What Is the Workout When You Lift the Dumbbell Above Your Head & Then Down?

Weightlifters commonly build their triceps through dumbbell triceps extensions.
i Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images

Many people work on building their biceps by curling free weights, which can give them the strong-armed look they desire. But to really boost the overall size of your upper arms, it's important to work your triceps in addition to your biceps. A common way to build your triceps muscles is through the dumbbell triceps extension.


To properly execute the dumbbell triceps extension exercise, find a bench or seat at which you can comfortably sit with your feet square on the floor. A back rest is ideal, provided it doesn't interfere with the exercise, because it helps keep your back straight to prevent slouching. Select a dumbbell based on your experience with weightlifting; if you're unsure of what weight to choose, select 10 or 15 pounds to err on the lighter side.


Holding the dumbbell during the dumbbell triceps extension is important. It might seem natural to hold the weight by its handle, as you would for other types of exercises, but doing so during a dumbbell triceps extension can be difficult, as it forces you to hold your wrists in an awkward position. Instead, position the weight vertically and hold it where the upper end of the handle and the inside of the upper weight plate meet. This grip is commonly called the heart-shaped grip, as you position your hands so you have a heart-shaped void between them.


Sit upright in the chair or on the bench and extend your arms straight above your head while holding the dumbbell with the correct grip. Bend your elbows to lower the weight toward the base of your neck, while keeping your upper arms straight. If necessary, adjust your wrists to prevent hitting yourself in the neck with the weight. Straighten your arms and lift the weight to its original position by straightening your arms. Try three sets of 10 reps of this exercise, and increase the weight as needed.


Stretch your triceps, which run along the back of your upper arms, before attempting the dumbbell triceps extension through a stretch such as the overhead triceps stretch. To execute this stretch, hold one arm vertically next to your head, and pull it with the other arm toward the rear of your head. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and then repeat it with the opposite arm. Always consult your doctor before attempting any new type of exercise.

the nest