Tricep Exercises: Dumbbell Tricep Extension

The Dumbbell Tricep Extension, or Skull Crusher or French Extension as it is also commonly known, is a great exercise that targets your tricep muscles, while also working your chest and shoulders at the same time. In fact, the Dumbbell Tricep Extension works the complete range of triceps muscles in the upper arm, from the lattisimus dorsi through to the elbow.

Dumbbell Tricep Extension

Dumbbell Tricep Extension | Image: bodybuilding.com

You can either do the Dumbbell Tricep Extensions using one arm at a time, or if you are more experienced, using both arms simultaneously. It is probably best to start off with the one handed version until you become more familiar and adept to the movements though.

What You Need

Before commencing this exercise, you will need to position a flat bench, and choose which weights you want to use. If you don’t have a flat bench, then this exercise can be performed while lying on the floor on a suitable surface or floor mat.

As always, start off with low weights, and gradually build up to heavier ones once you are more confident in your capabilities.

How to do Dumbbell Tricep Extensions

  • Position yourself on your back on the flat bench or floor mat, and hold the dumbbells straight in front of you. Keep your palms facing away from your body, and hold the barbells in an overhand grip. You should be able to feel all of the weight in your triceps.
  • Make sure your feet are flat on the floor, and keep your abs taut. If using a bench, ensure that your head hangs just off the edge of the bench, with the dent between your neck and head resting on the edge.
  • Extend your arms fully so that they are at a 90-degree angle from the floor and your torso.
  • Keep your elbows tucked into your body, and your palms facing inwards.
  • This will now become your starting position.
  • While inhaling, keep your elbows in and your upper arms static. Lower the weights slowly until they are level with your ears.
  • While exhaling, and once again keeping your elbows in and your upper arms static, push the weights back up to your starting position, making sure that you use your triceps.
  • While performing this exercise, make sure you use slow fluid movements. Try not to make any jerky movements during your arm extensions.
  • If you find it difficult to keep your arm steady while doing this exercise, use your other arm to help keep the 90 degree angle needed. Try to keep your head, torso and spine steady but relaxed while performing this exercise.
  • Repeat this movement for the required number of repetitions.

Another variation of the Dumbbell Tricep Extension can be performed by touching the dumbbells to your forehead, followed by completely extending your arm. If you use this version, we recommend that you use the floor and not the bench. This version is not always preferred, as there is a greater likelihood for accidents and injuries to occur. As always, ensure that there is someone available to help you.

Dumbbell Tricep Extension

Dumbbell Tricep Extension | Image: bodybuilding.com

Warning: If you suffer from any kind of elbow injury, be extremely cautious when performing this exercise, as it may be too harsh for you.

If you have any questions or suggestions regarding the Dumbbell Tricep Extension, please post them in the comments below.

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