The dumbbell kickback or tricep kickback is an isolation exercise which builds muscle and strength in all three heads of the tricep muscle. It’s a very effective movement which is also underrated for its benefits. Now, many people think of it as more of a shaping and toning exercise but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Any exercise in which your muscles contract against some type of resistance will cause muscle hypertrophy and strength gains. And the tricep kickback is one of the best exercises you can do for complete tricep development. So, add it in your routine and you’ll see its awesome benefits.
In This Exercise:
- Target muscle Group: Triceps Brachii
- Type: Strength
- Mechanics: Isolation
- Equipment: Dumbbell
- Difficulty: Beginner
Understanding the Tricep Muscles
The triceps, officially known as the triceps brachii, is a three-headed muscle at the back of the upper arm. It’s involved in extending the elbow and stabilizing the shoulder. By strengthening the triceps, you not only enhance your lifting capabilities but also contribute to better shoulder health.
Why Tricep Dumbbell Kickbacks?
There are numerous tricep exercises out there, but none of them parallel the benefits of tricep dumbbell kickbacks. This simple exercise isolates and targets the tricep muscles effectively, promoting enhanced muscle growth and development. Moreover, it requires minimal equipment and can be done in the convenience of your home or at the gym.
How To Do Tricep Dumbbell Kickback
- Grab a dumbbell with your left hand and hold it with a neutral grip, then place your right leg forward and your left leg back.
- Then, hold onto something with your right hand, bend your knees and lean your torso over while keeping your back straight.
- Bend your left arm at a 90-degree angle so your upper arm is parallel to the floor and your forearm is perpendicular to the floor.
- Now, extend your forearm back while flexing your triceps until your arm is parallel to the floor. Exhale during this portion of the exercise.
- Then, bend your left arm again at a 90-degree angle.
- Complete the desired number of reps and then repeat with your right arm. Switch your leg position.
Watch how to do the dumbbell kickback:
Watch how to do the cable tricep kickback:
Variations & Tips:
- You can do cable kickbacks as an alternative to dumbbells (See the second video).
- You can perform this exercise with both arms at the same time.
- Do not go too heavy and lose your form.
- Keep your upper arms parallel to the floor and only move your forearms.
- The dumbbell kickback works all three heads of the tricep.
Perfecting Your Form
The effectiveness of tricep dumbbell kickbacks hinges on proper technique. Here’s a step-by-step guide to ensure optimal performance and maximum benefits:
- Start Position: Stand with feet hip-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Hinge at the waist until your torso is nearly parallel to the floor. Keep your back straight, core engaged, and gaze downwards.
- Movement: Keep your upper arms close to your body, and your forearms perpendicular to the floor. This is your starting position. Exhale as you extend your arms backwards, keeping your upper arms stationary. Inhale as you return to the start position.
- Repetition: Perform 10-15 repetitions, for 3-4 sets. As you grow stronger, gradually increase the weight of the dumbbells to challenge your muscles.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
Even with the best intentions, errors can creep into your tricep dumbbell kickback routine. Here are some to watch out for:
- Poor Posture: Maintaining a straight back is crucial. Hunching or rounding your back can lead to unnecessary strain and potential injury.
- Swinging Arms: The movement should be controlled. Swinging the arms or using momentum to lift the weights lessens the effectiveness of the workout and increases risk of injury.
- Incorrect Elbow Position: Keep your elbows close to your body. Allowing them to flare out takes the focus off the triceps.
Advanced Variations of Tricep Dumbbell Kickbacks
As you progress with the tricep dumbbell kickbacks, you may wish to introduce more advanced variations into your routine to keep challenging your muscles. Here are a few you might consider:
- One-Arm Dumbbell Kickback: Instead of using both arms, perform the exercise with one arm at a time. This can help to isolate and focus on each tricep individually.
- Incline Dumbbell Kickback: This variation is performed on an incline bench. The change in angle provides a different stimulus to the tricep muscles.
- Kickback With Twist: When you extend your arm behind you, rotate your palm to face the ceiling. This minor tweak activates different parts of the tricep muscle and adds an extra challenge.
Frequently Asked Questions
In this section, we’ll address some common questions and misconceptions about tricep dumbbell kickbacks to provide you with a broader understanding of this powerful workout.
How often should I do tricep dumbbell kickbacks?
For best results, include tricep dumbbell kickbacks in your upper-body workout routine 2-3 times a week. Allow at least 48 hours of rest between sessions for optimal muscle recovery and growth.
Can tricep dumbbell kickbacks replace all other tricep exercises?
While kickbacks are highly effective at isolating and working the triceps, incorporating a variety of tricep exercises into your workout regimen can stimulate the muscles from different angles, leading to balanced and comprehensive tricep development.
Are tricep dumbbell kickbacks suitable for beginners?
Yes. Tricep dumbbell kickbacks are a versatile exercise that can be adapted to suit various fitness levels. Beginners can start with light weights and gradually increase them as their strength improves.
Building robust and well-defined triceps is more than just a cosmetic desire. It’s about enhancing your overall fitness, functional strength, and quality of life. The tricep dumbbell kickback, with its ability to effectively isolate and target the tricep muscles, emerges as a key player in this pursuit.
Remember, the right form is critical, and a well-rounded approach that includes a healthy diet, adequate rest, and a variety of exercises will yield the best results. Safety should always be your top priority. Consult a fitness professional if you’re unsure about any aspect of the exercise. Here’s to stronger, healthier, and more powerful triceps!