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Tricep Workout With Dumbbells

Tricep Workout With Dumbbells Table of Contents:

1: Introduction

2: The Job of The Triceps

3: Exercise One

4: Exercise Two

5: Exercise Three

6: Early Intermediate Tricep Workout

7: Late Intermediate to Advanced Workout

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Ultimate Dumbbell Tricep Workout


If you’re looking for an awesome Tricep workout with dumbbells to help expand the size of your arms and improve your home-built physique, look no further than this information-filled article.

Check Out The Video Version of This Article!

I’m Psymon H., the 50-something-year-old war-horse, making his name from improving physiques and growing natural muscle with minimal equipment.

Before I get into the nuts and bolts of this dumbbell tricep workout, I want to answer one of the most common questions, “What tricep exercises can you do with dumbbells?”

There are quite a few tricep exercises and different variations of the same exercise you can do with dumbbells, but here are 8 of the best exercises.

1: Skull Crushers

2: Reverse and Twist Skull Crusher

3: Tricep Kick Out

4: The Face Scrape

5: Kneeling Dumbbell Kickbacks

6: Seated Tricep Extensions

7: Tricep Dumbbell Press

8: Dumbbell Tate Press

triceps pushdown alternative,
rope pushdown alternative

The Job of The Triceps

The Tricep Heads

The job of the Triceps is to bring the arm from a curl position to a straighter position and is the main extensor of the upper limb. There should be a big emphasis on training triceps as its total mass makes up 60-70% of the arm size.

The Triceps are made up of three heads. On the outer side of the arm and visible from the side is the Lateral Head. On the inner side of the arm is the Long Head, and underneath both of those heads and only visible on well-developed arms, we have the Medial Tricep Head running down towards the elbow.

Now we know how the Triceps work and how possible it is to train them using dumbbells, let’s jump head-first into this workout. While most dumbbell tricep exercises target all three heads and overlap to some degree, some exercises place more prominence on certain areas of the triceps than others.

Our first job is to choose three dumbbell exercises to cover all three heads and fill up our Tricep workout with dumbbells. Once we’ve chosen the exercises, I’ll explain the best way to perform each movement and then I will lay out a workout strategy for both early intermediates and late intermediates to advanced trainees.

Tricep Workout with Dumbbells Exercise One:
Reverse and Twist Dumbbell Skull Crusher

If you’ve done your fair share of the standard dumbbell skull Crusher, it’s time to up the ante with the Reverse and Twist Skull Crusher for this tricep workout with dumbbells. While the setup is the same as the original version, in order to throw more stress on the long and lateral head, the exercise is performed in a slightly different manner. 

Items Needed: Flat bench and a pair of dumbbells.

Cue 1: Lay back on a flat bench. Place the dumbbells in a reverse grip behind the crown of your head. Try not to have your elbows flared out to the side, but instead have them pointing up.

Cue 2: When lifting the dumbbells, aim to bring them out and up instead of straight up over your head.  This will ensure that most of the stress remains on your triceps. As the dumbbells reach the top of the movement, twist them so that your palms are facing up. Limit momentum by trying not to swing the bells up and flaring your elbows.


tricep press down dumbbell

dumbbell deadlift variations

Tricep Workout with Dumbbells Exercise 2 -
Kneeling Dumbbell Kickbacks

Kneeling Dumbbell Kickbacks
Dumbbell Kickbacks

Lately, there's been some debate as to how effective dumbbell kickbacks are. Many say this exercise is a waste of time, but I beg to differ.

 When you look at where the origination point of the long Tricep head is situated, you’ll notice that it starts at the back of the shoulder.

As it initiates from the back of the shoulder, a simple extension of the elbow won’t provide a full contraction of the long tricep head.

To fully contract the long tricep head, you have to bring the insertion point on the forearm closer to the origin point. The best way to do this is to bring your arm behind the line of your body; and that's what we're going to do on this tricep workout with dumbbells.

Items Needed: Upright bench and one dumbbell.

Cue 1: Kneel on an upright bench. With the dumbbells in a curl position, tuck your elbows into your sides.

Cue 2: Extend your elbows so the dumbbells travel behind the line of your body. At the very top of the movement briefly tense the Triceps before returning the dumbbells to the start position.

triceps pressdown alternative

Tricep Workout with Dumbbells Exercise 3:
Tricep Dumbbell Kick-Outs

Tricep Kick-Outs
Tricep Workout with Dumbbells Exercise 3: Tricep Kick-Outs

At first glance, the Incline Kickout looks similar to a cross between the Seated Dumbbell Tricep Extension and the Close Grip Bench Press.

