If you want to build hulking upper arms, or just make them a little stronger, you need to start thinking about your triceps. These unassuming muscles often take second billing behind the biceps, but they are just as essential a player in the hunt for sleeve-busting bulk. Triceps extensions are a great way to pay them the attention they deserve.
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While many other exercises will target the triceps as a secondary muscle, this move puts all the focus on them to the exclusion of everything else. As a result of this time in the limelight, your triceps should get stronger in double-quick time.
How To Do The Overhead Dumbbell Tricep Extension
Start standing with your feet shoulder width apart and one dumbbell held in both hands in front of you. Raise the dumbbell above your head until your arms are stretched out straight. Ideally you want to be able to rest the weight evenly in both palms, rather than grabbing the dumbbell handle with one hand over the other. Slowly lower the weight back behind your head, being careful not to flare your elbows out too much. Once your forearms move beyond parallel to the floor bring the weight back up to the starting position. Your upper arms should remain in place throughout the movement.
Aim for four sets of eight to 12 reps.
If you only have one set of dumbbells at home or your gym is limited in its range and most pairs are too heavy, you’ll need to avoid the full move. Holding too-heavy weights above your head is never a good idea. What’s more, this exercise requires you to move your triceps through a full range of motion to work them properly, and going too heavy makes this difficult and increases your risk of a muscle injury.
Instead, take just one of the dumbbells and hold it securely in both hands. This will allow you to perform the reps safely and properly to work the muscles fully because, as with all moves, quality reps count more than quantity.
You can still superset this move with standard or diamond press-ups to work your triceps more thoroughly, as well as strengthening your chest and shoulders. Just remember to focus on moving your triceps through a full range of motion with every rep to ensure you activate more muscle fibres. Because the more fibres that get called into action, the bigger and faster your muscles will grow.
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