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

It’s held in excessive regard by bodybuilders and power athletes as a result of it’s significantly 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 useful, the best way to carry out it with correct kind, the most effective overhead triceps extension alternate options, and extra.


What Is the Overhead Triceps Extension?

The overhead triceps extension (typically 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 decreasing the dumbbell behind your head by bending your elbows.

The overhead triceps extension is an isolation train, which suggests it solely trains one muscle group (the triceps). This differs from compound workouts 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 most important of the three and thus contributes most to the general measurement of your triceps. 

In contrast to most compound workouts that prepare the triceps, the overhead triceps extension emphasizes the lengthy head over the medial and lateral heads. This implies it’s significantly properly 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 workouts, it additionally trains the medial and lateral heads to a excessive diploma, too.)

One other advantage of 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 mostly higher for muscle progress. 

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

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Overhead Triceps Extension: Muscle tissue Labored

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


Overhead Triceps Extension: Type

The easiest way to be taught the best way to do the overhead triceps extension is to separate the train into three components: arrange, descend, lengthen.

Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extension


1. Arrange

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

2. Descend

Whereas conserving your higher arms as near perpendicular to the ground as doable, 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 throughout the descent.

Attempt to reduce your upper-arm motion as you raise the load, as shifting your arms will increase the possibilities of knocking your noggin with the dumbbell. 

Right here’s the way it ought to look if 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 a substitute of coaching your arms bilaterally (each collectively), you prepare every unilaterally (separately).

That is useful as a result of it . . .

  • Might allow you to raise extra complete weight than you possibly can with some bilateral workouts, 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 deal with one facet of your physique at a time
  • Helps you right muscle imbalances, as a result of either side of your physique are pressured to raise 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 advantage of the cable overhead triceps extension is that through the use of a cable, there’s fixed rigidity in your triceps all through every rep. This taxes your triceps barely in a different way to the dumbbell overhead triceps extension.

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

3. Band Overhead Triceps Extension

Band Overhead Triceps Extension

The band overhead triceps extension is an efficient variation for those who wish to work out at house or whereas touring and have restricted house and gear. 

Nevertheless, as a result of a resistance band presents virtually no resistance when it’s slack, there’s little rigidity 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 if you don’t have entry to fitness center gear.

To carry out the band overhead triceps extension, place your left foot on an train band in order that it lies beneath the center of your foot. Bend over and seize the free finish of the train band in your left hand and raise 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, change sides and repeat the method along with your proper arm.

+ Scientific References