reps with good form.

This exercise will also work the core, glutes, and lower back muscles, as you must engage all of these muscles to stabilize your body throughout the movement.

What Are the Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extensions Variations?

Apart from the standing overhead triceps extension, dumbbell exercises for the triceps include the seated triceps extension, lying triceps extension, and standing triceps kickbacks.

The following are the Variations of Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extensions which are listed below.

  1. Seated triceps extension: This exercise is the same as the standing triceps extension variation, except that you perform it seated. Sit with your back straight and feet flat on the floor, and engage your core throughout the exercise.
  2. Lying triceps extension: Lay on a bench with your arms next to your ears. Hold the dumbbells straight out away from the bench. Slowly lower the dumbbells until your forearms are perpendicular to the floor. Return to the starting position and repeat.
  3. Standing triceps kickbacks: Stand with one foot in front of the other and lean the torso slightly forward. Keeping your upper arm in line with your rib cage, hold your dumbbell and bend your elbow to ninety degrees. Slowly extend your elbow until your arm stretches straight out behind you, keeping the elbow tucked into your side. Return to the starting position and repeat.

What is the Necessary Equipment for Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extensions?

The only equipment needed for overhead dumbbell extensions is a pair of dumbbells. Choose a weight that is challenging but not so heavy that you cannot perform at least ten reps. If you only have one dumbbell, you can do the exercise one arm at a time. You can use the best dumbbell overhead triceps extensions barbells for doing the exercise correctly.

There are 4 reasons why the Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extensions is the best exercise below:

  1. The standing triceps extension targets the long head of the triceps muscle.
  2. The triceps muscle is responsible for bending the elbow, and for helping to pull the arm down from an overhead position.
  3. The triceps are important for a balanced physique.
  4. Triceps extensions build strength for more difficult compound lifts.

The triceps are an overlooked but crucial part of strength-building and physique.

Do Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extensions Affect the Hormones?

No, the triceps extension exercise does not affect hormones.

Is Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extensions an Olympic Lift?

No, the overhead DB triceps extension is not an Olympic lift, however, it is a good conditioning exercise for the muscles that will be used for Olympic lifts like the weightlifting press.

Is Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extensions a Compound Exercise?

No, since the behind-the-head triceps extension targets the triceps specifically, it is not considered a compound exercise. Compound exercises target multiple groups of muscles that must work together to perform the movement. Some examples of compound exercises include the squat, overhead press, and deadlift.

What Can Replace Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extensions?

Seated triceps extensions, laying down triceps extensions, and standing triceps kickbacks are all good alternatives for the dumbbell triceps overhead extension. Some more challenging triceps exercises that are examples of compound exercises for the triceps are the close grip bench press, pullups, and dips.

Athletic Insight

Athletic Insight Research

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

The Athletic Insight Research team consists of a dedicated team of researchers, Doctors, Registered Dieticians, nationally certified nutritionists and personal trainers. Our team members hold prestigious accolades within their discipline(s) of expertise, as well as nationally recognized certifications. These include; National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer (NASM-CPT), American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA-CPT), National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Nutrition Coach (NASM-CNC), International Sports Sciences Association Nutritionist Certification.