Best Tricep Exercises With Dumbbells

by Evelyn Valdez

When it comes to training your upper body, there are many different muscle groups to consider – it’s not just about the biceps! There are a bunch of muscles in your back, chest, shoulders, and arms that need proper training if you want to achieve your strength training goals, and one of those muscle groups is the triceps.

Your triceps are the muscles at the back of your arms and opposite to your biceps, in charge of most pushing and lifting movements that you do with your arms in your day-to-day life, such as picking something up from the floor or pushing a chair. At the gym, they’re primary and secondary movers in a lot of upper-body movements, and properly training them is key for a better fitness journey.

So, if you’re serious about your upper-body muscle gains, make sure to train your triceps with the right exercises. We’ll show you our favorite dumbbell triceps exercises so you can grow bigger muscles and improve your functional strength at the same time!

Dumbbell floor press

This movement is a variation of the popular bench press, but it’s performed laying on the floor with a pair of dumbbells. The idea behind performing it on the floor is that it limits the range of movement, shifting the focus from your chest to your triceps.

How to do it:

  1. Lie face-up on the floor with a dumbbell in each hand. Your knees should be bent with your feet firmly planted on the floor in a comfortable position.
  2. Raise your arms above your chest while holding the weights so that they’re pointing straight upward in a neutral position.
  3. Begin the movement by lowering the weights and bending your elbows until they almost touch the floor.
  4. Pause for a moment while squeezing your triceps, then press the weights back up and repeat.

Tate press

This is another pressing exercise that involves laying down, but this time the dumbbell movement will be different. You’ll drive the weights to the center of your chest, hitting your triceps from a different, more challenging angle.

How to do it:

  1. Find a flat bench and lie on your back while holding a dumbbell in each hand. Your feet should be firm on the floor without letting them hang.
  2. Raise the dumbbells with your arms completely extended above you in a prone position, with the palms of your hands facing forward.
  3. Begin the movement by driving your elbows to the sides and the weights down and toward the center of your chest until they meet. Be careful not to let the dumbbells fall on your chest.
  4. Hold this position for a moment while your squeeze your triceps, then reverse the movement to the starting position and repeat.

Bent-over triceps kickback

This is one of the best triceps exercises out there! It’s performed by bending at the hips and moving the dumbbells back and forth in a swaying motion, hitting all three heads of the triceps muscle throughout the full range of movement.

How to do it:

  1. Stand straight holding a dumbbell in each hand with a neutral grip and your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Bend forward at the hips until your torso is around 45 degrees from the floor, then bend your elbows 90 degrees so that the weights are next to your ribs.
  3. Begin the movement by strengthening your arms while you drive the weights back until they’re at each side of your hips or further back if possible. 
  4. Pause for a second while you squeeze your triceps, then go back to the bent elbows position and repeat. You can also try this exercise with a single arm at a time.

Standing overhead triceps extension

This is a classic triceps exercise that will truly help you tone your arms and grow bigger muscles. You only need one dumbbell to do it, or two if you want more of a challenge by adding a coordination aspect to it!

How to do it:

  1. Stand straight with your back straight and your feet hip-width apart, and grab a dumbbell with both hands in a neutral grip.
  2. Extend your arms overhead so that the weight is directly over your head, and engage your core.
  3. Begin by bending your elbows and lowering the dumbbell down and back, so that it goes behind the back of your head.
  4. Hold the position for a moment while your squeeze your triceps, then slowly bring the dumbbell back up and repeat the movement.

Dumbbell skull crushers

This exercise is usually performed with an EZ bar, but the dumbbell variation is more accessible for those still working on their triceps strength. Plus, using a pair of dumbbells helps develop your functional strength on each arm!

How to do it:

  1. Lie on your back on a flat bench while holding a dumbbell in each hand. Your feet should be firm on the floor without letting them hang.
  2. Raise the dumbbells with your arms completely extended above you in a neutral position, with your hands facing each other.
  3. Begin the movement by bending your elbows and lowering the weights toward your head without moving your upper arms until the dumbbells almost touch each side of your face.
  4. Pause for a moment while you squeeze your triceps, then go back to the starting position and repeat.

Incline dumbbell kickbacks

This is an exercise similar to the bent-over triceps kickback, except that you’ll be laying on an incline bench with your chest supported so you can focus on your triceps and fully activate them.

How to do it:

  1. Set up an incline bench so that it’s at 45 degrees from the floor, then lay on it with your chest to the seat so that it’s supporting your weight while you hold a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Place your feet on the supports and bend your elbows 90 degrees so that the weights are next to your ribs.
  3. Begin the movement by extending your arms while you drive the weights back until they’re at each side of your hips or further back if you can. 
  4. Hold the position for a second, squeezing your triceps, then reverse the movement to the initial position and repeat.

Reverse grip dumbbell press

This is yet another pressing movement, this time reversing the grip so that you’re holding it in a supine position. This is primarily a pec exercise that uses your triceps as secondary movers, making it a killer upper-body movement.

How to do it:

  1. Find a bench and lay with your back on it and a dumbbell in each hand. Make sure that your feet are firmly planted on the floor in a comfortable position.
  2. Extend your arms over your chest and hold the dumbbells with a supine grip, with your hands facing back.
  3. Begin the movement by lowering the weights while you drive your elbows down until the dumbbells are at each side of your chest.
  4. Pause for a moment while you squeeze your working muscles, then go back to the starting position and repeat.

Tone your arms with the right triceps exercises

Having strong and rounded arms can make your physique look great, but the best part about it is that it can help you take your workouts to the next level. By working on your triceps as well as the rest of your upper-body muscles, you’ll be able to achieve your fitness goals a lot quicker than you realize – so don’t neglect them!

Need help creating an effective triceps workout?

Download the Fit With Iulia fitness app so you can start working toward your strength training goals with a combination of compound, isolated, and unilateral movements as well as all kinds of gym equipment!

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