Build larger triceps by using the Dumbbell Kickback exercise.

The Kickback gets classified as an isolation push exercise. It will help you to develop the three different muscles that make up your triceps.

If you are new to weightlifting, this is not the type of exercise you should be using.

Isolation exercises like this one work best for people who already have a solid base of strength.

If you have been lifting for less than six months, there will be little to no benefit in you using this lift.

For the first few months to a year or two, you will see the best results by using heavy compound movements while using progressive overload.

Now if you have spent some time lifting and would like to give your triceps some additional focus this exercise is a useful training tool.

In this article, we will cover how you do this exercise with image and video examples. A written step by step description detailing the exact movement pattern required.

The different muscles that it works.

We will also include the benefits you get by doing this exercise. Also, some training tips to help you with doing this exercise.

Equipment Required

As the name of the article implies, you will need a dumbbell for the single arm version and two for the dual arm exercise.

The other piece of equipment commonly used is a weighted bench.

Most people use the weight bench when performing the single arm triceps kickback, but it can get done without one.

If you do not have access to a weight bench, then use the two arm version discussed later for how to move into the starting position.

Dumbbell Kickbacks How to Guide

Image Example

Man showing how to do Dumbbell Kickbacks

1 Arm Dumbbell Kickbacks Step by Step Description

Step 1: Grab a dumbbell with one of your hands. Hold the dumbbell with a neutral grip (palms of your hand facing the torso). Now place your opposite hand and knee on a weighted bench.

Step 2: Keep your back straight, head up and bend forward at your hips. Keep bending until your torso is parallel to the floor.

Step 3: Keep your arm with the dumbbell held close to your body. Raise the weight bringing your elbow in line with the shoulder. Bend at the elbow and create a 90-degree bend at your elbow. Your forearm should now be pointing toward the floor.

You are now in the starting position.

Step 4: Keep your upper arm still, exhale and extend your elbow straightening your arm. Pause when your arm gets extended and hold the weight for one to two seconds.

Step 5: Inhale and slowly bend at the elbow lowering the weight back to the starting position.

You have now completed one rep. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions you plan on using.

2 Arm Dumbbell Kickback Step by Step Description

Image Example

Man showing how to do 2 arm Dumbbell Kickbacks

Step 1: Pick up a dumbbell with each hand. Have your palms facing towards your torso. Move one of your feet one foot in from of you. Place your other foot one to two feet behind you. Put a slight bend in your knees. Bend at your waist and keep your back straight, head up. Keep bending until your back is parallel with the floor.

Step 2: Keep your arms close to your body. Move your upper arms parallel to the floor. Maintain your elbows in line with your shoulders. Have a 90-degree bend at your elbows with your forearms pointing down towards the floor.

You are now in the starting position.

Step 3: Keep your upper arms stationary, exhale and lift the weight with your triceps by extending at your elbow moving only the forearm. When you arm is fully extended hold this position for one to two seconds.

Step 4: Inhale and slowly lower the dumbbells returning to the start position. You have now completed one repetition. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Muscles Worked

You will work all three heads ( Long head, Lateral head, Medial head) of the triceps when doing this lift.

The exercise also uses multiple muscles to act as stabilizers. These are your Deltoid, Latissimus Dorsi, Traps, Rhomboids.


Increasing the strength of your triceps can help increase the weight you can lift on other pressing movements.

It will add definition and size to the back of your arms.

Are you having issues on your lockout on compound lifts?

Tricep training can help you to blast through your plateau by building your lockout strength.

Training Tips

Use a slow and controlled movement when doing this lift. It should take two to three seconds for you to raise and lower the weight.

Have your head up with the eyes facing forward. Doing this will help you to keep your back straight.

Your shoulders and elbow should be held stationary. Only your forearm should move when you do this exercise.

To increase the range of motion place your elbows slightly higher than your shoulder.


Isolation exercises are a useful tool to help bring up lagging areas of your body.

However, if you have not created a strong foundation of strength, you should focus on using heavy compound exercises at first.

Over time as you increase your capabilities with heavy compound lifts you can start to use isolation exercises like this one to bring up any muscle groups you feel require extra focus.

This exercise can help you to add some size and definition to the back of your arms.

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