How To Do Overhead Triceps Extension

YouTube Exercise Video

How To Do How To Do Overhead Triceps Extension

Triceps can be harder to target than biceps, forearms and other upper body muscle groups. Of course, complex gym equipment can allow you to perform all kinds of specially-targeted routines for just about any group of muscles in your body. But, it’s actually possible to provide some decent workout for these muscles with something as simple as a single dumbbell. 

The standing dumbbell triceps extension is a prime example of such an exercise. While it looks a bit odd to perform, the angle of motion places almost all of the stress on these muscles versus others that normally do lifting or arm motion. It’s also good for tightening the back muscles and loosening joint stiffness. 

What You Need 

All you need is a single dumbbell of reasonable weight. A mat is handy if you plan on doing a lot of exercises on foot. Be nice to your feet. A good pair of gloves is always a good idea when doing any kind of lifting, even if it’s simple and moderate. 

Overhead Triceps Extension Muscles Worked

Triceps brachii muscle - animation02.gif
By Anatomography – en:Anatomography (setting page of this image), CC BY-SA 2.1 jp, Link


  • Hold the dumbbell with one arm to get into position. Stand upright, raising your arms all the way up. 
  • Bend your arms back behind you at the elbows, crossing your hands to brace the dumbbell in your palms by one of the weights. 
  • Slowly lift upward until your elbows are mostly completely straight. 
  • Lower back down gently. 


If you have shoulder or neck problems, talk to your doctor before performing this exercise. Be sure to not lean back, and be sure to life straight up, to avoid striking the back of your head with the dumbbell – that’s no good! 

Be reasonable with the weight, this is more about the position and repetition than lifting much weight. Honestly, even body builders shouldn’t use more than 20 pounds for this, average people five to ten. 

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