Dumbbell Kickback: Your Easy Go To Tricep Isolation Exercise

Are you struggling to tone your triceps, even with regular workouts? Have you tried the dumbbell kickback exercise but are unsure if you’re doing it properly? You’re not alone. Many people experience difficulty with tricep toning, despite their best efforts. This is often due to improper form or insufficient weight. Fortunately, the solution is simple. By properly executing the dumbbell kickback exercise, you can effectively target your triceps and finally achieve the definition you desire. In this post, I’ll guide you through the correct form of the dumbbell kickback and provide tips to help you get the most out of this exercise.

Dumbbell Kickback Summary

  • Primary Muscles: Triceps Brachii
  • Secondary Muscles: None
  • Equipment: Dumbbell and Bench
  • Mechanics Type: Isolation
  • Force: Push
  • Utility: Auxiliary
Graphic image of a fit man performing alternate cable triceps extensions.

Dumbbell Kickback Instructions

  • You will begin by taking a dumbbell and placing one knee and the corresponding hand on a flat bench.
  • Now, your chest should be parallel with the ground and dumbbell in one hand
  • Now, pull the dumbbell up so that you arm is bent, and your tricep is parallel with your back, this is the starting position.
  • Next, without moving your upper arm, kickback the dumbbell by only pivoting at your elbow, to isolate your tricep muscle.
  • Then, lower the dumbbell back to the starting position by only pivoting at your elbow.
  • Repeat to finished your preferred repetitions to work your triceps.

Video Tutorial

How to Perform Dumbbell Triceps Kickback Exercise

Dumbbell Kickback Muscles

Target (Agonist)


  • None

Dynamic Stabilizers

  • None


Antagonist Stabilizers

  • None
Image of the skeletal muscular system with the muscles used in the dumbbell kickback exercise highlighted in red and the rest in blue.

Benefits of Dumbbell Kickback

The Dumbbell Kickback is an excellent exercise to include in a strength training or fitness routine. It specifically targets the triceps brachii muscle, which is located in the back of the upper arm. This exercise helps to strengthen and tone the triceps, as well as improve overall arm strength. The Dumbbell Kickback can be performed with minimal equipment, making it a great choice for at-home workouts. Additionally, it is a low-impact exercise that is suitable for all fitness levels. With regular practice, the Dumbbell Kickback will help improve strength, balance and coordination.

Tips for Performing Dumbbell Kickback

In order for you to have the highest quality strength gains, you will want to adhere to these easily done tips. Additionally, when you would like to protect yourself against injuries, you ought to try these tips.

  • Slow Every Repetition Down For Better Strength Gains. By Raising the time under tension you are engaging your muscles longer and they will respond by developing toned muscles. You can achieve this without raising the resistance by doing slow reps roughly 4 – 6 seconds constriction and pause then 4 – 6 seconds relaxing.
  • Slow Every Movement To Just Under 6 Seconds For Every Contraction And The Same For The Extension, To Boost Your Exercise Session. So that you will create mas you need to maximize the amount of time under strain of your primary muscle tissue. Slowing your lift will improve time under stress. Numerous research papers have proven that just under 6 seconds extension and contraction is the ideal time provides maximal benefit for building muscle size. You should include this method on occasion, but not every time you exercise.
  • Make Sure That You Take Rest Days. In alternative to recovery you are able to incorporate into your routine with rowing. Only understand to allow your muscles to heal, healing is how your muscles grow.
  • Breathe In When You Stretch Your Muscle Tissues And Exhale While You Contract Your Muscular Tissues.

Benefits and Tips Video

Triceps Kickback Benefits

Frequent Mistakes To Avoid

You will need to stop these common errors to build and maintain nice technique and muscle growth. Likewise, when you avoid these issues you will lessen the risk of experiencing injuries.

  • You Don’t Want To Make It To Easy. The main way to obtain gains will be to challenge yourself.
  • Don’t Relax Your Abs. Keeping your core tight to protect your spinal column by maintaining your internal pressure.
  • You Can’t Dismiss Any Of Your Pains. Tender muscle tissue and pain from injuries are not necessarily always the same. As soon as you experience painfulness any time you are performing exercises you should certainly stop, or you can simply just make this injury more serious.

Find More Dumbbell Exercises Here

Variations and Complementary Exercises

If you are looking for ways to switch up your workout routine, there are several variations, complementary, or alternative exercises for the exercise Dumbbell Kickback. These exercises work similar muscles as the exercise Dumbbell Kickback and can help you strengthen your muscles in a different way. Below is a list of some of the exercises you can try:

Cable Tricep Kickbacks

Graphic image of Cable Tricep Kickbacks.

Cable Tricep Kickbacks are a great complementary or alternative exercise to Dumbbell Kickbacks. The Cable Tricep Kickback involves standing in an upright position with your feet hip-width apart and the cable set to a low pulley. With your back straight and core engaged, hold the cable handle in one hand, keeping your elbow close to your side. Then slowly extend your arm, keeping your elbow stationary and squeezing your triceps at the top of the movement. This exercise can be done with one arm at a time or both arms together, depending on your preference. It is an excellent exercise for targeting the triceps and is great for increasing strength and muscle tone.

Dumbbell Close Grip Bench Press

Graphic image of Dumbbell Close Grip Bench Press.

