How to Do a Tricep Extension  

The tricep extension is an isolation exercise that puts all of it's focus on developing the tricep muscles. The tricep is the muscle that runs along the back of your upper arm. 

While there are other exercises that work these muscles, this extension movement that you can do standing or sitting on a bench could be the secret to great looking arms that don't jiggle.

Besides making your arms look better, increasing the strength of your tricep muscles will make other exercises like the bench press, overhead press, and push-ups much easier.

Overhead Tricep Extension

Exercise Instructions:

  • Hold a dumbbell in your hand over your head with your arm slightly bent and slowly lower the weight behind your head. Do this by bending at the elbow only. 

  • Once the dumbbell is down about as far as you can go, slowly raise it back to your starting position.

  • Try not to lock your elbow back at the starting point and repeat your repetitions.

overhead tricep extension position #1
overhead tricep extension position #2Kyle Demonstrating the Overhead Tricep Extension


  • Make sure to fully engage your core muscles when you do standing strength training exercises.

Lying Tricep Extension

Exercise Instructions:

  • Start out by sitting on an exercise ball or flat bench with the dumbbells resting on your thighs. As you lay down, position the dumbbells over your head with your arms extended and your palms facing in.
  • Keeping your upper arms stationary, bend your elbows and slowly lower the dumbbells until they are next to your ears.
  • As you push the weights back up, focus on letting the triceps do the work as you return to the starting position for your next rep.
lying tricep extension position #1
lying tricep extension position #2Kyle Performing the Lying Tricep Extension


  • Lying down for this exercise can add a degree of difficulty. It can be a good idea to start with lighter weight dumbbells until you have mastered the proper form.

  • It's important that you concentrate on keeping your upper arms stationary and let the triceps do all of the work.  Let your hands and forearms bring the weights down next to your ears and then back up for one repetition.

Seated Tricep Extension

  • Start by holding a dumbbell in both hands over the head with your arms extended straight up.

  • Without moving your upper arms, slowly lower the weight behind your head until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle. 

  • Straighten your arms to the starting position and make sure not to lock your elbows at the top. Try and do 3 sets of 10-12 reps. 

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

Tricep Extension Benefits

  • There are other exercises like the bench press and push-ups that work your tricep muscles. While these are great exercises, they don't target the tricep as the primary muscle. 

  • Doing this exercise that focuses solely on one muscle can provide you with great looking results quickly. You will notice better appearance with your arms from all angles. By doing this exercise, you can stop some of the sagging in the backs of the arms which seems to be a constant problem, especially for women.

  • The increase in your arm strength will also help you with other daily work functions. Stronger triceps will  provide additional support for your elbow joints and the upper body. 

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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