Workout Routines

The Ultimate Dumbbell-only Triceps Workout for Jacked Arms

Grab some dumbbells and put your pipes to work with this tri-blasting routine.

Triceps Kickback
Edgar Artiga / M+F Magazine
Edgar Artiga / M+F Magazine
Duration 30 min
Exercises 4
Equipment Yes

It's ironic that nobody ever requests a triceps pose, being that it is actually this muscle complex that fills the majority of the upper arm’s mass–up to about 2/3 of it. Unfortunately, many avid lifters pay more attention to the biceps than the triceps, which is certainly a mistake. Think about it, we spend most of our lives with our arms at our sides, entirely unflexed (well, except for some maladjusted folks out there). So in order to be in constant “gun-show” mode we must make sure the triceps are maximally developed and literally hang off the shoulders like a couple of swollen half-watermelons. 

This killer triceps workout is designed to use dumbbells only, so even if your gym is overcrowded or you train at home, you can still cause a major stir every time you wear a t-shirt or tank this summer.

At the core of the following triceps workout is the utilization of techniques that are optimal for igniting muscle trauma (fiber-damage), such as heavy weights for low reps lifted explosively, emphasis on eccentric contractions and, stretch under resistance. This is followed by very high repetition, constant tension work in order to manifest as great a muscle pump as possible (fiber saturation). This one-two punch of training methodology will trigger a massive growth and repair response, which will push those triceps to new levels of mass and development.

Another important factor is tempo, which refers to the speed of the various completed  contractions within each repetition. It is expressed in seconds, with an “X” meaning “as explosively as possible.” The first number is seconds for the eccentric (negative) contraction; the second number is seconds at the midpoint; and the third number is seconds for the concentric (positive) contraction.

Dumbbell-Only Triceps Workout

Exercise 1.

Dumbbell Press You'll need: Bench, Dumbbells How to
Dumbbell Bench Press thumbnail
2 sets
5 reps
As needed rest
Use close-grip technique. Tempo: 2/0/X

Exercise 2.

Dumbbell Lying Triceps Extension You'll need: Bench, Dumbbells How to
Dumbbell Lying Triceps Extension thumbnail
2 sets
8 reps
As needed rest
Tempo: 5/0/1

Exercise 3.

Seated Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extension You'll need: Dumbbells, Bench How to
Seated Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Extension thumbnail
2 sets
8 reps
As needed rest
Tempo: 2/4/1

Exercise 4.

Dumbbell Kickback You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Dumbbell Kickback thumbnail
3 sets
25 (per arm) reps
As needed rest
Tempo: 1/0/1