The Seated Tricep Extension

 As we age, the tricep muscles on the back of our arms are some of the quickest to get soft and flabby from lack of use. Without a doubt, one of the best ways to eliminate those "bat wings" is with the seated tricep extension.

Sagging arms can be a real problem, especially for women as they get older. The back of the arm can be a difficult area to work unless you choose an exercise like the tricep extension.

The tricep extension is an isolation exercise that targets one muscle...the tricep. This exercise can be very effective for strengthening and toning your tricep muscles. Better tone means tighter muscles.

Seated Tricep Extension

Exercise Instructions:

  • Sitting on a bench or chair, hold a dumbbell in each hand with your arms extended straight up over your head (as pictured).

  • Lower the dumbbells behind your head, bending at the elbows and keeping your upper arms still.

  • Stop the dumbbells just before they touch your neck and extend them back up to your starting position for one repetition.

seated tricep extension position #1
seated tricep extension position #2Kim Demonstrating the Seated Tricep Extension


  • To maintain good exercise posture, engage your abs to avoid arching your back. 
  • At the bottom of the extension your forearms should be parallel with the floor.

Exercise Ball Tricep Extension

Kyle Demonstrating the Exercise Ball Tricep Extension

Research shows that exercises done on a fitness ball activate many of the major core muscles turning the exercise into a full body exercise. Working the multiple muscle groups means you will burn many more calories.


  • Engage your abs to work the core harder, and to keep you from arching your back.
  • Besides keeping your upper arms still, you want to keep your elbows pointing forward as much as possible.
  • Proper form is critical for this exercise so that you are able to target the tricep muscle. Starting out using fairly light weight can be helpful.


  • Supportive Strength. The tricep is a supporting muscle for the shoulders and elbows. Increasing the strength will make the elbow joints and shoulder muscles stronger. This added strength will be conducive in other exercises and personal activities.

  • Isolation Exercise. This type of focused exercise allows you to put all of your effort to strengthen the upper arm tricep muscle and to even out any muscle imbalance between the two sides.
  • Core Strength. Maintaining your position on the bench or ball will force you to engage your core muscles for stability and balance. The added core strength will reduce your injury risk while performing other physical activities.

Other pages that might interest you:

I will continue to share ideas about diet and exercise that have helped me along the way. If you have any questions I can help you with, or if you have any ideas you want to share, feel free to contact me or visit our Q&A forum.

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