The Dumbbell Close Grip Bench Press is a great complement or alternative to the Dumbbell Kickback. It is a more traditional chest exercise that works the same muscles as the Dumbbell Kickback but in a different way. The close grip bench press requires you to hold the dumbbells with your hands in a narrow grip, and then lower the dumbbells towards your chest. As you press the weights up, you will be engaging your chest, triceps, and shoulders for a comprehensive upper body workout. This exercise can be performed with either one or two dumbbells, allowing you to adjust the difficulty of the exercise depending on your fitness level.

EZ Bar Decline Triceps Extension

Graphic image of EZ Bar Decline Triceps Extension.

The EZ Bar Decline Triceps Extension is an excellent alternative or complementary exercise to the Dumbbell Kickback. This exercise works the triceps muscles from a different angle, allowing for a full range of motion and greater stimulation to the muscle. Additionally, the decline position of the EZ Bar Decline Triceps Extension forces the lifter to control their body weight more and use their triceps to stabilize themselves, leading to greater muscular development.

Check Out These Top Dumbbell Exercises

Cable Tricep Pushdown

Graphic image of Cable Tricep Pushdown.

The cable tricep pushdown is a great complementary exercise to the dumbbell kickback, as it works the same muscle group from a different angle. To perform this exercise, stand in front of a cable machine and grab the handle with an overhand grip. Keeping your elbows close to your body and your core tight, push down on the handle until your arms are straight. The cable tricep pushdown works the same muscle group as the dumbbell kickback but in a different way, making it an ideal alternative or complementary exercise.

Incline Dumbbell Triceps Extension

Graphic image of Incline Dumbbell Triceps Extension.

The Incline Dumbbell Triceps Extension is a great alternative or complementary exercise for the Dumbbell Kickback. This exercise involves lying face up on an incline bench with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing forward. The arms are then extended overhead with a slight bend in the elbows and the weights are lowered until they are in line with the ears. The arms are then extended until they are straight. This exercise focuses primarily on the triceps and helps to develop strength and size in this muscle group. It is an effective exercise for helping to build triceps strength and is a great alternative or complementary exercise to the Dumbbell Kickback.

EZ Bar Lying Close Grip Triceps Extension Behind Head

Graphic image of EZ Bar Lying Close Grip Triceps Extension Behind Head.

The EZ Bar Lying Close Grip Triceps Extension Behind Head is an excellent alternative or complementary exercise to the Dumbbell Kickback. It works the same triceps muscles, but with the bar behind the head, it increases the range of motion, targeting the triceps even more intensely. It is performed by lying on a flat bench and gripping an EZ bar close together with palms facing forward. From there, you extend your arms behind your head and lower the bar down until your elbows are at a 90 degree angle. Keep your upper arms close to your head and press back up until your arms are extended. This exercise will help build triceps strength and size.

Find More Arms Exercises Here

Opposing Complementary Exercises

To further strengthen and tone your arms, adding exercises that use opposing muscle groups to the Dumbbell Kickback is an effective way to build muscle balance. Here are some exercises that you can do to complement the Dumbbell Kickback:

Dumbbell Cross Body Hammer Curl

Graphic image of Dumbbell Cross Body Hammer Curl.

The Dumbbell Cross Body Hammer Curl is a great exercise to complement the Dumbbell Kickback. It targets the biceps, which are the opposing muscle group to the triceps that are used during the Dumbbell Kickback. This exercise requires the lifter to hold a dumbbell in each hand and to curl the dumbbells up and across their body in an alternating motion. The lifter should ensure that their elbows remain close to their sides throughout the exercise. This exercise helps to build strength and size in the biceps, which will help to create balance between the opposing muscle groups of the triceps and biceps.

Dumbbell Curl

Graphic image of Dumbbell Curl.

The Dumbbell Curl is an excellent exercise to complement the Dumbbell Kickback, as it works the opposing muscle group. The Dumbbell Curl strengthens the biceps and forearms, while the Dumbbell Kickback works the triceps. Combining these two exercises helps to build strength in both muscle groups, leading to better overall upper body strength. The Dumbbell Curl also works the shoulders and core muscles, making it an effective full body exercise.

Dumbbell Hammer Curl

Graphic image of Dumbbell Hammer Curl.

The Dumbbell Hammer Curl is the perfect complement to the Dumbbell Kickback, as it targets the opposing muscle group. This exercise specifically works the biceps and forearms, while the Dumbbell Kickback works the triceps. Doing both exercises together helps to build a balanced physique and also helps improve overall shoulder stability. Additionally, this exercise can be done with either one or two arms at a time, making it a great choice for those looking to increase their arm strength.

Get Strong and Sculpt Your Arms with Dumbbell Kickbacks

Ready to get strong and sculpted arms? Dumbbell kickbacks are a fantastic exercise that primarily targets the triceps but also works the shoulders and upper back. This exercise is perfect for anyone who wants toned and defined arms. Dumbbell kickbacks also help improve overall functional fitness, making everyday tasks easier to perform. To get the most out of this exercise, it’s important to maintain proper form throughout the movement and choose the appropriate weight for your fitness level. Incorporate dumbbell kickbacks into your routine for strong, defined arms in no time!

References: Wikipedia | ExRx.net | PubMed.gov | Comprehensive List of Arms Dumbbell Exercises

Pin image for dumbbell kickback post. With an image of a man performing the exercise on Top and a graphic of the exercise on the Bottom.

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