Dumbbell Triceps Kickback: 3 Proven Benefits And How To Do Them

The dumbbell triceps kickback is one of the most effective isolated movements to help strengthen and build your triceps. Training your triceps helps build total upper body strength and is an essential part of any training program. We’re going to cover the benefits of dumbbell triceps kickbacks, how to do them, and why this exercise should be a staple in your upper body training split.

What Is The Dumbbell Triceps Kickback 

The triceps kickback is an isolated strength training movement. According to the American Council of Exercise (ACE) the triceps kickback is the second most effective exercise in muscle stimulation only to the triangle-diamond push up.

Triceps Kickback Muscles Worked

As the name implies, the triceps kickback primarily works your triceps. The triceps muscle is comprised of three heads, the long, medial, and lateral head. Triceps kickbacks significantly activate each head effectively.

  • Triceps Long Head: Responsible for most of the mass in the triceps and can be found on the back of the arm.
  • Lateral Head: Smaller than the long head but can be seen from the side (top of the horseshoe)
  • Medial Head: Least visible of the 3 heads of triceps and is important for providing stability and overall strength; found on the back of the arm near the elbow

Dumbbell Triceps Kickback Benefits

1. Stronger Arms 

Building stronger arms is a key component in total upper body strength and essential for any strength training program. Stronger arms lead to better functional movement, improving everyday activity, as well as athletic performance. Studies suggest that the triceps kickback provides more muscle activation than any other triceps exercise, with exception to the diamond push up making it an extremely effective strength training movement, to build stronger more defined triceps [R].

2. Weight Loss

Research indicates that the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn, and the higher your total daily energy expenditure. By efficiently building more muscle mass, you will more easily create a caloric deficit, leading to a greater chance of weight loss. With the triceps kickback as part of your training program, it will help you reach your weight loss goals, and achieve optimal body composition.

3. Balance And Core Strength

Triceps kickbacks can benefit overall posture, balance, and core strength. It requires balance for proper hip alignment as well as alignment with the shoulder joints. The core must also stabilize your upper body to achieve optimal positioning to improve core stability and strength. 

How To Do A Dumbbell Triceps Kickback

  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand, with your palms facing toward each other.
  • With your knees bent slightly, bring your torso near parallel to the floor and hinge at the hips.
  • Engage your core, and bring your forearms to 90 degrees, then extend your arm(s) behind you, while keeping your elbow stationary near your side and contract your triceps.
  • Lower the forearm down to about 90 degrees and repeat

Triceps Kickbacks: Takeaway

If you want bigger stronger arms, adding the dumbbells triceps kickback is going to help you get there. Isolated movements will help increase your strength, as well as improve aesthetics and muscle definition. 


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