Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extension.

Muscle Worked:Lateral, medial, and long head.
Level:Beginners to Intermediate
Main Goal:Build long head tricep muscle.

Overhead triceps extension exercise is the best isolation exercise for the long head muscle of your triceps. It helps to develop your triceps muscle growth and size. This is the best triceps workout with dumbbells. It is also known as dumbbell tricep extension.

overhead dumbbell extension

How to do Overhead Triceps Extension?

  • Stand with your feets are shoulder-width apart and grab one dumbbell. Grip the top end of the weight with both hands like a form Diamond.
  • Lift the dumbbell until your arms are fully extended up with a dumbbell with palms facing and elbows pointing forward.
  • Bending at the elbows and squeezing your triceps, slowly lower the dumbbell behind your head.
  • Slowly return to starting position and repeat.
  • Sets: 3
  • Reps: 12-14
  • Rest: 45 seconds in each set

Overhead Triceps Extension Tips!

  • Try to keep your elbows as still as possible throughout the exercises to ensure you’re isolating your tricep muscle.
  • To get the most from each extension, hold the position for a beat when your arms are fully extended.

Muscle Worked

Triceps extensions are very effective for isolating the triceps muscles. There are several variations but the overhead triceps extension has been shown to increase muscle mass the most.

If we talk about the muscle target, DB Overhead Triceps targets all of your triceps heads: long, lateral, and medial. However, most of our partners felt that it works more on the long head than the lateral head. So, it is the best exercise if you think to grow your long head tricep that is opposite your bicep.

The triceps is very difficult to exercise to know which head of muscle is working more in some moves. It is so confusing. But, according to our team members, we saw that the working of the triceps head is based on your forearm or palm’s position.

  • Palms facing to floor: More work on your lateral head.
  • Palms facing each other: More work on your long head.
  • Palms facing toward you (reverse grip of cable bar): Greater work on your long head and medial also.

When it comes to skull crushers and other lying triceps exercises, you might be a bit confused about how they work. When you lie down on the bench, the ceiling acts as a floor would. So, for example, skull crushers target the lateral head while French Press works on the long head.

Advance Move Compare to Overhead Tricep Extension

Below are some advanced tricep movement that shows effective pump on your both long and lateral tricep muscle.

1. Overhead Cable Extension

Turn back in front of the cable machine and bend slightly your torso forward, keeping your neck straight. Drop one leg back behind another one and create a stable position. Grab the cable in both hands, above your head, with your elbows tucked in next to your ears. Pull the cable with full extension in front of your head. Keep your elbows tight.

Allow the cable to retract with control, pulling your arms back to the side of your head. Let your elbows go as far back as your body will allow, so the long head gets a full extension. By doing this, you’ll achieve a full contraction in that long head.

Why Overhead Cable Extension: An Overhead Cable Extension is the perfect exercise for long head muscle and working through its full range of motion. The denser your long head muscle is, the overall larger the triceps appear. It is the best workout to build the muscles of the triceps.

2. Cable Overhead Extension (Low Pully)

Attach a rope to the bottom pulley of the cable machine and face away from the pulley.

To properly execute a rope tricep extension, start by gripping the rope with both hands in a neutral grip. Your palms should be facing each other. Then, extend your arms until your hands are directly above your head. Keep your elbows close to your head, and make sure that your arms are perpendicular to the floor with your knuckles pointing to the ceiling.

Slowly lower the rope behind your head, making sure not to move your upper arms. As you lower the rope, inhale deeply. Pause when your triceps are fully stretched. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat for the desired number of sets and reps.

Why Cable Overhead Triceps Extension: This exercise is great for targeting the triceps muscle. The direction of resistance keeps tension in the triceps, which can help with muscle growth.

3. Skullcrushers

lying tricep extension

Grab an underhand grip on the EZ bar and extend your arms straight up. Keeping your elbows tucked in and your arms perpendicular to the floor, slowly lower the bar until it is about an inch from your forehead. Slowly extend your arms back to starting position, without locking your elbows.


Why Skullcrushers: This exercise is also known as Lying Tricep Extension and is a formidable drill. The lying triceps extension exercise is perfect for building your lateral head triceps at an advanced level. It has so many ways to perform it, but your elbow extension remains constant. This exercise is not for beginners.

4. Cable Tricep Kickback

Set the pulley on a cable machine to the lowest setting and attach a single handle. While still facing the pulley, grab the handle in one hand and take a large step back so that there is tension in the cable.

Bend at the hips so your upper body is almost parallel to the ground and tuck your elbow into your side. Slightly bend your knees and stagger your stance if it feels more comfortable. Push the handle straight behind you by straightening your arm, then reverse the movement to return to the starting position.

Why Cable Tricep Kickback: A kickback triceps workout is a very effective and faster-building exercise for your lateral head triceps. When you kick the rope back with full force, it generates great pressure on your triceps that you feel by doing exercise.


You can do the triceps extension standing, sitting, or lying down, and either flat or on an incline/decline. You can also do it with different types of weight, like barbells or an EZ bar, but the advantage of doing it with a dumbbell in each hand is that you will be able to spot and work on any arm strength imbalances. Just be sure you don’t overdo it with the weight because it’s vital to go through the full range of movement with the exercise to work the triceps correctly and struggling with a dumbbell that’s too heavy will hamper your form.

General FAQs-

What is the best workout for the triceps?

Close-Grip Bench Press, Diamond Pushups, Cable Rope Triceps Extension, triceps dips, and Skullcrushes are the best workout for the triceps muscle. These exercises build your full range of three triceps muscles. This exercise targets all three muscles at once or shifts the focus to just one at a time.

How do I build triceps fast?

The fastest way to build your triceps is by incorporating exercises that target all three muscle heads. You’ll need to perform the exercise regularly while gradually increasing the weight as you become stronger. Increasing load helps you build triceps muscle fast. Just remember, it won’t happen overnight but combined with the right diet and consistency, you got results in a few months.

What triceps exercise hits all three heads?

Diamond pushups are a great way to hit all 3 heads simultaneously, as are close-grip bench presses, kickbacks, and tricep pushdowns that also hit three heads muscles.