Overhead Tricep Extension Guide: Variations and Timer Fitness

Are you wondering why are triceps important? Pushing, pulling, bending, and straightening – all engage the triceps. The tricep muscles originate at your shoulders and end at your elbows, and their three heads keep your upper arms active.

You’ll gain strength, flexibility, and circulation by strengthening your triceps. As your triceps get stronger, your chest, back, and shoulders will too. So, if you want bigger arms, tricep extensions are essential because they make up two-thirds of your arms.

But how to achieve this? Well, overhead tricep extension exercises might help. But are overhead tricep extensions good for you?

Let’s find out…

What is overhead tricep extension?

The overhead tricep extension is a popular weightlifting exercise that targets the tricep muscles. It is a compound exercise that involves both the triceps muscles and the shoulders. The overhead tricep extension can be performed with a barbell, dumbbells, or cables.

The overhead tricep extension is an exercise that targets the triceps, which are the muscles on the back of the upper arms.

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What Muscles Are Used in the Overhead Triceps Extension?

Are you think what do overhead tricep extensions work?

Well, here’s the answer!

The lateral head, the medial head, and the long head are the three different heads of the triceps, and they get their names from where they insert into the upper arm. These are the most common overhead tricep extension muscles worked in this exercise.

Because it places the shoulder in an extended posture, any activity that targets the triceps performed above, like the overhead extension, is going to place the majority of the emphasis on the long head. Due to the fact that the long head of the triceps is also the longest head of the muscle, the overhead extension is a common exercise for increasing the size of the triceps.

During an overhead tricep extension, the medial and lateral tricep heads are still stimulated, albeit to a lesser degree, than they are during a standard extension. So, now you know what part of the tricep does overhead extensions work, and where should your focus lie!

How to do overhead tricep extensions correctly and efficiently?

Whether standing or seated, using a dumbbell (or a kettlebell) to complete this exercise is by far the most common way to do it.

You can hold the weight overhead by grabbing the inside area of the dumbbell plate with both hands, or you can grab both handles of the kettlebell with both hands.

Lower the weight behind your head as far as you can while slowly bending your elbows. It is important to remember to maintain your back straight and your abdominal muscles engaged. The weight should be distributed along the natural curve of your spine.

Then, as you reach your lowest point, bring your elbows back to a straight position and stretch the weight back above your head. After a brief pause spent in the fully stretched position, proceed to the next step. The movement should be kept slow and under control at all times.

Choose a load that will push you while also allowing you to maintain proper form. Maintain a gradual and consistent speed throughout the exercise.

Variations of the overhead tricep extension

If you are looking for overhead tricep extension alternative, here are some of the variations:


For this variation of the exercise, you will perform the movement while laying down on a bench at an incline or flat position. This is the main point of difference when it comes to overhead tricep extension vs skull crusher.

Skullcrushers are performed with an EZ barbell the vast majority of the time, but they may also be done with a single or a pair of dumbbells.

  • For this particular iteration, you will need to position yourself so that you are lying down on a level bench with your feet firmly planted on the floor.
  • Contraction of the core muscles should occur while holding the dumbbells in both hands above the chest with the palms of both hands facing each other.
  • Your elbows are locked in place. After that, hinge your elbows and bring the dumbbells down slowly until they are almost behind your ears.
  • When you are in the top position, contract your triceps to bring your elbows back into a straight position by extending them. Perform this motion again before moving on to the following iteration.
  • You will need to perform three to four sets of ten to twelve reps each.

Overhead Cable Extension

In this variation of overhead tricep extension, you will perform the movement by attaching a rope or v-grip to the end of a cable. It is more accurately termed as overhead tricep extension with rope.

After bringing the overhead tricep extensions cable to a height that is approximately in the middle of your range of motion, grip the weight while keeping your back to the cable, and extend your arms overhead.

  • The rope needs to be fastened to an overhead tricep extension cable stack as high as it can go, and you need to assume a standing stance with your shoulders and hips just below the cable.
  • You should take a split stance, hold the rope overhead with a neutral grip (palms facing), and then hinge forward from the hips in order to go forward.
  • To begin, bring the palms together and extend the elbows so that the triceps are contracted.
  • The next step is to pull the rope down until the elbows are flexed, after which you should carefully and under control return to the starting position.
  • Carry on with the same motion as before and perform the required number of repetitions for the exercise. You will need to perform three to four sets of ten to twelve reps each.

Kettlebell or EZ Bar Extension

In this variant, the dumbbell is replaced by one of the following pieces of equipment: the kettlebell, the medicine ball, or the EZ bar. It is an excellent way to do a dumbbell overhead tricep extension.

