How To Do The One Arm Overhead Extension Properly

The one arm overhead extension is a unilateral exercise that promotes muscular and symmetrical triceps. The workout requires you to lift light weights unilaterally.

The exercise promotes stronger muscles, longer workout durations and a good technique. It is relatively easy to perform, and conveniently, you can attempt it at home.

It is also known as one-arm triceps extension or one hand triceps extension.

Targeted muscles: Arms, shoulders

Requirements: Dumbbells

Difficulty: Medium

Steps:

  • Hold a dumbbell in one hand directly behind your head with your elbow bent and pointing towards the ceiling.
  • Extend through your elbow until your arm is straight and the dumbbell is above your head.
  • Lower your arm back to the starting position and repeat the rep.

MUSCLES WORKED

The one arm overhead extension targets the triceps and shoulders. It works the triceps by causing them to tense under the weight during the elbow movement.

When holding the dumbbell at the back of the head, it stretches the shoulder muscles.

BENEFITS OF ONE-ARM OVERHEAD EXTENSION

ENHANCES YOUR TRICEPS SYMMETRY

The one-arm overhead extension is a unilateral exercise that lets you lift each weight separately. This training style means you will work your muscles equally and grow them proportionally. Having symmetrical triceps will improve your physique if you are a physique athlete.

PROMOTES TRICEPS STRENGTH

Lifting one dumbbell at a time is an easy exercise and takes less energy. This means that you will do more reps, which, in turn, will improve your triceps strength. Also, because the exercise focuses on developing one arm at a time, it will strengthen you. It is more effective than lifting two separate weights together.

PROMOTES GOOD TECHNIQUE

Since working one arm at a time is more straightforward than working two arms, the exercise promotes a good technique.

It is easier to keep an eye on the position of one elbow than two. Keeping one elbow in the correct position is generally easier.

IT IS CONVENIENT

The one-arm overhead press is an easy and convenient exercise because it requires a single dumbbell. Other exercises require weights and a bar or two dumbbells.

If you have a single dumbbell at home, you can perform this exercise efficiently.

ALTERNATIVES TO ONE-ARM OVERHEAD EXTENSION

BAND OVERHEAD TRICEPS EXTENSION

The band overhead triceps extension is a good alternative for the one-arm overhead extension.

Bands can create constant tension on your muscles if performed correctly. Stretching the bands creates more resistance and will increase tension in your triceps.

Also, the exercise allows you to stretch your long head. This will work the muscles located in your long head.

SEATED BARBELL TRICEPS EXTENSION

The seated barbell triceps extension is another good alternative for the one-arm overhead extension. It is an easy exercise you can do at home.

The requirements for the exercise include a barbell and bumper plates. The workout trains the triceps by stretching them from the bottom, allowing the long head to activate.

When you completely lock your elbows at the top, the exercise will work your medial head.

LYING SINGLE-ARM TRICEPS EXTENSION

The lying single-arm triceps extension is a unilateral exercise that lets you work your triceps. The exercise requires a lightweight dumbbell and a bench. It is an easy exercise that you can perform at home by pressing the dumbbell while laying on the bench. When performing the exercise, remember to breathe in and out frequently.

TRX TRICEPS EXTENSION

The TRX triceps extension is another exercise that can substitute the one-arm overhead extension. It is an exercise that works the triceps and engages the core.

Also, it trains other stabilizer muscles, making it an effective exercise for bodyweight gain. It requires a TRX suspension, which you can buy from any equipment store.

MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN PERFORMING THE ONE-ARM OVERHEAD EXTENSION

LIFTING HEAVYWEIGHTS

The one-arm overhead extension places a lot of torque on the elbow joint. Lifting weights that are too heavy for you can strain your elbows and may make them ache.

Focus on light weights that will enable you to perform more reps for maximum gain.

AVOID OVERWORKING YOUR MUSCLES

Many people prefer to perform high reps because it produces excellent results. However, the high reps are intense and can cause fatigue.

A tired body will prevent you from performing frequent workouts. Perform moderate reps to ensure your body is at its optimal state.

AVOID TOO MANY SETS

The one-arm overhead extension is a time-consuming exercise. Performing too many sets will eat into your time and reduce the time you dedicate to other exercises.

Perform 3-5 reps on a single-arm once or twice a week.

POTENTIAL RISKS

SHOULDER INJURY

The workout can cause shoulder injuries. It can aggravate the injury you got years ago from performing bench press incorrectly.

Also, if you have damaged rotator cuffs, the one-arm overhead extension can activate the rotator cuffs, leading to shoulder pains.

If you are in such as situation, consider trying the lying overhead extension workout.

ARM INJURY DUE TO DIFFICULTY IN WEIGHT GRADUATION

The one-arm overhead extension relies on a single lightweight dumbbell. The graduation units of the dumbbells are 5lbs.

Adjusting to the 5lbs can be more challenging for a single arm and can cause injuries to the arm. This would not be the case if you worked both arms with a barbell.

The 5lbs graduation would be shared among both arms, making the transition easier.

CONCLUSION

The one-arm overhead extension is a perfect exercise for physique athletes. It targets the triceps and ensures they are symmetrical, a trait appreciated by physique athletes. It is also suitable for muscle growth and results if performed correctly.

The exercise is easy and convenient. You can perform it at home if you have the right equipment. It has few risks, making it the perfect exercise for beginners and intermediate trainers.

Its alternatives are relatively simple and can bring variations to the exercise. You are welcome to try them.

If you are an athlete seeking to develop a good physique and have limited resources, consider the one-arm overhead extension.