The seated overhead tricep extension is a great exercise that isolates and strengthens all three heads of the tricep muscle.
In general, overhead extension exercises target the long head of the tricep, giving you an overall appearance of a larger tricep.
Not only can this isolation exercise help you achieve aesthetics, but also improve your strength for other pressing movements like the chest press. You will only need a dumbbell or a pair of dumbbells and a flat bench to perform it.
Undoubtedly, the exercise is popular for its ability to sculpt big guns. However, it could potentially place a lot of stress on your elbows.
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Therefore, it is crucial that you use the correct form and be cautious for maximum safety and effectiveness. Also, do enough warm up before you even consider lifting heavy dumbbells.
All in all, the move is a must in any tricep workout.
HOW TO DO SEATED OVERHEAD TRICEP EXTENSION
Here is the step-by-step procedure of how to do the exercise.
- Sit on the flat bench while holding one end of the dumbbell with both hands. Your palms should be facing each other.
- Get into the starting position by fully extending your arms and pressing the dumbbell overhead. Ensure to keep your biceps close to your ear.
- Brace your core and squeeze your glutes, maintaining this contraction throughout the exercise.
- With your upper arms kept stationary, bend your forearms until they touch the biceps to lower the weight behind your head. Pause for one second.
- Exhale as you extend your arms by flexing your triceps. This will raise the weight to return to the initial position.
- Return for the desired number of reps.
SEATED OVERHEAD TRICEP EXTENSION MUSCLES WORKED
This isolation exercise primarily engages the triceps which are located at the back of the upper arm. The triceps comprises of three heads, which are the long head, the lateral head, and the medial head.
These heads work together in order to extend the forearm at the elbow joint. During the exercise, only the elbow joint moves making this an isolation exercise.
SEATED OVERHEAD TRICEP EXTENSION BENEFITS
STRENGHTENS AND BUILDS TRICEPS
The exercise targets the triceps in isolation. This effectively strengthens it as it does not get curtailed by weaker muscles.
Compound exercises like the push-up or the chest press work the triceps together with other main upper body muscles. Strengthening both the triceps and biceps not only improves the shape of the arm but also increases arm strength.
STABILIZES SHOULDER AND ELBOW JOINTS
Strengthened triceps assist in stabilizing the shoulder and elbow joints. With stable arm joints, you will be able to comfortably carry out your daily activities like heavy lifting and pushing things.
Also, strengthened triceps can help you improve your athleticism in activities like swimming or hitting, passing and throwing a ball. Further, they stabilize the arms for fine motor activities like writing.
HELPS ACHIEVE AESTHETIC
Finally, the exercise helps define the triceps muscle better. They become larger and stronger.
This development improves the look of the upper arm. Otherwise, not training these muscles regularly causes them to loosen with age.
SEATED OVERHEAD TRICEP EXTENSION ALTERNATIVES
OVERHEAD BARBELL TRICEPS EXTENSION
The overhead barbell triceps extension is also known as the French press. It’s an isolation exercise that effectively engages all the three tricep heads.
It is important to note that barbells load the triceps with greater overall resistance load than dumbbells and cables.
SEATED TWO-ARM OVERHEAD DUMBBELL TRICEPS EXTENSION
The seated two-arm overhead dumbbell triceps extension is very similar to the seated overhead tricep extension. The only difference is that the former uses two dumbbells instead.
This isolation exercise involves lifting a separate dumbbell in each hand. This way both triceps get a proportional workout as they receive similar amounts of simulation.
Moreover, since both arms are already carrying their own weights, the stronger arm can’t dominate the movement.
SEATED OVERHEAD TRICEP EXTENSION MISTAKES TO AVOID
Do not raise the dumbbell directly over your head. This can be dangerous as the weight can accidently drop on top of your head.
Ensure that you tilt your head forward a little as you raise or lower the dumbbell behind your back.
Do not move your head during the exercise to accommodate the lifting and lowering process. It may be tempting especially if you don’t have a lot of mobility in the upper back and shoulders.
Ensure that your head and body are kept stationary and that the movement is isolated to the elbow joint. Also, always focus forward and chin off the chest.
INCOMPLETE RANGE OF MOTION
Do not try to reduce the range of motion than it should be. You may be tempted to do this if you have weaker triceps.
An incomplete range means an ineffective lowering of the weight just a few inches followed by an over-emphasis on the lifting phase to the start position. Use lighter weights at first, and slow and controlled movements.
FORWARD ELBOW PLACEMENT
Do not let your elbows float forward towards the front of the face. This is common if you have tight chest and shoulder muscles.
It reduces the tension placed on the triceps making the exercise less effective. Do upper body stretches first so as to help keep your arms moving forward.
Additionally, attempting the skull crusher can help you as the gravity pulls the arms into position.
Lastly, do not flare your elbows out as it lets you incorporate the biceps and shoulders to assist the flexion and extension. This will turn the exercise into a compound exercise and it will no longer isolate the triceps.
Ensure that your elbows are tucked in always to prevent this mistake. You can also reduce your weight to the right amount that will enable you maintain the proper elbow placement.
The seated overhead tricep extension is excellent for isolating and building the triceps. Essentially, maintain the correct form and technique to minimize the risk of injury and maximize the benefits.