Many people focus solely on traditional tricep exercises, such as the pushdown, skull crusher but the single arm tricep extension offers a unique and highly effective way to target your tricep from a different angle.
If you’re not already doing one arm tricep extension, you’re missing out on some serious gains. It provides a unique training stimulus that many other tricep exercises do not provide. This can help you build a bigger, stronger tricep.
- What Is Single Arm Tricep Extension
- Single Arm Tricep Extension Muscles Worked
- One-Arm Overhead Dumbbell Triceps Extension
- How To Do
- Best Variations Of One-Arm Tricep Extension
- 1. One-Arm Dumbbell Lying Tricep Extension
- 2. One Arm Reverse-Grip Tricep Extension
- 3. One Arm Cable Overhead Extensions
- Tips For Doing Single-Arm Overhead Extension
- 1. Avoid Elbow Flaring Out
- 2. Avoid Excessive Elbow Movement
- 3. Don’t Use Too Much Weight
- 4. Avoid Swinging The Weight
- 5. Incomplete Range Of Motion
- 6. Rest And Recover
- Set, Reps, And Frequency For Single Arm Extension
- How To Add Into Your Workout Routine
- 1. Tricep Focused Workout Routine
- 2. Upper Body Workout Routine
- 3. Full Body Strength And Stability Routine
- Benefits of Single Arm Tricep Extension
- Single Arm Tricep Extension Alternative
- Can I perform Single Arm Tricep Extensions with resistance bands instead of dumbbells or cables?
- Is it better to do Single Arm Tricep Extensions with one arm at a time, or both arms together?
- Can Single Arm Tricep Extensions help reduce flabby or batwing arms?
- Best Cable Tricep Exercises For Strong And Defined Arms
What Is Single Arm Tricep Extension
A single arm tricep extension is a unilateral exercise that targets the tricep to build strength and hypertrophy through extension of the elbow.
Aside from strength and functionality, tricep cable extensions will bring definition and firmness to the tricep to improve the aesthetics of the arm.
In this exercise, a dumbbell or a cable is usually used to work one arm at a time. This gives the triceps a more focused and intense workout.
There are different ways to do single arm tricep extension to build a bigger and stronger tricep.
- Single Arm Dumbbell Tricep Extension
- One Arm Cable Overhead Extension
- Reverse Grip Single Arm Tricep Extension
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Single Arm Tricep Extension Muscles Worked
The One Arm tricep extension is an isolation exercise rather than a compound motion. This makes it a great exercise for targeting your triceps.
- The primary muscle group worked by the single arm extension is the triceps.
- There are a variety of secondary muscle groups that activate during tricep extension are biceps, forearms, lats, abs (rectus abdominis), obliques, pecs, and traps (trapezius).
One-Arm Overhead Dumbbell Triceps Extension
The one arm dumbbell overhead triceps extension is a single-joint exercise that targets the triceps while increasing stability throughout the core and the shoulder regions.
By using dumbbells instead of an EZ-bar for the overhead extension, you can work each arm separately and ensure that the stronger side is not carrying the weaker one.
This lets you focus on perfect form in that one arm and allows for a greater range of motion.
How To Do
- Stand shoulder width apart and lift a dumbbell overhead with your left hand.
- Hold it straight overhead with an overhand grip (palm facing forward).
- Keep your upper arm right beside your head.
- Then Slowly lower the dumbbell behind your head and toward your right shoulder until your elbow forms a 90-degree angle.
- Then slowly lift it back to full arm extension.
- Repeat for as many reps and sets as desired.
Best Variations Of One-Arm Tricep Extension
To target the muscle in different ways, it’s a good idea to include different variations of the exercise, such as using different types of equipment or changing the angle of the movement.
1. One-Arm Dumbbell Lying Tricep Extension
The One-arm lying dumbbell tricep extension is one of the best dumbbell tricep exercises you can do because it stretches the muscle and allows for a full range of motion during the movement.
The lying position allows for a greater range of motion than other tricep exercises, allowing for better muscle activation.
It’s a fantastic exercise for overall tricep development and can be performed in a variety of ways.
It can be performed on the floor, using only a dumbbell. This makes it a great exercise that you can do at home or while you’re traveling.
