How to Do a Triceps Extension

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Everyone is always working on the biceps! Doing "curls for the girls" is what they say around the gym. But you can't neglect your poor triceps. Here's a great exercise to address that muscle group and balance your workout.

  • Select weight. Use the same size dumbbell that you use when you do bicep curls. If you use extreme weights or unsure, start by using half of the weight you would usually curl.

  • Try different positions. Tricep extensions can be done either bending over or laying on your back on a workout bench. Decide which will be more comfortable for you. If you have back problems, definitely use the workout bench.

  • Assume the position. If you have selected bending over, do the following. Lift the dumbbells, being sure to use your legs and not lift the weight with your back. Next bend at the waist as close to a 90 degree angle as possible. If you have chosen the bench, then lie with your back on the bench and a dumbbell in whichever hand you choose.

  • Extend the dumbbell. If you are bent over, then extend the dumbbells backward behind you. Remain in your bent position as your arms become fully extended. Then return your arms to their starting position at your sides. If you are on the bench, grab the weight and hold it over your chest with the top of your hand (fist) facing you. Then extend your arm until it is perpendicular to the floor or fully extended. Return to its starting position. Repeat in either case for 8 to 12 repetitions for 3 sets. (If you are on the bench, you must of course repeat the process with the other arm.) Congratulations, you have just learned how to do a triceps extension!

Tips & Warnings

  • Work bicep exercises in between triceps exercises. By alternating, you will get more out of your weight workout for each muscle group.
  • Be sure to bend your knees. One variation in the standard triceps extension is to place one foot slightly in front of the other and only do one arm at a time. Then of course switch.
  • Always consult a physician before beginning a new workout routine.

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