How To

1 Stand upright and hold a single dumbbell with your arms extended overhead, shoulder-width apart, palms facing forward.
2 Slowly lower the dumbbell behind your head until your forearms touch your upper arms.
3 Raise the dumbbell back to the starting position.

Muscle Worked in Master the Standing Dumbbell Tricep Extension

Primary Muscles

Triceps The triceps are the muscles on the backs of your upper arms

Secondary Muscles

Forearms The forearms help you grip objects and move your hands, wrists and fingers
Shoulders Your shoulders are ball-and-socket joints which connect your arms to your torso

Pro Tips

  • If you find yourself arching your back or falling off balance as you stand, try performing this exercise with a split stance. This means you put one foot in front of the other rather than keeping them side by side.
  • Don’t choose a weight that is too heavy. If you are new to this lift, choose a medium weight so that gravity does not pull your dumbbell down too quickly.
  • Try to keep your biceps up against your ears so your elbows don’t flare out too wide during this exercise.
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  • This is a helpful move to build more muscle mass. Training your triceps help you achieve hypertrophy to grow bigger muscles. To understand more about growing your triceps, you can read more about Triceps Brachii Hypertrophy.
  • You may improve your athletic performance in sports that involve tricep strength.
  • You can work towards a more attractive physique with proportionate arms.
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Exercises that target the same primary muscle groups with different equipment

Common Mistakes

  • One common mistake is using too much weight. This causes you to perform the lift with a jerking motion or your dumbbell can be yanked downward too quickly.
  • Using too shallow a range of motion is common in this exercise. Aim to bring your weight all the way down behind you so your forearms and upper arms touch to achieve a full range of motion.
  • Jerking the weight back overhead after each exercise can cause injury. Focus on engaging your strength rather than momentum. If this is too difficult, lower your weight.
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Warm Up & Cool Down

To warm up before standing dumbbell tricep extension, try arm circles. These involve rotating your arms in circles to energize you, increase blood flow and wake up your shoulder joints. Warm Up Before Barbell Squat
1 Roll each arm at the shoulder joint in circles. Start small, increasing the size of the circles until you are making wide arm circles.
2 Reverse the direction of your arm circles, starting with big circles and getting smaller.
Cool Down After Barbell Squat To cool down after standing dumbbell extension, use a tricep stretch. This will help you lengthen out your triceps after working them. To perform this stretch:
1 Raise one arm over your and bend your elbow. Push your elbow towards the center of your back with your other hand. You should be able to feel a stretch. Hold your stretch for up to 30 seconds, or as long as you need, then switch arms.


What’s the difference between dumbbell tricep extensions and skull crushers?
Skull crushers are performed lying on a bench. In a skull crusher, you typically lift a barbell down towards your forehead, in a position where it would hit your head (or crush your skull) if dropped.
Is standing or seated dumbbell tricep extension better?
Both variations are effective for targeting your triceps, but you get more core activation and stability training if you perform this exercise standing.
Are the triceps stronger than the biceps?
The triceps are bigger than the biceps, but on most people, typically both muscles will be at a similar strength level.