The overhead triceps extension is an isolation train that trains your triceps.

It’s held in excessive regard by bodybuilders and energy athletes as a result of it’s notably efficient at coaching the lengthy head of the triceps—the meatiest muscle on the again of your higher arm that balances your aesthetics and helps you press heavy weights.

On this article, you’ll be taught what the overhead triceps extension is, why it’s helpful, methods to carry out it with correct type, one of the best overhead triceps extension options, and extra.


What Is the Overhead Triceps Extension?

The overhead triceps extension (generally known as the seated overhead triceps extension or seated triceps press) is a triceps train that entails holding a dumbbell above your head along with your arms outstretched, then reducing the dumbbell behind your head by bending your elbows.

The overhead triceps extension is an isolation train, which implies it solely trains one muscle group (the triceps). This differs from compound workout routines just like the bench press, overhead press, and dip, which prepare the triceps, but additionally prepare different muscle teams such because the pecs and shoulders.

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Overhead Triceps Extension: Advantages

The triceps has three heads: The lateral head, medial head, and lengthy head. The lengthy head is the biggest of the three and thus contributes most to the general measurement of your triceps. 

In contrast to most compound workout routines that prepare the triceps, the overhead triceps extension emphasizes the lengthy head over the medial and lateral heads. This implies it’s notably effectively suited to serving to you add measurement to your higher arms.

(Discover I mentioned “emphasize” and never “isolate.” That’s as a result of though the overhead triceps extension trains the lengthy head greater than most different triceps workout routines, it additionally trains the medial and lateral heads to a excessive diploma, too.)

One other good thing about the overhead triceps extension is that it locations the arms overhead, which absolutely stretches the triceps. That is necessary as a result of analysis exhibits that coaching a muscle in a stretched place is usually higher for muscle development. 

These distinctive advantages are why I all the time the overhead triceps extension in my very own coaching and my health applications for women and men, Greater Leaner Stronger and Thinner Leaner Stronger

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Overhead Triceps Extension: Muscle groups Labored

The overhead triceps extension trains all three heads of the triceps. Right here’s how they appear when considered from behind:


Overhead Triceps Extension: Type

One of the simplest ways to be taught methods to do the overhead triceps extension is to separate the train into three elements: arrange, descend, lengthen.

Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extension

1. Arrange

Sit up on a flat bench or along with your again pressed towards an upright bench with a low backrest. Grip one finish of a dumbbell utilizing each palms and carry it overhead in order that your arms are straight. Maneuver your palms in order that they’re flat towards the top of the dumbbell and going through towards the ceiling. 

2. Descend

Whereas holding your higher arms as near perpendicular to the ground as potential, decrease the dumbbell behind your head by bending your elbows. Go so far as your flexibility permits or till you are feeling a deep stretch in your triceps.

3. Lengthen

Push the dumbbell towards the ceiling by straightening your elbows and return to the beginning place. This can be a mirror picture of what you probably did in the course of the descent.

Attempt to decrease your upper-arm motion as you carry the burden, as shifting your arms will increase the probabilities of knocking your noggin with the dumbbell. 

Right here’s the way it ought to look once you put all of it collectively:

Overhead Triceps Extension gif

The Greatest Overhead Triceps Extension Various

1. Single-Arm Overhead Triceps Extension

Single-Arm Overhead Triceps Extension


The single-arm overhead triceps extension (or one-arm triceps extension) is identical because the common triceps extension, besides as an alternative of coaching your arms bilaterally (each collectively), you prepare every unilaterally (separately).

That is helpful as a result of it . . .

  • Might allow you to carry extra complete weight than you possibly can with some bilateral workout routines, which can assist you acquire extra muscle over time
  • Helps you develop a larger mind-muscle connection along with your triceps, since you solely must concentrate on one facet of your physique at a time
  • Helps you right muscle imbalances, as a result of each side of your physique are pressured to carry the identical quantity of weight (one facet can’t “take over” from the opposite)

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2. Cable Overhead Triceps Extension

Cable Overhead Triceps Extension

The primary good thing about the cable overhead triceps extension is that by utilizing a cable, there’s fixed pressure in your triceps all through every rep. This taxes your triceps barely otherwise to the dumbbell overhead triceps extension.

To carry out the cable overhead triceps extension, regulate the pulley on a cable machine to chest peak and fasten the rope deal with. Grip one finish of the rope in every hand and step away from the cable machine so there’s pressure within the cable, then flip your again to the pulley, bringing your palms to both facet of your head. Lean ahead barely and stagger your stance for added stability. Press the burden above your head by extending your elbows, then decrease the burden and return to the beginning place.

3. Band Overhead Triceps Extension

Band Overhead Triceps Extension

The band overhead triceps extension is an efficient variation in case you prefer to work out at dwelling or whereas touring and have restricted house and gear. 

Nonetheless, as a result of a resistance band gives virtually no resistance when it’s slack, there’s little pressure in your triceps after they’re stretched. This makes the band overhead triceps extension much less efficient for constructing muscle than the cable or dumbbell overhead triceps extension, which is why it is best to solely use it once you don’t have entry to health club gear.

To carry out the band overhead triceps extension, place your left foot on an train band in order that it lies underneath the center of your foot. Bend over and seize the unfastened finish of the train band in your left hand and carry it in order that your hand is behind your head and your higher arm is beside your left ear, perpendicular to the ground. Press the band above your head by extending your elbow, then decrease your hand and return to the beginning place. When you’ve accomplished the specified variety of reps, swap sides and repeat the method along with your proper arm.

+ Scientific References