Exercise 101: Triceps Extension Using Free Weights
Name of Exercise
—Free weight triceps extension
—To develop strength in the back of the upper arms
—Muscles of the back of the upper arms (triceps brachii)
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- While sitting down on a bench, pick up one dumbbell in each hand or grasp the barbell with your hands about 12 to 14 inches apart.
- Lie down on the bench on your back and bend your knees so your feet are flat on the bench.
- Start with the dumbbells or barbell positioned over your chest and your arms fully extended.
- Keep your feet and low back flat on the bench.
- Inhale, then let your elbows flex, enabling the bar to be lowered toward your face.
- Keep your elbows pointing away from your face during the exercise.
- Lower the bar until it touches your forehead.
- Exhale, then extend the elbows and push the dumbbells or barbell upward until your arms are fully extended.
- Remember to keep your feet and back flat on the bench and do not raise your chest.
Remember to initiate the movement with the muscles in the back of your upper arms and not with your hands.
Repetitions, Sets, and Weight:
The number of repetitions (reps) and sets you should do depends on your strength goals.
works to increase basic function of the muscle and is the typical workout choice.
is important to people who participate in endurance activities, such as running or biking, and
is beneficial for athletes who need to use sudden quick movements (eg, sprinting, basketball, football).
Beginners should start with a basic routine and gradually move toward a strength, endurance, or power routine.
1 set of 12 to 15 reps
1 to 3 sets of 5 to 8 reps
1 to 3 sets of 15 to 20 reps
1 to 3 sets of 3 to 5 reps
Use a weight that is heavy enough to perform the desired number of reps and sets for your skill level using good form. Once you are able to perform more reps and sets than is outlined in your category, try to increase the weight you lift by 5% to 10%. Your strength goals may change as you progress.
President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition
United States Health and Human Services
Public Health Agency of Canada
Lying Barbell Triceps Extension. American Council on Exercise website. Available at: http://www.acefitness.org/exerciselibrary/74/standing-dumbbell-overhead-triceps-extension. Accessed December 5, 2012.
Selecting and Effectively Using Free Weights. American College of Sports Medicine website. Available at:http://www.acsm.org/docs/brochures/selecting-and-effectively-using-free-weights.pdf. Accessed December 5, 2012.
The Basics of Starting and Progressing a Strength-Training Program. American College of Sports Medicine website. Available at: http://www.acsm.org/access-public-information/articles/2012/01/13/the-basics-of-starting-and-progressing-a-strength-training-program. Updated January 13, 2012. Accessed December 5, 2012.