Exercise Guide, Shoulders

How To Do Standing Dumbbell Tricep Extension Properly

Standing dumbbell tricep extension is a hypertrophy workout that targets the tricep muscles by extending the elbow.

Ideally, the exercise is executed from a standing position, holding the dumbbell with both hands at the back of the head.

The triceps are worked by extending the elbow joints to move the dumbbell upwards, such that the weight is held behind the head at the top.

This exercise challenges your strength and core stability. Note that your core and stabilizer muscles are worked depending on whether you use one or both arms.

Also known as Standing Tricep Press, Standing Overhead Tricep Extension

Targeted Muscles: Triceps

Required Equipment: Dumbbell

Exercise Type: Hypertrophy

Exercise Mechanics: Isolation

Difficulty Level: Intermediate


  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and equally place the weight between your feet. Ensure your knees are soft and your core is engaged. Keep your shoulders down and back.
  • Starting with a light dumbbell, hold it with both hands and move it towards your shoulder on one side. Rest the head of the dumbbell on your shoulder.
  • Hold the dumbbell with an overhand grip and ensure the dumbbell handle is between your thumb and index finger.
  • Lift the dumbbell behind your head. During this transition, ensure you keep your core engaged. Do not arch your lower back. The movement begins when the dumbbell is behind your head.
  • Exhale and stretch your arms straight up in the direction of the ceiling.
  • Inhale as you lower the dumbbell such that your elbow forms a 90- degree angle behind your head. Keep your elbows close to your ears as you flex your arms. Brace your core throughout the workout.
  • Repeat for the recommended sets of reps, then lift the dumbbell up and over your head to lower it back to the starting position.


  • Ensure you move the weight in a slow and controlled motion.
  • Keep your chin aligned with the floor and brace your core throughout the workout.
  • Ensure you keep your arms stationary and allow your forearms to drive the entire motion.


The dumbbell tricep extension primarily targets the three tricep heads- the long, the medial, and the lateral.

The motion engaged in the movement recruits all three heads, especially the long head.

The secondary muscles engaged are the deltoids. The lats, pecs, and traps work as synergists


You can opt for other variations of this workout to target different muscle groups in alternate ways. This helps minimize injury risks and reduce adaptation that might result in overuse.



The main advantage of standing dumbbell tricep extension is the increased tricep mass that results from the movement.

Unlike many tricep workouts, this exercise activates all three tricep heads which grow stronger with consistent performance.

If you’re looking to perform better in sports, improve your upper body strength or grow bigger arms, the standing dumbbell tricep extension is an ideal workout.


Consider including this exercise in your workout routine if you have experienced wrist pain or discomfort.

The standing dumbbell tricep extension puts minimal stress on the wrist compared to other arm workouts since you will maintain the same wrist angle throughout the motion.


Posture is key for standing dumbbell tricep extension. Achieving a correct standing position is key for this exercise.

Therefore, your core muscles contract to support your spine and back. As a result, you will gain a proper posture, a lifted shoulder, and a straight back.

Other benefits include:

  • Improved arm strength and shape.
  • Stabilization of the shoulder and elbow joints.
  • Improved sporting and athletic performance.



Requirements: Resistance Band, Pulley Machine


  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart when facing a pulley machine. Set the handles at chest height.
  • Hold the handles using an underhand grip.
  • Tuck your elbows to your sides. Use one tricep to move the handle down until you extend your arms fully.
  • Hold this position for a few seconds and contract your tricep as comfortably as possible.
  • Release the bar handle slowly and resume the starting position.
  • Repeat the motion with the alternate arm.
  • Aim for 4 sets of 12 reps.


Watch out for these mistakes to prevent injuries and attain the most benefits out of this exercise.


Winging the elbows out to your sides as you flex and extend your arms is one common mistake exercisers often make.

The focus shifts from the triceps to the biceps. This reduces the workout’s effectiveness and will not work the triceps to their full potential.

Correct this by checking your form as you execute the workout. You can use a mirror to check if you’re winging and tuck your elbows. Likewise, use appropriate weights and avoid winging your elbows.


Another common mistake withstanding dumbbell tricep extension is jutting the head forward as you work out. This move can be challenging, especially if your upper back and neck are tight, affecting the motion range.

Check your form and switch positions if you notice you are jutting your head forward and assuming the wrong posture.

Use a light dumbbell and brace your core as you move the dumbbell behind your head.

This exercise can feel awkward initially, especially since you will be lifting a weight behind your head. Be consistent and keep practicing for the best outcomes.


If you want to improve the shape of your arms and arm strength, consider introducing the standing dumbbell tricep curl into your strength training routine. You will gain postural improvement, overall core strength, and stronger arms.

This workout can be used as a warm-up drill to make other workouts easier. Much as many core workouts engage the triceps to some degree, consider workouts that target the triceps solely and work the fiber. You will witness a drastic improvement in size, strength, and arm toning.

Quit undertraining your triceps and add this drill to your workout today!

[related_posts_by_tax posts_per_page="4"]