Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredDumbbell
  • MechanicsIsolation
  • Force TypePush (Bilateral)
  • Experience LevelBeginner
  • Secondary Muscles
Target Muscle Group


Triceps Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Seated Dumbbell Tricep Extension Overview

The seated dumbbell tricep extension is a variation of the dumbbell tricep extension and an exercise used to isolate the muscles of the triceps.

Overhead extension exercises are particularly useful in targeting the long head of the triceps muscle. Having a larger and more dense long head will give you an overall appearance of a larger tricep.

Isolation exercises for the triceps are particularly useful for those looking to achieve aesthetics. They can also be helpful for those looking to increase their strength on other pressing motions.

Seated Dumbbell Tricep Extension Instructions

  1. Select the desired weight from the rack and position an adjustable bench at 90 degrees.
  2. To get into position, sit in an upright position and lift the dumbbell to the top of your shoulder. Take a deep breath, overlap your hands around the dumbbell, then press it into position overhead.
  3. Maintain an overlapping grip and slowly lower the dumbbell behind your head by unlocking your elbows.
  4. Once your forearms reach parallel or just below, drive the dumbbell back to the starting point by extending the elbows and flexing the triceps.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Seated Dumbbell Tricep Extension Tips

  1. Don’t overextend through the lumbar spine, keep your ribcage down by maintaining tension through the abs and glutes.
  2. Using a slow eccentric (lowering portion) of the exercise can help to improve tension and mind muscle connection.
  3. Keep the head in a fairly neutral position, don’t allow the neck to jut forward as this may place excessive pressure on the cervical spine.
Posted on: Tue, 06/30/2020 - 22:12

Does this workout covers all muscle except abs and core?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 08/19/2020 - 11:56

Hey Kyle

This exercise is used to isolate the triceps.

Posted on: Tue, 05/23/2017 - 07:56

I can't lift my right arm over my head because of ROM (Don't worry! Clearance to do whatever I'm comfortable with by doctor and physiotherapist!) What can I do that would work the same muscle group? I can lift my right arm a little above shoulder height, but can only get it a few inches behind my back.

Posted on: Fri, 01/02/2015 - 19:55

Should I alternate which hand is closest to the top of the dumbbell each set? Or do both triceps get equal workouts, regardless of hand position?

Posted on: Mon, 06/22/2015 - 11:53

I'm no expert, but I usually place my offhand first.

E.g. I am right handed, so my left goes first.

I reckon my weaker arm can always do with some extra effort!

Posted on: Thu, 05/15/2014 - 06:02

If the pain feels like a 'twinge' or nervy, I wouldn't panic, during the tricep extension it is the top of the tricep nearest the elbow that is tightening, just lower the weight to not over do it.

good luck

Posted on: Sat, 05/03/2014 - 14:07

When you started feeling the pain...thats when the reps are started dude ;-)

Posted on: Mon, 12/02/2013 - 21:01

the standing variation is a staple of my tricep routines, and i have sick triceps

Posted on: Sat, 11/02/2013 - 14:46

Does it matter at all which thumb is overlapping the other I always switch my thumbs half way through sets, does it matter at all is what I'm asking

Rick van der Leeden
Posted on: Wed, 05/15/2013 - 15:10

is this a good routine to gain muscle size cause its not a hypothrofy routine


Posted on: Mon, 01/07/2013 - 08:58

Im feeling a sharp pain in my Triceps, should i lower the weight or is my technique wrong?

Posted on: Sat, 08/11/2012 - 21:55

what do I do if i feel, and hear a slight crack in my wrist while doing this? It usually happens when im at full extension behind my back.

Posted on: Mon, 10/22/2012 - 00:58

Indeed, Morningstar (above) addressed this pretty well... Hydration and patience (lowering your weight until your joints catch up) should help. Gotta be patient and listen to your body. If something is cracking, slow down...or take a break. Make sure you have your recovery time...

Posted on: Wed, 04/25/2012 - 00:15

I love this one so much! I uave been doing it for several weeks and can feel a difference and am already getting stronger.

Posted on: Tue, 03/20/2012 - 16:01

Whats wrong if Im feeling pain at my elbows joints (the nerves)?
Should I warm up better or am I doing something wrong with the exercise?

Posted on: Wed, 03/21/2012 - 22:11

Hydrate before exercising, I used to have the same problem until I started tracking my water intake. Also, being warmed up and stretched before an exercise like this is a must. And if it's still wearing down on your joints, go 5 pounds lower than what you're doing now. Just my opinions. Not a medical or fitness expert.

Posted on: Sun, 04/08/2012 - 14:35

really good advice morningstar, i also had same pain on elwbow, thanks

Posted on: Sat, 04/07/2012 - 10:24

I used some heat lotion and wrapped my elbows for a couple of nights. On the next workout I lowered a bit the weight and now I feel it comfy. I'll keep an eye on the hydration thing also. Thx for the advice.

Posted on: Mon, 12/09/2013 - 12:06

argy,this motion is a great tricep movement.But it will put alot of stress on the elbow joint.I would recommend a less weight.And not doing as many. This is my favorite tricep exercise but will hurt if over done.I get the pain from going to heavy.