Tricep Workout With Dumbbells

Tricep Workout With Dumbbells

Having a set of well-developed arms is a highly desired physical attribute. And for good reason. Not only does it boost our confidence, but it also says a lot about our fitness level and dedication to the gym. So a tricep workout with dumbbells is a great workout routine to have in your wheelhouse! 

How our upper arms look mostly depends on two things: being at a reasonable body fat level (so our muscles show), and having decent muscular development.

The dumbbell triceps exercises below will help you to build and define your triceps. And it’s important to work all three heads of the 3-headed triceps for strength and symmetry.

Tricep Function and Anatomy

Tricep Anatomy

The tricep is a muscle located on the backside of the upper arm. As its name suggests, the muscle has three heads – a medial, lateral, and long head. The medial and lateral heads originate from the humerus (upper arm bone), while the long head originates from the scapula.

All three heads insert into the elbow and work together to extend our elbows. But, because the long head also crosses the shoulder joint, it also contributes to arm adduction and shoulder stability.

Contrary to popular belief, the tricep is larger than the bicep and accounts for more than sixty percent of the upper arm volume. So, if you want to develop a set of impressive arms, you should give your triceps a lot of attention. 

What You’ll Need For These Tricep Workouts With Dumbbells

The best thing about this tricep workout with dumbbells is that all you need is some space, your body, and a pair of dumbbells.

Well, having two to fours sets of dumbbells is better, as some exercises will require heavier weights, while others will require lighter. For example, you can do an exercise like dumbbell extensions with a heavier dumbbell. But, come time to do a dumbbell tricep kickback, it’s better to pick a lighter weight.

So, for starters, you can get yourself a pair of 10 or 15-pound dumbbells, and a pair of 20 or 30-pound dumbbells. This should provide you with a lot of versatility and a rich choice of exercises.

Here is a good guide based on your strength level:

Best Dumbbells for Home
Best Dumbbell Set for Home

Tricep Workouts With Dumbbells

Here are some simple and effective tricep workouts you can do with nothing but a pair of dumbbells.

Dumbbell Extensions

The dumbbell extension can be performed sitting (as shown below), or standing. Both are equally effective, and this will always be one of the very best triceps exercises.

Dumbbell to Use: Heavy Dumbbell

Tricep Workout With Dumbbells

Dumbbell Kickbacks

These tricep dumbbell kickbacks can be performed with two dumbbells as shown, or just one. The dumbbell kickback is a go-to for a tricep workout, and one of the best triceps exercises.

Dumbbells to Use: Light Dumbbells

Tricep Dumbbell Kickbacks

Two Dumbbell Extensions

These dumbbell extensions can be performed sitting (as shown below), or standing. Both are equally effective. These are similar to triceps extensions with one dumbbell, but works the triceps from a slightly different angle.

Dumbbells to Use: Light Dumbbells

Tricep Dumbbell Extensions

Dumbbell Skull Crushers

Skull crushers can be performed lying down (as shown below), or on a bench. Both are very effective.

Dumbbells to Use: Medium Dumbbells


Tricep Skull Crushers

Dumbbell Pullovers

Dumbbell pullovers work your chest and triceps, as well as other muscles. But they are great for triceps.

They can be performed lying down on the floor, and also on a flat bench. Both are very effective.

Dumbbells to Use: Medium to Heavy Dumbbells

Dumbbell Pullovers for Chest and Triceps


Dumbbell Crush Press

The dumbbell crush press is performed lying down, or on a flat bench. The crush press works your upper arms and triceps, as well as your chest.

Dumbbells to Use: Medium Dumbbells

Performing the Crush Press:

  1. Lie on your back holding two dumbbells in the up position with your arms fully extended directly up, and palms facing.
  2. Then move the dumbbells together until they are touching, and hold this position. The dumbbells should be directly over your chest with your arms extended, and dumbbells touching.
  3. Keeping the dumbbells touching, slowly lower the dumbbells down to your chest as they remain touching.
  4. Hold the down position for a count of two, and then with the dumbbells continuing to touch, extend your arms back up to the start position (arms extended, dumbbells directly above your chest).
  5. So in this exercise, you are starting with the dumbbells directly above your chest, lowering them down to just above your chest, and then extending them back to the start position above your chest. All the while, keeping the dumbbells in contact in a stable position.

    See video below for performing the Crush Press.

Dumbbell Extensions2-36-15
Dumbbell Kickbacks2-36-15
Two Dumbbell Extensions2-36-15
Dumbbell Skull Crushers2-36-15
Dumbbell Pullovers2-36-15
Dumbbell Crush Press2-36-15

Another Great Tricep Exercise

The dumbbell triceps exercises above will provided a rounded, complete workout for your triceps. But another great tricep exercise that you can do is the tricep push-up. Tricep push-ups, also called diamond push-ups, are one of the best exercises you can do to work the lateral head of your triceps. 

Muscles Worked Doing Diamond Push Ups

They can be done with no equipment and no weights, and are a powerhouse tricep exercise. They are difficult to perform, so they take some practice and some baseline strength. But they are a great workout for your triceps and upper arm.

But once you perfect this exercise, you will like the results that you get. And  because of their difficulty, you will likely want to incorporate these first into your tricep dumbbell workout. But they fit very well in a dumbbell workout, even though they don’t require dumbbells.

Some Important Considerations for Your Tricep Workout

A proper warm-up is critical because it helps boost your training performance, enables you to get in the mindset for effective training, and decreases the risk of injuries and aches. (1)

So, make sure to invest at least a few minutes before training to loosen are warm you muscles – the investment is well worth it in the long run.

Also, taking good care of your nutrition is the key to productive resistance training. The reason is, while proper training is vital, food is another crucial element. 

Proper nutrition allows you to recover well between workouts, perform optimally, feel good, build muscle, and lose fat. Aside from that, having a varied diet full of unprocessed foods is essential for good health.

  • Consume veggies of all sorts
  • Get a good dose of protein every day (lean meats, poultry, fish, cottage cheese, etc.)
  • Consume healthy fats (natural oils, avocado, whole eggs, nuts, seeds, etc.)
  • Eat slow-digesting carbs that support recovery, cognition, and performance (brown rice, whole grains, etc.). Whole grains like whole wheat bread, quinoa, and oatmeal. These are the 3 best whole grains, as they are super healthy and tasty. (2)

The Importance of Hydration

Adequate hydration is also vital, as it significantly impacts your cognition, motivation, and athletic performance. So, make sure to drink water throughout the day, and especially before, during, and after training. 

Whether it’s a tricep workout with dumbbells, or a chest workout at home, hydration must be a cornerstone of your fitness efforts. And it is often overlooked by even active fitness enthusiasts.

Click to see other dumbbell workouts.

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David Williams

A diet and fitness enthusiast, David is an ex-Army Airborne Ranger and Infantry soldier with decades of fitness and wellness experience. A West Point graduate with a degree in engineering, he focuses on technical research related to fitness, nutrition, and wellness. He loves the beach and working out, and spending time with his wife and daughters.

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  1. Contributors, W. M. D. E. (n.d.). Warm-up exercises: Do they improve performance and reduce injuries? WebMD.
  2. Elizabeth Laseter June 05, 2017. (n.d.). The 9 essential whole grain foods you need in your diet. Cooking Light.

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