How To Do
- Lie on a flat bench and hold a dumbbell in your right hand with an overhand grip.
- Extend your arm so that the dumbbell is straight up from your right shoulder.
- Without moving your upper arm, bend at the elbow to bring the dumbbell down to the side of your head.
- Exhale as you extend your elbow and push the dumbbell back up to the starting position.
- Complete as many reps as desired, then repeat with the left arm.
Related Post: Dumbbell Arm Workout For Bigger Biceps And Triceps
2. One Arm Reverse-Grip Tricep Extension
When doing a cable tricep extension, there are plenty of single-arm exercises you can add to correct potential imbalances.
The cable one-arm reverse-grip tricep extension is an isolation exercise that builds muscle and strength in all three tricep heads.
Push-downs are excellent regardless of the variation used, but the reverse grip may allow you to emphasize more of the medial tricep head.
How To Do
- Stand near the cable apparatus and grasp the single-grip attachment, with an underhand grip.
- Keep your elbows at your body’s sides and press the weight downward
- Slowly, allow the weight to rise until your forearms are parallel to the ground.
- Repeat steps 3-4 for as many sets as are desired.
3. One Arm Cable Overhead Extensions
Overhead rope triceps extension are another great exercise for your tricep cable extension workout.
You can use this exercise to target each side of the triceps separately. This will balance the strength of each arm and will give you an asymmetrical look. This exercise can be done standing or seated.
How To Do
- Attach a stirrup (handle) to a cable pulley that is a little lower than chest high.
- Grasp the stirrup with one hand and press it up, over your head.
- Turn away from the pulley, stagger your feet for balance.
- Your elbow should be raised high, the cable should be pulled taut.
- Keep your elbow close to your head, exhale as you raise the stirrup over your head by extending your elbow.
- Inhale as you flex your elbow to lower the stirrup towards the starting position until you feel a mild stretch in your triceps brachii.
- Repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions.
- Repeat the exercise with your opposite arm.
Tips For Doing Single-Arm Overhead Extension
It is crucial to know the mistakes made by athletes and weight lifters while performing tricep extensions. It will help you gain a better perspective on your form.
1. Avoid Elbow Flaring Out
One common mistake during single-arm tricep extensions is allowing the elbow to flare out to the side while extending the arm.
During a downward push, people tend to flare their elbows outwards. This can put unnecessary stress on the shoulder as well as the chest muscles.
2. Avoid Excessive Elbow Movement
Many people let their elbows sway back and forward during the movement. While you can technically lift more weight using this momentum, you are actually using your lats to complete the exercise.
3. Don’t Use Too Much Weight
Adding more weights than required might not be a good idea.
Overdoing this exercise can strain your muscles, making them sore, and may cause injury.
4. Avoid Swinging The Weight
Focus on using controlled, deliberate movements to curl the bar.
A slow controlled descent will increase time under tension, leading to more effective sets, and less risk of injury.
5. Incomplete Range Of Motion
It is important to fully extend your elbows at the bottom. Feel the deep stretch at the top and the hard contraction at the bottom.
6. Rest And Recover
Incorporate proper rest, and nutrition into your exercise program.
Rest for 24 to 48 hours before training the same muscle groups to allow sufficient recovery.
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Set, Reps, And Frequency For Single Arm Extension
The number of reps you should do depends on your goals, whether they are to increase strength or build muscle mass and endurance.
- For muscle growth, it is best to do around 6–12 reps per set.
- For strength, around 3–8 reps per set are recommended.
- To build Muscle Endurance, do 15-20+ reps per set.
Here are some general guidelines for the single-arm cable tricep extension exercise, including sets, reps, and frequency, in order to enhance muscle mass
|Beginner||2-3||8-12||1-2 times per week|
|Intermediate||3-4||8-12||2-3 times per week|
|Advanced||4-5||8-15||2-3 times per week|
How To Add Into Your Workout Routine
They can be incorporated into your workout routine in a variety of ways. Here are some options:
- As a standalone exercise: Do 3-4 sets of 8–12 reps.
- As part of a tricep workout: Do them along with other tricep exercises.
- As part of a full-body workout: Do them with other compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, and bench presses.
