As the name suggests, the one-arm triceps extension is an exercise that targets the triceps. It is an isolation exercise that works the muscles at the back of the upper arm.
These muscles include the long head, the lateral head, and the medial head. The one-arm triceps extension is an isolation exercise because it involves the movement of one joint only.
In addition to working the triceps, the one-arm triceps extension targets the shoulders and the core.
It is also known as the one-arm overhead extension.
Targeted muscles: Triceps, shoulder, and core.
Difficulty level: Intermediate.
- Hold a dumbbell in one hand and sit on a military press bench. Bring the dumbbell to the level of your thigh.
- Lift the dumbbell, bring it to your shoulder height, and extend that arm over your head. Male sure your shoulder is perpendicular to the floor.
- Turn your wrist until the palm of your hand is facing forward. Make sure your pinkie is facing the ceiling.
- Bring the dumbbell behind your head in a controlled motion, ensuring that your upper arm is stationary. Breathe in and stop momentarily when your triceps are fully extended.
- Flex your triceps and return to the 3rd Breathe out as you flex your triceps.
The one-arm triceps extension isolates the triceps and shoulders. It works the long, lateral, and medial heads of the triceps. When the weight is above the head, it tenses the shoulder muscles.
Also, the exercise works the core because it requires you to balance your posture during the execution phase.
BENEFITS OF THE ONE-ARM TRICEPS EXTENSION
IMPROVING ARM STRENGTH
The one-arm triceps extension works the back of the upper arm and, in some ways, the front of the upper arm. The exercise isolates the triceps, contributing to the strengthening of that muscle. Also, it improves the shape of the arms.
SHOULDER AND ELBOW STABILITY
Since the workout strengthens the triceps, it contributes to stable shoulder and elbow joints. Having a stable elbow and shoulder will help you move comfortably through the day. It will also make lifting heavy objects an easy task.
IMPROVES YOUR ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE
Having strong triceps will improve your performance in demanding athletic activities.
For instance, if you are a swimmer, a basketballer, or a tennis player, you need strong triceps to cut through the water, throw the basketball, and hit the tennis ball.
ALTERNATIVES TO ONE-ARM TRICEPS EXTENSION
LYING TRICEPS EXTENSION
The lying triceps extension, also known as the skull crusher, is a variation of the one-arm triceps extension. You will lie on a bench and lower the weight behind your head when performing this exercise.
SEATED TRICEPS EXTENSION
The seated triceps extension is similar to the one-arm triceps extension but involves sitting on a bench or a chair. It is good for maintaining a good posture. Also, it works the triceps, shoulders, and core.
MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN PERFORMING THE ONE-ARM TRICEPS EXTENSION
Lifting and lowering a dumbbell behind your head may feel awkward initially. If you are not flexible enough, you may find yourself knocking the back of your head with the weights.
Try to keep your head still and isolated while performing the activity. Get it out of the path of your elbow movement. Keep it aligned over the midline of your chest. Keep your chin off your chest.
INCOMPLETE RANGE OF MOTION
It is common to cheat if you have not been working your triceps often. In this case, cheating means shortening your range of motion. You will drop the weight a few inches shorter than normal then lift it back to the starting position. By shortening your range of motion, you will be cheating your body on the benefits of the exercise.
Have a friend around to watch and help you if you are a first-timer.
FORWARD ELBOW PLACEMENT
A common mistake people make when performing the one-arm triceps extension is letting the elbow float forward towards the front of the face. This problem occurs when your shoulder and chest muscles are too tight. The problem that comes with the forward elbow placement is that it lessens the effect of the workout. If you want to get the most out of the exercise, place your arms directly overhead so that your biceps are close to your ears.
Flaring your elbow to the side can also cause problems with the exercise. It will allow you to use other body parts, such as the biceps and shoulders, to assist the flexion and the extension. Assisting the flexion and the extension using the shoulders and biceps will no longer isolate the triceps. This will prevent you from gaining triceps muscles.
TRICEPS MUSCLE TEAR
The one-arm triceps extension can cause your triceps muscles to tear. This will lead to the damage of the muscle fiber located in the back of the arm. The injury can be difficult to treat and may require surgery. Also, the injury takes time to heal.
You can avoid this injury by preventing forceful contraction of the bicep. Also, controlling the movement of your elbow can prevent injury. Seek medical attention if you feel pain in your shoulders.
In the initial stages of the exercise, you will perform the exercise using light dumbbells. With time, you will need to increase the weight as you get accustomed to the lightweight. Adjusting to the new weight can be challenging and might cause arm injury.
Avoid graduating to heavyweights too quickly. If jumping up the weights by 5lbs is too much, consider exercises that allow you to share the weight in both arms.
If you want to increase the size of your triceps, then the one-arm triceps extension is the exercise for you. Its impact on triceps growth is quite significant.
It is also easy to perform and requires less effort. It poses a few health risks, but only if you perform it incorrectly. Give it a try and see its benefits for yourself.