Sports Training

Lying Dumbbell Triceps Extension

Biceps get the most focus when it comes to shaping more muscular arms. They are, after all, the primary arm muscles anyone notices or you notice when you look in the mirror. Who wouldn't love seeing their arm muscles stand alert whenever they flex their elbow?

Fun fact? Your biceps only constitute a third of your upper arm bulk. The triceps, on the other hand, form the other two-thirds. They are shaped like lobster claws and are found on either side of the triceps.

Having exercises and workouts that target these muscles is the secret behind having strong arm muscles. Only a few exercises target them efficiently, including lying triceps extension dumbbell.

While there are many triceps exercises to select from, integrating this specific action (lying triceps extension dumbbell)into your routine can quickly tighten up the rear of your arms. Just keep in mind that the key to getting the most out of the exercise is to pay close attention to your form and consistency.

How to Perform the Exercise

Lying dumbbell triceps extension as a warmup before your exercise routine

The lying triceps extension workout takes advantage of gravity to assist enhance the weight's resistance. This, in return, allows the dumbbells to target the elusive tricep muscles for their growth and build.


Get in a lying position, probably on a flat bench with your head on one end with your feet anchored on the ground.

Get the dumbbells, one on each hand, with a neutral grip. Ensure the arms are extended such that your palms are above your body and facing each other.

Your upper arms and elbow should be still and perpendicular to the flat bench.

Slowly,  bend your elbows, lowering the dumbbells at a point your elbows are near the 90- degree angle.

You will feel a stretch of the tricep muscle. Pause in the position for some time.

Slowly, relax your muscles and extend your arms again entirely to the initial position.


Your legs should be properly placed on the ground and not on the bench
  • Your feet should not be on the bench. They should be firmly planted on the ground.
  • Lower the weights by your arm power and do not rely on momentum from gravity.
  • You may also strengthen the tricep muscles by standing and not necessarily lying.

Exercise Recap

  • Muscles involved: Arms (triceps) and lower chest
  • Difficulty level: Medium, Beginner, Intermediate
  • Equipment: Dumbbells, bench
  • Main focus: Strength
  • Mechanics: Isolation

When Do I Incorporate the Lying Triceps Extension Routine?

A fitness trainer performing the lying dumbbell triceps extension

The exercise routine is great for warmups before you begin your regular tricep routine. After the warm-up sets, do the lying triceps extension to fire up your tricep muscles. Get to attempt the routine in sets of about 10 reps before engaging in movements such as triceps press down. The exercise can also be done with one arm, with the other acting as support.

What to Avoid When Performing The Exercise

Here are a few mistakes to avoid when doing the lying dumbbell triceps extension.

Head Movement

 Try restraining your head to avoid unnecessary movement

For beginners, this is a common mistake you should watch out for.

It may seem strange at first to lift and lower weight behind your head. You may notice that you shift your head to accommodate the raising and lowering of the weights procedure. If you lack mobility on your shoulders, your head is bound to move especially when you try standing.

Ensure you restrain movement by focusing your chin off the chest and your head aligned midline over your chest. When lying, however, this is usually not a problem.

Incomplete Reps

Lying dumbbell triceps extension showing muscles worked on during the exercise

The triceps are sometimes overlooked when working out. Hence they may be weaker than other muscles. When working out, you might be tempted to attempt incomplete ranges through the exercise as you just lower the weights to a smaller distance then start again.

Instead, you should stick to the 90-degree rule of your elbow with the movements being slow and steady. Having a trainer to watch you on this is highly recommended. Alternatively, it’s advisable to lower the weights if the routine proves challenging rather than doing incomplete cycles.

Elbow Placement

Proper elbow placement when performing the lying dumbbell triceps extension

Allowing the elbows to drift forward towards the front of the face is perhaps the most common triceps extension mistake. If your chest and shoulder muscles are tense, this is more likely to happen.

However, it reduces the triceps' workload and this in return renders the whole exercise less effective. The arms should be straight overhead, with the biceps nearer your head.

If the exercise is straining, you may attempt routines to stretch your upper body before the triceps extension one. In the alternative Skull crusher, you may employ gravity to help you position your arms properly.

Flaring Elbows

Ensure your elbows are placed well to reap the most of the exercise routine

With elbows flaring to the side, it becomes problematic. Having your elbow away from your head enlists the biceps and shoulders to help in the weights. This means the workout force will be distributed on all three instead of targeting only the intended tricep muscles. Reduce the weights where necessary and ensure your elbow is appropriately placed.

Benefits of Dumbbell Lying Triceps Extension

Here are some of the benefits that come along with the lying dumbbell triceps extension routine:

Strikes a Balance Between Arms

The Dumbbell Lying Triceps Extension Strikes a Balance Between Both Arms

On most occasions, one arm may be more muscular or even more prominent than the other. This occurs especially when using a barbell, as the stronger muscle can lift more weight, with the illusion that the force is distributed equally among the arms. Using one dumbbell per arm, on the other hand, allows each arm to pull its weight.

Another exercise you can do to balance your arms is dumbbell or barbell shrugs.

Target Specific Muscles

Specific muscles targeted by the lying dumbbell triceps extension workout routine

Tricep extensions, including the dumbbell lying tricep extension, isolates the triceps to a large extent, letting you concentrate all of your efforts on one muscle area.

Other exercises that work the triceps include the dumbbell bench press, the barbell bench press, overhead cable curls, and the single arm French press.


A great benefit of lying dumbbell triceps extensions is adaptability, you can do the workout with one arm or with two arms

You have the option of working out either bilaterally or unilaterally. One arm may be used at a time, both arms can be used simultaneously, or you can alternate arms.


All that is required for the lying dumbbell triceps extension routine is a flat bench or floor and dumbbells

Most tricep extension exercises require the use of specialized equipment such as cables. However, with a lying dumbbell tricep extension, you will just need dumbbells and a bench to do this workout. The exercise can even be executed on the floor but with a limited range of motion.


Lying dumbbell triceps extension is arguably the best exercise for your triceps

We all crave an almost perfect upper body with bigger arms, more muscular biceps and triceps, and general strength from the upper back. Most of the routines aim at the biceps and upper chest; however, the lying triceps extension is isolating. This means it just targets one muscle, the tricep.

The tricep contains three muscles, long, lateral, and medial muscles, that aid in straightening the elbow. Get to fire up your triceps on your next workout session with the lying triceps extension dumbbell routine.

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