What Is the Correct Way to Do Triceps Curls?

Lift a dumbbell over your head to work your triceps.
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Triceps are difficult muscles to target, but overhead curls can help you focus part of your workout on building the back of your upper arms. Triceps curls, also called triceps extensions, use dumbbells to add resistance to strengthen and tone the muscles. Using the proper form is essential to working the muscles most efficiently.


The easiest way to perform triceps curls is with a light dumbbell. Start with a 2-pound dumbbell if you're new to working your triceps. Change to 5-pound weights when you're comfortable with the move, and work up to more weight when you're ready. You can also perform a triceps curl with a light barbell or a weight machine equipped with an overhead pull-down bar.


The proper stance helps you target your triceps for this move. Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your back straight with your head up. Lift your arms over your head and bend your elbows so that your hands rest behind your head and your upper arms stationary beside your ears.


Keeping your body and head still, move only your elbows -- not your shoulders -- to focus the move on your triceps. Hold a single dumbbell with both your hands, wrapping your fingers around the end. Your palms should be facing up. Lift your hands with the dumbbell over your head until your arms are nearly straight, then curl the arms back down behind your head in a controlled movement. Perform the movement slowly. Start with 10 repetitions and work your way up to at least three sets of 10. For toned muscle, use lighter weights with more repetitions. For a more bulky muscle, use a higher weight with fewer repetitions.


You can perform this exercise seated as well, but be sure to keep your back straight. If you do it lying down, work only one arm at a time. Start with a light dumbbell, such as 2 pounds, and lift your arm straight toward the ceiling. Bend it to a 90-degree angle toward your shoulder, then extend it.

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