Lying Dumbbell Triceps Extensions

Technique Summary

Lay down on a flat bench with a dumbbell in each hand. Extend your arms perpendicular to your torso. Hold the dumbbells with palms facing each other.  Lower the weights to your ears and then lift them back up by flexing your triceps. Inhale on the way down. Exhale on the way up.

Exercise Type: Isolation
Primary Muscle: Triceps Brachii

Technique Details

Lying dumbbell triceps extension is one of my personal favorite triceps exercises. I like it because it is extremely effective and more accommodating to different body types than most other exercises. I am not saying this because the lying dumbbell extensions require a different angle (something you could adjust by moving your elbows to or away from your feet, but parallel to your body), but because you could choose a grip that is most natural and is best suited for your joints.

There are three grips you could utilize in performing the lying dumbbell extensions. The most common grip is with your palms facing each other. Doing the exercise with this grip equally distributes the pressure across all three brachii of the triceps reduces strain on your wrists.

Having palms face you (when you lower the weight) focuses the exercises on the lateral head of the triceps. Performing the exercise with your palms facing away shifts the pressure to the long head of the triceps.

Try all three grips and stick to the one that you are most comfortable with. If you feel great doing all three then be to sure to switch them up. It’s a great way to stimulate your triceps while focusing each triceps brachii.

For lying dumbbell extensions to be most effective you need to control the weight throughout the entire range of motion. Do not swing the weight at any point or invoke any other muscle group to game the exercise. Keep your elbows in at all times. The elbows should be positioned slightly past your shoulders (away from your feet, not to the sides). This will help maintain pressure on the triceps. You should try to achieve a full range of motion by fully flexing your triceps on contraction (without locking elbows) and lowering the weight to your ears (slightly past parallel to the floor).

You can also perform the lying dumbbell extensions by alternating arms. This allows you to stabilize the exercising arm with the free one.