Dumbbell Seated Overhead Tricep Extension

Isolation exercise, Free weights




Required equipment

Main muscles

  • Triceps: Three-headed arm muscle
    (Musculus triceps brachii)

Training plans

Dumbbell Seated Overhead Tricep Extension is a suitable substitute for similar exercises in or as a supplement to various training plans.

Dumbbell Seated Overhead Tricep Extension: Basics and alternatives

: Involved main muscle groups Dumbbell Seated Overhead Tricep Extension

Involved main muscle groups:
Dumbbell Seated Overhead Tricep Extension

The Dumbbell Seated Overhead Tricep Extension is a lot like other tricep isolation exercises. It involves using your elbows to lift a weight, usually by sitting down with a dumbbell and raising it from behind your head.

You can easily do this exercise at home, as all you need is a dumbbell. But if you want, you can try other tricep isolation exercises like the one-arm dumbbell tricep extension or kickbacks. The overhead tricep extension can also be done with a barbell or one-arm on a cable machine.

For great tricep workouts, combine this exercise with chest exercises like close-grip bench press or dips.

Correct execution

It’s important to use the right equipment for the Dumbbell Seated Overhead Tricep Extension. Avoid dumbbells with smooth grips, as the springs to secure the weights can be too weak and may cause half the plate to fall on your head.

Also, don’t use adjustable dumbbells for this exercise, as they aren’t designed to handle the force applied solely through the handle.

Instead, use dumbbells with screw locks or fixed weights and make sure they can handle the load before lifting it over your head (check the instructions).

You can do this exercise on a flat bench without back padding or on an incline bench with raised back padding. On the incline bench, the back padding should be fully raised or only slightly tilted backwards to make the exercise easier to perform by stabilizing your upper back.

Video tutorial

Dumbbell Seated Overhead Tricep Extension

Step-by-Step Guide

Grab your dumbbell and lift it to your shoulder. Place it on your shoulder and secure it with one hand while holding the grip with the other.

Sit up straight on the weight bench with a slight arch in your back. Keep your feet firmly on the ground and maintain a stable body.

To grip the dumbbell correctly, ensure the weight plates are facing up and down. Move one hand to the grip under the upper plates and the other hand under the upper plates as well. This way, you’ll be holding the weight plates instead of the handle.

Lift the dumbbell behind your head with this grip. Your elbows should be pointing forward. Lower the weight slightly behind your head, but don’t bend your elbows too much. Be careful not to hit yourself on the back of your head or neck! You’re now in the starting position.

Extend your arms by your elbows and lift the weight over your head. Don’t fully extend your elbows; keep them slightly bent at the end. Hold this position for a moment, then lower the weight back down to the starting position.

Avoiding Mistakes and Injuries

Ensure the extension only comes from your elbows, not your shoulders or upper body. Don’t use momentum to lift the weight. If you can’t move the weight smoothly with your elbows, use a lighter weight.

Like with other tricep isolation exercises, don’t fully extend your elbows at the end of the extension movement when doing the Dumbbell Seated Overhead Tricep Extension. This puts strain on your joints and can cause issues over time. Keep your elbows slightly bent.

Also, use the appropriate type of dumbbell for this exercise. Avoid adjustable dumbbells or ones with a smooth grip.

Most importantly, don’t perform this exercise with momentum. Since the dumbbell is lifted behind your head, there’s a risk of hitting yourself on the back of your head if you lower it with too much force. Carry out the movement in a controlled manner to prevent this.