1. Tricep Focused Workout Routine
|Reverse-Grip Triceps Pushdown||3-4||10-12|
|Single Arm DB Overhead Extension||3||8-10|
2. Upper Body Workout Routine
|Dumbbell Bench Press||3||8-10|
|Seated Cable Rows||3||12-15|
|One Arm Cable Tricep Extension||3||10-12|
3. Full Body Strength And Stability Routine
|One Arm Dumbbell Extension||3||12-15|
|Incline Dumbbell Curl||3||8-10|
Benefits of Single Arm Tricep Extension
- This exercise effectively targets and enhances the strength of the triceps.
- Helps improve muscle balance and symmetry.
- Enhances functional upper body strength.
- Aids in shoulder stability and joint health.
- Helps in correcting strength imbalances between the left and right arms.
- Improves arm strength and power for pushing movements.
- It can be easily modified to suit different fitness levels and equipment availability.
- Contributes to better sports performance, particularly in activities involving arm extension and control.
- Supports injury prevention by strengthening the triceps and surrounding muscles.
- Requires little space and equipment, so it can be used at home or at the gym.
Single Arm Tricep Extension Alternative
- Dumbbell Overhead Tricep Extension
- Cable Tricep Kickback
- Barbell Skull Crusher
- Tricep Kickback
- Cable Overhead Tricep Extension
- Barbell Overhead Tricep Press
- Dumbbell Tricep Extension
- Cable Tricep Pushdown
- Barbell Close-Grip Bench Press
- Cable Rope Tricep Extension
Can I perform Single Arm Tricep Extensions with resistance bands instead of dumbbells or cables?
Yes, Single Arm Tricep Extensions can be performed using resistance bands. Attach one end of the band to a sturdy anchor point, hold the other end with your hand, and execute the exercise as you would with a dumbbell or cable. Resistance bands offer a different type of resistance and also provide constant tension.
Is it better to do Single Arm Tricep Extensions with one arm at a time, or both arms together?
Both variations have their benefits. Performing single arm tricep extensions isolates each triceps individually, which can help address muscle imbalances. On the other hand, using both arms together (Bilateral Tricep Extensions) can allow for greater total weight lifted and may be more time-efficient.
Including both variations in your workout routine can provide a well-rounded tricep workout.
Can Single Arm Tricep Extensions help reduce flabby or batwing arms?
Single Arm Tricep Extensions can be effective for toning and strengthening the triceps, which can contribute to reducing the appearance of flabby or batwing arms. However, it’s important to remember that spot reduction (losing fat from specific areas) is not possible.
To achieve toned arms, a combination of targeted exercises, a well-rounded workout routine, and a balanced diet are essential.
The single arm triceps extension is a great way to isolate and strengthen the triceps muscle. They are also a challenging exercise that can help you build arm size and strength.
There are various variations of Single Arm Tricep Extensions, which allow you to tailor your workouts to your preferences and equipment availability. Whether you use dumbbells, cables, or resistance bands, the exercise can be adjusted to fit different fitness levels and training goals.
If done consistently, the results will speak by themselves.
Thanks for reading, enjoy your workout.
- American Council on Exercise: ACE Study Identifies Best Triceps Exercises (source)
- The different role of each head of the triceps brachii muscle in elbow extension
- Tiwana MS, Sinkler MA, Bordoni B. Anatomy, Shoulder and Upper Limb, Triceps Muscle. [Updated 2021 Aug 6]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK536996/
- Kholinne, E., Zulkarnain, R. F., Sun, Y. C., Lim, S., Chun, J. M., & Jeon, I. H. (2018). The different role of each head of the triceps brachii muscle in elbow extension. Acta orthopaedica et traumatologica turcica, 52(3), 201–205. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aott.2018.02.005
Best Cable Tricep Exercises For Strong And Defined Arms
Manish brings over 10 years of hands-on experience in weight lifting and fat loss to fitness coaching. He specializes in gym-based training and has a lot of knowledge about exercise, lifting technique, biomechanics, and more.
Through “Fit Life Regime,” he generously shares the insights he’s gained over a decade in the field. His goal is to equip others with the knowledge to start their own fitness journey.