Triceps Workout: Torch Your Triceps with Reverse Incline Dumbbell Press
Whether it’s men who want big and muscular cannons hanging out of their shirts or ladies who want to tighten and tone, everyone who lifts pay attention to their arms. As we search for ways to make this happen, we learn that the triceps are actually considered two-thirds of the upper arm. So doing curl after curl after curl won’t crack the code to great arms on its own.
By Roger Lockridge
Now the search is on for great triceps workouts. You might notice that even though there are different rep schemes and the order might change, we always seem to bump into the usual suspects when it comes to exercises; close grip bench presses, lying tricep extensions, pressdowns, and dips. Occasionally we might see one with kickbacks. Let’s be clear. All of those movements are great and this isn’t a knock on any of them but there has to be more options, right?
Triceps Workout: Reverse Incline Dumbbell Press
This one just might be the one you need. You’re likely familiar with the incline dumbbell press, the classic chest movement that targets the upper pecs. You might not know this but all you have to do is make one slight change and you have a whole new exercise that has a whole different benefit than the traditional version. What’s that change? The answer is the way you hold the dumbbells.
How to Perform the Movement
Set an adjustable bench to a comfortable incline position or use a traditional incline bench. Take a pair of dumbbells and hold them in your hands. Lift them up to your knees when you sit on the bench. Using force from your legs, kick the weights up to shoulder level as you lie back on the bench. Hold the dumbbells so your palms are facing you instead of away from you like the traditional incline press. Keeping your elbows to your sides as much as possible, press the weights straight up as high as you can until you are just short of locking out. Slowly lower the weights back to shoulder level and repeat for the desired number of reps.
Why This Works
The reverse grip of the dumbbells target the triceps with an extra focus on the medial head of the tricep which all too often is overlooked in favor of the long head which is what you see when athletes flex their triceps. With that different grip, the incline angle positions your body so that you can better isolate the triceps with minimal recruitment of other muscles. As you might know, the shoulders become more involved with the traditional incline press. As long as you keep your elbows to your sides and not allow them to flare out, you shouldn’t feel your shoulders working much with the reverse grip incline press.
Two Extra Points
You should be aware immediately that you very likely will NOT be able to use the same weight for reverse incline dumbbell press that you use for the traditional version. Reverse incline is to isolate the triceps whereas the traditional version recruits the chest, shoulders, and triceps. Start with very light weight until you feel comfortable with the movement before going heavier.
Also, if you want to save time and hit both biceps and triceps at the same time, combine this movement with the incline curl. Perform your incline curl but instead of lowering the weight back down, press them up. Then lower the weight back to your shoulders and finally to your starting position for the curl. This is a great way to finish off an arm workout.
Triceps Workout: Sample Arm Superset Workout
EZ Bar Curls & Overhead EZ Bar Tricep Extensions – 3 supersets of 8 reps each.
Incline Curl/Reverse Incline Dumbbell Press – 3 sets of 10 reps each.
Lying Cable Bar Curl/Rope Pressdown – 3 sets of 12 reps each.
*No rest between exercises in superset. 60 seconds rest between supersets.