Dumbbells do not have to be a sacrifice when it comes to building bigger triceps. In this video, I’m going to show you the best dumbbell exercises for triceps to fit any goal you may have with your training. If you’re just looking to build the strength of your triceps, want to make them more powerful and explosive or just build them bigger and add size I’m going to show you the best exercises you can do to accomplish each.
We start as we have in this entire series with the strength exercise. Here we have a tie between two exercises, the close grip dumbbell bench press and the weighted upright dip. Different than in the swap between a barbell and dumbbells in the traditional chest bench press, the narrowing of the grip allows far less torque and resultant stability demand to be placed on the shoulder joint during the cgbp. This keeps the weight high enough to let you still pursue strength on the lift.
Likewise, on the upright dip, we can simply swap out plates for a single heavy dumbbell as the resistance with little to no drop off. The ability to progressively overload this movement is easy and therefore very conducive to those looking to build strength in their triceps with nothing but dumbbells.
If power if more your goal, then the JM Press is a great option. The ability to initiate the movement with your elbows driving your triceps into position rather then the triceps overcoming the inertia on every rep is a significant advantage. An object in motion will tend to stay in motion. Getting the dumbbells moving will allows the triceps to kick in and explosively keep them moving up to the top of the rep. No sacrifice of the weight used needs to be made here and the built-in additional acceleration makes this a great dumbbell power option.
If hypertrophy and bigger triceps is the goal and you feel as if you have used up your newbie strength gains to drive this, you can always focus on an exercise that will eccentrically overload the muscle. This is where the lying dumbbell triceps extension with a forced negative only rep finisher is bet. The position of the arm back behind the head throughout this exercise allows for a greater stretch on the long head of the triceps and the best stimulation of the triceps eccentrically.
There also can be gains made through the use of lighter dumbbells and a metabolic training effect. Here we showcase a bodyweight combination that is performed in descending ladder fashion that actually uses the dumbbells as props to keep the wrist in a healthy and neutral position. Alternate between reps of seated floor dips and close grip pushups for a great burn and an opportunity to resist it for tricep muscle gains.
Total body options from the modified overhead extension thruster to correctives like the dumbbell devils are additional exercise selections that will hammer the triceps and help to achieve a secondary benefit as well. It depends on the goal of your training.
Finally, in order to fully shorten the triceps muscle you must at some point load the triceps in a position behind your body with the elbow straightened. This is the only way to place the muscle in a maximally shortened position. Now, while you may not be able to handle very heavy weight here it does not mean that you should avoid it. In fact, you need to do this if you want to stimulate maximum triceps activation. The dumbbell kickback is the best dumbbell option here by far.
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