9 Dumbbell Exercises That'll Hit Your Triceps

Don't let your biceps get all the love.

Originally Published: 
The best tricep exercises with dumbbells, according to trainers.
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If you have a set of dumbbells, you can move through some great tricep exercises. These muscles on the backs of your arms are often overlooked, says trainer John Gardner, but you can easily train them with a few simple moves. Here’s how to get started.


Tricep Kickback

Gardner says this move engages the triceps instantly.

- Stand feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent.

- With a dumbbell in each hand, lean forward 45 degrees.

- Straighten arms, push dumbbells back behind you.

- Hold 2 seconds, lower.

Do 3 sets, 12 reps.


Skull Crusher

Trainer James Shapiro says this is one of his favorite tricep exercises.

- Lie on bench, dumbbell in each hand, palms facing in.

- Lift dumbbells over face.

- Bend elbows so weight drops behind head.

- Straighten arms to lift weights back up.

Do 12 reps, 2 sets.


Bench Tricep Extension

Shapiro says this is similar to a bent-over row.

- Set up bench at 30-degree angle. Lie on it chest down, feet in wide stance.

- Hold dumbbells each hand.

- Raise elbows to sides of ribs, like a row.

- Lower, repeat.

Do 10 reps, 2x.


Overhead Extensions

Trainer Emily Skye says this targets the triceps and back.

- Hold dumbbell in both hands above head.

- Slowly bend elbows to lower weight behind head.

- Keep chest up, core engaged.

- At lowest point, straighten elbows to lift weight back overhead.

Do 10 reps.


Squeeze Press

Skye says this takes your legs out of the equation, so all the focus is on your arms.

- Lie back on bench, dumbbell in each hand.

- Place weights together, lift them above chest.

- Lower back down together as they continue to touch.

- Push back up.

Do 10 reps.

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Skye says this improves stability, posture, and upper body strength.

- Hold dumbbell in both hands.

- Lower into slight squat.

- Bring dumbbell across body toward hips.

- Raise back to chest height.

- Repeat on other side for one rep.

Alternate for 15 reps.

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Kneeling Extension

Here’s another move from Skye that targets the triceps.

- Kneel, hold dumbbell in one hand above head.

- Slowly bend elbow, lower weight behind head. Weight follows path of spine.

- At lowest point, straighten elbow to extend weight back up.

Do 10 reps per arm.


Diamond Press

Fitness pro Laurie Alfano says this targets triceps without straining the shoulders.

- Lie on your back, knees bent, feet on mat.

- Hold dumbbell in both hands. Hover weight above abs.

- Bend elbows down to touch mat.

- Press weight back up.

Do 3 sets, 15 reps.


Bent-Over Row

While this is mainly a back exercise, Gardner says it also works the triceps and core.

- Stand, dumbbell in each hand, knees slightly bent.

- Hinge at hips.

- Engage core, pull dumbbells to chest, bending elbows.

- Hold. Return to start.

Do 3 sets, 12-15 reps.

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