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Single-Arm Dumbbell Triceps Extension

Single-Arm Dumbbell Triceps Extension is a finishing exercise for working the triceps with emphasis on the long head.

Single-Arm Dumbbell Triceps Extension is a simple and effective exercise to gain strength and muscle volume. Finishing movement to be placed at the end of the session allows good congestion. However, not allowing a balanced development of the triceps, Single-Arm Dumbbell Triceps Extension is not recommended for beginners who must focus more on full muscle work.

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How To Make A Single-Arm Dumbbell Triceps Extension

1- Starting position

  • Take the dumbbell in one hand and preferably sit on a bench with a backrest. Failing that, be sure to sheath the abdominals well so as not to arch your back.
  • Put your feet flat on the floor and keep your head and chest straight.
  • Raise the dumbbell to shoulder height and then extend your arm vertically to bring it just above your head. Point the palm of your hand forward.
  • The free arm can rest along the body, be pressed against the belly, or hold the hip. It can also be used to hold the elbow and support the forearm during exercise, or to grab the edge of the bench to gain stability (if you don’t have a backrest).

2- Execution of the movement


  • Slowly lower the dumbbell and forearm behind your head, while keeping your upper arm still, your elbow pointed toward the ceiling.
  • Continue until the dumbbell is behind the neck and the triceps are fully stretched.


  • Contract the triceps to raise the dumbbell back to the starting position, arm extended, retaining a slight flexion in the elbow.
  • Stay in this position for a second for optimal contraction.

Repeat the movement until the end of your series.

Targeted Muscles

Due to the position of the arm vertically above the head, the long portion of the triceps will be particularly stretched, it is for this reason that it is she who will intervene the most during this exercise.

Muscles worked:

  • Long Chef Triceps

Secondary muscles:

  • Triceps middle portion
  • Triceps lateral portion
  • AnconĂ©

This movement does not make it possible to build muscle in the three parts of the triceps in an equivalent manner, it is for this reason that it cannot be considered as a complete exercise and that it is not necessary for beginners.

When you start, it is indeed more important to focus on the more basic movements, which develop the complete mass of the triceps.

It is nevertheless an excellent finishing exercise, which can also very easily be used in a super-set, following a more basic movement.

It is best worked in long series, to get congestion and burning. These sensations can be amplified by the use of the degressive method, Single-Arm Dumbbell Triceps Extension lends itself very well to this type of technique.

7 Training Tips

  1. Do not round your back while exercising. This would force you to lean forward and place excessive stress on the intervertebral discs and shoulder joint, possibly causing injury.
  2. Keep your upper arm in an upright position so that your elbow is always pointing directly above your head. If you do not do this, the overall effectiveness of the movement will be reduced and you may place excessive stress on your elbow.
  3. Lock your elbow high above your head only if your arm is stretched vertically. Locking causes an even stronger contraction of the triceps and ankle muscles, followed by muscle relaxation when the load is supported mainly by the bones of the arm.
  4. To vary, place your hand in pronation (turn the palm forward) while stretching the elbow to obtain a stronger contraction of the internal beam. To focus on the outer beam, supine your hand (turn it in the opposite direction) when your arm approaches full extension.
  5. As an alternative, performing the movement in the standing position puts less pressure on the discs, as your legs can act as shock absorbers and support part of the load. This provides more stabilization for the bust and thus less risk of rounding your back.
  6. For more stability at the bust and more strength to handle heavier loads, inhale and block your breathing by pushing the dumbbell up. Exhale by locking the elbow, pause, then inhale and block your breathing as you lower the dumbbell. Exhale as you approach the starting position and pause before trying again.
  7. To maintain the correct arm and chest position, use an overly heavy load. If you take a very heavy load, you will then have to compensate by leaning your body on the opposite side to the arm that is being used. This in itself is not dangerous, but can put excessive stress on the discs and obviously make it harder to keep your back straight.

How To Avoid Injuries?

To avoid injury, it is necessary to follow a few safety rules. So, when performing vertical extensions it is very important that you keep your back straight. If you lean forward, you may injure your intervertebral discs and your shoulder.

However, if you have difficulty keeping a straight back during your workouts, you can perform the Single-Arm Dumbbell Triceps Extension while standing. Indeed, your legs will then support part of the weight of the dumbbells and you will probably feel more stable.

When performing the Single-Arm Dumbbell Triceps Extension at the barre, contract your lower back to prevent you from lowering your lower back.

In addition, to avoid injury to your elbow, it should always point above your head. To do this, the upper part of your arm must remain upright.

As is often the case, it is useless to take too heavy loads. This would risk forcing you to adopt a position that will not be good for your back.

Avoid performing the Dumbbell Triceps Extension variant at the barre if you do not have the flexibility in the shoulders to point the elbows above the head. In fact, you risk injuring yourself in the spine or losing your balance.


  • Inhale while lowering the dumbbell.
  • Exhale during the climb.

For better stability of the bust hold your breath: breathe in at the start position and exhale at the end of the climb.


There are a few variations of the Single-Arm Dumbbell Triceps Extension.

First of all, the exercise can be done with two hands, which allows you to build both arms at once.
To do this, place yourself in the initial position, that is to say, sit on the bench, back straight. Grab a dumbbell with both hands and place it behind your neck, arms straight.

Start by taking a deep breath and lower the dumbbell to your neck by bending your elbows. Be careful to control your movement so as not to injure yourself with the dumbbell.

Return to the initial position while exhaling, until your arms are fully extended.

Another variation is to use a barbell rather than a dumbbell. To do this, resume the sitting position, back straight on the bench, with your feet flat on the floor.

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Grab a bar with the palms facing forward. Your hands should be placed so that your thumbs are under your little fingers. Raise your arms above your head, keeping your hands in line with your arms. Breathe deeply by bending your forearms to lower the bar behind your head. Your elbows should remain pointed up. Raise slowly while exhaling, until you find yourself in the basic position, arms straight.

In this variant, limit your movements to the simple flexion and extension of your elbows. Your arms and body should stay still.

A final variant consists of using a low pulley. For this exercise, you must, therefore, equip yourself with a suitable device. Adjust the pulley so that it is between 30 and 60cm above the ground, and attach a rope to it. Sit on the bench, and place the rope above your head. Contract your arms as soon as you feel the tension in the cable. Your elbows should stay close to your head, and your arms should not move apart.

Extend your arms while keeping them as still as possible, while contracting your triceps. Gently lower the bar to your neck while exhaling.

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