Seated dumbbell extension is also known as the seated overhead triceps extension and is an isolation exercise that targets the triceps.
Often, the seated dumbbell extension is confused with the skull crusher. Although there exist similarities between these two, the following are major differences that spell them apart:
You will need to lie with your back flat on a bench to perform the skull crusher while the seated dumbbell extension will require you to sit down.
Although both of these exercises target your triceps muscles, they specialize in different areas. The skull crusher will aim at all three heads of the triceps while on the other hand, this exercise will focus on the long head of the triceps.
Lastly, the skull crusher has a higher difficulty level than this exercise.
This is because while the latter will recruit various muscle groups, such as the core and lower back muscles, the former will put all the weight on your arms and shoulders.
Read on for detailed information about this article, including the proper form of doing it, muscles worked, common mistakes to avoid and its alternatives.
HOW TO DO SEATED DUMBBELL EXTENSION PROPERLY
Feel free to use either a flat bench or an adjustable one for this exercise. If you use the adjustable bench, start adjusting it to 90 degrees.
To get into position, sit in an upright position and proceed to lift the dumbbell to the top of your shoulder.
Hold for a count or two and overlap your hands around the dumbbell. After this, proceed to press it into an over-the-head or overhead position.
While maintaining an overlapping grip, lower the dumbbell slowly behind your head by unlocking your elbows.
Continue the overhead press until your forearms reach parallel or slightly below.
Once they do, drive the dumbbell back to the initial starting point by extending your elbows and flexing the triceps. This is one rep. Repeat for the required number of reps.
SEATED DUMBBELL EXTENSION TIPS TO CONSIDER
If you have a previous pre-existing arm condition, make sure you get the go-ahead from your doctor first before proceeding with the exercise.
Additionally, if you feel any discomfort while performing the overhead press movement of this exercise, stop immediately and take to other forms of working your triceps.
SEATED DUMBBELL EXTENSION COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID
Avoid common mistakes while performing the seated dumbbell extension for maximum benefit and effectiveness.
Avoid overextending through your lumbar spine. Keep your ribcage down by recruiting some tension through the abs and glutes.
Avoid going too fast as this will reduce the tension of the exercise to target muscles and reduce your mind-muscle connection.
Avoid jutting your neck forward during this exercise as this may apply excess unnecessary pressure on your spine. Always aim for a neutral head position.
The triceps are among the weaker muscles of the body. Due to this, you might be tempted not to complete entire reps. Cheat reps will reduce the impact of the exercise to target muscles.
Avoid floating the elbows forward toward the front of the face as this will reduce the workload of the exercise to the target muscles and render it less effective.
Avoid flaring your elbows out to the side. This will recruit other muscles such as the shoulders and biceps to help with extension and flexion.
SEATED DUMBBELL EXTENSION MUSCLES WORKED
Your triceps are the main muscles that get worked in most pressing movements.
However, unlike most of them, the seated dumbbell extension is a great isolation movement that will directly focus on your triceps, particularly the long head of the triceps.
As an isolation exercise, this routine will not target the shoulders directly. However, the deltoids play a critical role as stabilizers during the over-press movements.
Similarly, your core doesn’t get hit directly in this exercise. However, this doesn’t mean that it doesn’t play any role. It helps to keep your back stable to avoid being pulled back by the weight of the dumbbell.
SEATED DUMBBELL EXTENSION BENEFITS
This exercise serves numerous roles in strength and muscle development routines. Below are some of the benefits associated with this powerful exercise.
The triceps cover most of the arm. Due to this, if your goal is to increase the size of your arm, working on the triceps will come in handy.
Specifically, one of the most effective ways to do this is engaging in overhead triceps isolation movements, which focus on the long head of the triceps. This routine is one such exercise.
INCREASED ARM STRENGTH
As mentioned earlier, the seated dumbbell extension increases arm strength. If you think that bigger arms are only appealing, think again. Bigger and stronger arms will help perform other bench press exercises easily.
Due to this, this exercise is a very great exercise to help in breaking upper body plateaus.
INCREASED ELBOW STABILITY AND JOINT HEALTH
Stability around the joints is key especially when it comes to the prevention of injuries or reduction of injury risks.
Since the elbow joints are among the muscles worked by this exercise, their muscle strength and control is also increased.
Additionally, the pressing will increase stability during elbow flexion and extension.
SEATED DUMBBELL EXTENSION ALTERNATIVES
Below are exercises that can replace this exercise during your workout.
OVERHEAD STANDING CABLE TRICEP EXTENSION
This alternative will work similar muscles to the seated dumbbell extension. However, for this one, cables are their main resistance and they are performed while standing.
SKULL CRASHER PULLOVER
This alternative is a variation of the skull crusher but involves allowing your elbows to reach back as if performing a pullover with bent arms.
The seated dumbbell extension is a great exercise to work your triceps. Additionally, feel free to perform its alternatives to shake things and break the monotony.