If you do not have a single dumbbell available or if you feel that using something other than a dumbbell would be more comfortable, some wonderful alternatives include medicine balls and kettlebells.

The technique can be performed with a single EZ barbell, which is another terrific alternative.

  • Raise a kettlebell above your head while keeping your elbows stretched up to a 90-degree angle and pointed front.
  • When you are in this posture, you need to extend your elbow until it is about fully extended but not quite there yet.
  • After then, controllably bring it down to a lower level.
  • During this exercise, you must prevent your elbows from moving out to the sides in any direction.
  • After you have flexed your elbow to a 90-degree angle, you must then fully extend it.
  • You need to finish the subsequent repeats in the same manner as before.
  • You will need to perform three to four sets of ten to twelve reps each.

Seated Overhead Extension

This form of action requires you to sit rather than stand throughout the entirety of the activity. It eliminates other components of the standing movement, such as core stabilization. Hence, this variation is likely to make it somewhat simpler to concentrate just on proper technique.

  • While seated on a bench, raise one dumbbell directly above your head while holding it in both hands.
  • While keeping your upper arms straight, gradually bend your elbows to lower the dumbbell behind your head. Keep your upper arms straight.
  • Repeat this motion for the subsequent repetitions, extending your arms while simultaneously contracting your triceps.

You will need to perform three to four sets of ten to twelve reps each

More Overhead exercises

Benefits of the Overhead Triceps Extension

Gains Strength

The primary advantage of the overhead tricep extension is an increase in the total amount of muscle mass in the triceps, which is a direct result of performing the exercise.

The triceps extension is unique among triceps exercises in that it engages all three heads of the triceps muscle. As a result of performing this exercise, your entire triceps will grow more powerful.

Reduced Pressure and Strain on the Wrists

If you experience soreness or discomfort in the wrist, the overhead triceps extension is a good exercise for you to perform. The angle of your wrists remains the same during the entirety of this workout movement, and there is very little stress placed on them.

Improved Posture

While performing the overhead triceps extension, you will achieve a standing position, which will stimulate the muscles in your core to engage in order to provide support for your back and spine.

As a consequence of this, the exercise contributes to the maintenance of correct posture, including an erect back, an active core, and raised shoulders.

Assists in keeping the arms in their proper shape

Your shoulder joint and your elbow joint both benefit from being stabilized by a strong triceps muscle. Your ability to move about comfortably during the day is directly correlated to the stability of your arm joints.

Triceps strength is essential if you want to be able to lift large objects above your head or push things (like a door or piece of furniture).

The ability to execute athletic activities such as swimming, hitting a tennis ball, passing a ball in basketball, or throwing a ball in baseball requires strong triceps. The triceps are vital muscles because they help stabilize the arm, which is necessary for fine motor functions such as writing.

Bigger arms

If you are wondering, how to get bigger triceps at home with dumbbells? Here’s the answer. The overhead tricep extension is a great exercise to practice if you want bigger arms, if you want to increase your athletic performance, or if you just want to improve your upper body strength.

You will find that this is an excellent activity that will assist you in achieving your objectives in the sporting world.

FAQ : Overhead tricep

Can you do tricep extensions lying down?

Overhead tricep extension lying down, commonly referred to as skull crushers, are an exercise that isolates and strengthens the tricep muscles.

When performing lying triceps extension, you will lie on your back on a flat bench and pull dumbbells from behind your head to their full extension above you. This exercise targets the triceps.

Do resistance bands work for triceps?

Overhead tricep extension resistance band is an excellent approach to training your triceps anywhere, even at home or when traveling.

However, you should still include banded tricep exercises in your training program even if you have access to a gym or free weight equipment. This is because these exercises are more effective at building the triceps.

Is tricep rope better than bar?

During a pushdown, your hands will be in a slightly different position if you use the rope rather than the straight bar.

Since the knuckles are turned outward rather than upward, more of the work done during the pushdown is distributed to the lateral head of the tricep, which is located on the outside of the arm. A broader range of motion is possible while using overhead tricep extension rope as opposed to the straight bar.

Why do overhead tricep extensions hurt your shoulders?

If you have soreness in your deltoid region either while performing tricep extensions or afterward, it’s possible that it’s related to one of the typical issues listed here:

  • You have a limited range of motion in your shoulders.
  • Your lats are really contracted.
  • You’re putting way too much strain on your body.

Fitnessbliss : The best way to make a perfect body

A strength technique known as the overhead triceps extension targets the back of your upper arm, which is where your triceps brachii muscles are situated.

Because all three heads of the triceps muscle work together to extend the elbow, this exercise is one of the most efficient ways to strengthen those muscles. If you need assistance, the online coaching platform Fitnessbliss is always there to the rescue!

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