While this isn’t the most popular exercise, it’s certainly a movement that will quickly become a favorite for targeting all three Tricep heads, especially the medial Tricep head.

Items Needed: Incline bench and a pair of dumbbells.

Cue 1: Set up an incline bench at about a 60-degree angle. Place your Elbows so that they flare out to the side with dumbbells lightly resting on the upper Chest.

Cue 2: Slowly extend the dumbbells to the top of the movement and turn your thumbs up.  

Tricep Workout with Dumbbells for Early Intermediates:

Dumbbell Tricep Workout

For the early intermediate who's been training for less than 5 years, my best advice is to concentrate on execution, building strength progressions within an exercise, and learning how to identify how many reps you have left in reserve.

If you train triceps twice per week, the following workout could make up one of your workouts. If you train triceps 3-times per week, for example, you have 3 full body sessions per week), you could choose one exercise to train per workout session.

Tricep Dumbbell Workout Session:

Exercise 1: Reverse and Twist Skull Crusher x 8 reps per set x 3 sets

Exercise 2: Kneeling Dumbbell Kickbacks x 10 reps per set x 3 sets

Exercise 3: Tricep Kick Outs x 12 reps per set x 3 sets

Using Reps In Reserve (RIR) For This Tricep Dumbbell Workout:

This workout is structured with Reps in Reserve (or RIR) as a tool to measure the intensity of effort.

If you're new to reps in reserve, don't worry, you'll soon get the hang of this convenient way of tracking workout intensity and measuring how hard a set feels and how many more reps you could have achieved to failure.

The idea of reps in reserve is an easy concept to understand; for example, "2 Reps in reserve" means you leave 2 reps in the tank or stay 2 reps from failure.

So that you have variables you can control, which will help you develop the skill of rating your performance set by set, you’re going to be given a rep in reserve target for each working set you perform. This will help you discover your exertion level during your working sets.

I want you to aim for 2 reps in reserve on all of your working sets. The best way to achieve this is by monitoring set one. If after completing your first set, you feel as if you could have completed more than 2 repetitions, you add weight to set two.

If after completing your first set, you feel as if you had less than 2 repetitions in reserve (meaning that you had 1 or fewer repetitions in the tank), you remove weight for set two.

If you complete the first set and feel you had no more or no less than 2 repetitions left in the tank, you keep the same weight for set number two and monitor the rest of the sets in this fashion.

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Tricep Workout With Dumbbells For Late Intermediates to Advanced Trainees:

Tricep Dumbbell Workout by Psymon H

We’re going to take the three Tricep dumbbell exercises and turn them into the ultimate dumbbell tricep workout.

I’m going to introduce a training technique you may have heard of before. Welcome to Myo Reps.

Using Myo-Reps is a great way to add quality volume in a limited time, by utilizing rest-pause training with lighter loads. When you do this, you generate high levels of fatigue and maximize muscle fiber activation.

How To Use Myo-Reps In This Ultimate Dumbbell Tricep Workout:

Step 1: First, you want to choose a weight that allows you to perform 15-20 repetitions with 1- 2 reps in reserve. It may take a week or two to find the correct weight but be persistent and ready to change accordingly.

The Activation Set:

Step 2: Perform one activation set of 15-20 repetitions aiming to get close to the failure point of 1-2 repetitions in reserve.

Step 3: Rack the weight and take a 10-second break

Rest-Pause Sets

Step 4: Perform 5 repetitions, rack the weight and take a 10-second break

Step 5: Perform 5 repetitions, rack the weight and take a 10-second break.

Step 6: Perform 5 repetitions, rack the weight and take a 10-second break.

Exercise Set Total: 1 activation set and 3 rest-pause sets totaling 4 sets.

Do the same for all three Tricep dumbbell exercises, and depending on your ability to recover, slowly increase your rest-pause sets to four (total of five sets per exercise.)

Choosing The Best Dumbbell Set With Rack 5 50 lb. Combo

The Final Advice For This Tricep Workout With Dumbbells

Commit to doing this for 4 weeks to get the best results. Always follow your fourth training week with a Deload phase lasting one week. This will help to rid the body of fatigue accumulation and give the tendons and ligaments time to heal. 

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