Best Dumbbell Exercises For The Triceps

What Are The Best Dumbbell Exercises For The Triceps?

Which dumbbell exercises for the triceps effectively target the desired muscle?

There is a common belief that it is impossible to grow your triceps without cables and/or machines.

While triceps movements that use cables tend to be more optimal, there are several highly effective dumbbell exercises for the triceps.

Keep reading to see what those exercises are, what makes them beneficial, and how the properly perform them.

What Are Triceps?

The triceps are one of the muscles that make up the upper arm, the biceps being the other.

There are three sections of the triceps, the long head, medial head, and lateral head.

The triceps are antagonists to the biceps and are responsible for arm extension. Because the triceps extend the arm, they are a significant worker during pushing movements.

What Is The Triceps' Optimal Plane Of Movement?

An optimal plane of movement for the triceps allows arm extension with neutral shoulders. Achieve this by doing standard pushdowns using an attachment such as a rope or v-bar.

Pushdowns are excellent for working the triceps. However, cross-body cable extensions are an even better way to isolate the muscle.

Taking things a step further, performing triceps extensions overhead will further isolate the triceps and create an optimal movement plane.

Including more than one optimal movement for your given triceps workout (whatever that looks like) is a good idea.

What Are The Best Dumbbell Exercises For The Triceps?

There are a multitude of dumbbell exercises for the triceps.

Skull crushers, triceps kickbacks, and overhead presses are among the most beneficial dumbbell exercises for building the triceps.

Since the triceps are broken into three sections (lateral head, medial head, and long head), it is important to incorporate different movements that target the separate heads, respectively.

Skull Crushers

The skull crushers are an excellent exercise that targets all three heads of the triceps effectively.

Overhead movements such as skull crushers excel at targeting the long head of the muscle.

How To Perform Skull Crushers

Triceps Kickbacks

The triceps kickback is another triceps exercise that can be performed with dumbbells.

This exercise is excellent for targeting the medial head of the triceps and does not take much weight to become challenging.

How To Perform Triceps Kickbacks

Overhead Press

Isn’t overhead press for the shoulder?


The overhead press targets the anterior and medial deltoids. However, at the top of the movement, the triceps take on most of the resistance.

Even though the overhead press is technically a shoulder exercise, one could argue it is just as much of a triceps exercise.

This highlights the benefits of using a PPL-type split because many exercises use more than one muscle.

How To Perform Overhead Press

Dumbbell Exercises For The Tricpes: Related Content

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Is It Good To Do Triceps Pushdowns With Bands?


Triceps pushdowns with bands offer an excellent alternative for those who do not have access to a cable tower.

Learn more about this topic here.

Is The V-Bar Attachment Good For Pushdowns?


The V-bar attachment is one of the better choices for triceps pushdowns. It allows the triceps to move in an optimal plane.

Learn more here.

What Stimulates Muscle Growth?

What stimulates muscle growth (hypertrophy) is exercise-induced muscle damage.

During high-intensity weight training, micro tears occur in muscle fibers. These tears are then repaired and grow back slightly stronger and thicker than they were previously.

Adequate nutrients are necessary for this biological process to occur.

Are Single-Arm Triceps Pushdowns Optimal?


Of all the triceps exercises, the single-arm triceps pushdown might be the most optimal triceps movement.

Learn more about this topic here.

Sarcoplasmic vs Myofibrillar Hypertrophy

Hypertrophy is a term that describes exercise-induced muscle growth. However, there is more than one type of hypertrophy.

Learn about them here.

What Is The Hardest Muscle To Grow?

As I stated previously, from personal experience as a trainer, I have found that many people (especially beginners) struggle with the lats.

However, this is a subjective claim and everyone is different. It is likely that the muscle that is most difficult for you to grow is not the lats, but instead, one that is more difficult.

Learn more about this question here.

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