The Tricep Exercise You STOPPED Doing (BIG MISTAKE!)

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There are a lot of tricep exercises that you can do if you want to build bigger triceps or arms in general. The problem is, not all of them are great at helping you to do that. In this video, I cover one of those tricep exercises that I feel has been unfairly labeled as one of those not capable of helping you to build big triceps.

The criticisms of the dumbbell kickback are many. First, those that do not like the exercise feel that it doesn’t allow you to generate enough force throughout the range of motion. That is a strange argument however, since most exercises (especially free weight exercises) don’t provide this opportunity. Because of the natural strength curves against gravity with dumbbell exercises, you are most commonly left with only a portion of the exercise that actually works under peak tension.

What further makes this a bad exercise however is that the area of the range that does provide peak tension is in the fully contracted state of the triceps muscle. This is a great advantage that not many other dumbbell tricep exercises allows us.

The second criticism of the tricep exercise, and probably the most common, is that you can’t load the exercise heavy enough to help you build muscle. The thing you have to consider is that the term “heavy” is relative to the exercise. For instance, lifting 50lbs on a bench press in each hand would be not be considered heavy but it could be considered heavy on a standing dumbbell curl. Remember, the only currency your muscles understand is tension.

If you perform the tricep kickback exercise with dumbbells that cause you to fail in the 10-12 rep range, you are using heavy enough weight to produce tension capable of making your triceps muscle grow. Forget getting caught up in the absolute amount of the weight you are using and instead focus on what the muscle feels and you will start getting your triceps to grow faster.

Finally, those against the tricep kickback argue that it causes injury to the shoulder and bad posture. That is a possibility if you cheat your way through the exercise and do it as I show you in the video, standing one arm at a time. In order to prevent either of these things from happening however, all you have to do is lay face down on an incline bench when you do this triceps exercise.

By laying down you stabilize the anterior shoulder and actually give your body something to post off of which will enable you to generate more force and lift more weight on the exercise. So those that said that you couldn’t load enough weight will find that not only can you increase the safety of the movement by doing it this way but you can overcome their second objection about it as well.

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For more arm workout videos and tips on how to get bigger triceps, be sure to subscribe to our youtube channel at

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36 comments
  1. montana of300 / June 6, 2015

    The only guy who’s not involved in utube drama 

    • WarTorn Productions / June 12, 2015

      +Nova Borealis yeah your right, because hating a vegan athiest bodybuilder
      is uncalled for especially when he hates on everytging on youtube.

    • FrostuR / June 18, 2015

      +Daniel Morrissey He’s a con artist, so those were all warranted.

    • montana of300 / July 24, 2015

      He’s bum hole also tastes like cavier

  2. MisanthropikOne / June 6, 2015

    Nice! Now I have to put the kickbacks back into arm day! 

    • Nova Borealis / June 7, 2015

      +MisanthropikOne same!

    • tweezy99 / June 14, 2015

      +Jake H A cable is the same as gravity, you can only draw the resistance in
      one direction: with gravity its towards the floor. with cables its towards
      the tower.

      With the tower, you can change your body angle and positioning to effect
      the resistance in different parts of the ROM. Same with gravity.

      Because of that you can never get consistent tension through the entire rom
      with a cable… If a pecdeck-like machine was made for triceps then it
      would be different.

    • Yes / June 14, 2015

      +tweezy99 Yap. True the law about momentun M=Fr still applies. Had a small
      thinking error.

    • mahesh tom / June 17, 2016

      +Jake H that’s not momentum. that’s moment or torque.. big difference.. haha

  3. Jfit1022 / June 6, 2015

    I am so super setting this with spider curls.

    Thanks, Jeff!

    • Jfit1022 / June 8, 2015

      +Lea Vohn simply doing two different exercises back to back, with zero
      rest. Just a tactic to use to pump of the muscle, exhausting it to it’s max

    • jared grossman / June 8, 2015

      How do you get muscles with out weghts

    • MrPainolympics / June 8, 2015

      +jared grossman body weight exercises. Pull ups, push ups, pistol squats

    • Lea Vohn / June 9, 2015

      +JStiger1986 oh ok

    • Patrick J. Colliano / July 24, 2015

      +JStiger1986 I think that’s just about the best idea ever.

  4. Austin Lemaster / August 30, 2015

    Listened to Jeff and did these yesterday. Got some looks in the gym when I
    was doing it, but my Triceps are blasted today. Thx Jeff!

  5. Highlight Reel / December 3, 2015

    Jeff or somebody could you please help me. I always get pain in the part of
    my tricep or the tendons just beyond my elbow when bench pressing heavier
    weights. But it is in only one arm and has been a problem for me for the
    past 3 years.

    • Calm Sea / December 22, 2015

      +Highlight Reel Look at Jeff’s video about tennis elbow. It might give you
      an Idea about the area.

    • 21macca21 / January 27, 2016

      +Highlight Reel i too have this problem especially wen doing over hand curls

  6. TraumaER / February 27, 2016

    “Currency of muscle is tension” …m i n d b l o w n !

  7. Henri Lehti / March 15, 2016

    That exercise is same as french bench press but wors

  8. Sir Derpson / April 21, 2016

    Even Arnold likes this exercise.

  9. PlumbPilot / April 22, 2016

    I used to do these but had issues… the bench fix is a great idea it will
    solve my back and shoulder pain in this exercise. Great, thanks Jeff!

  10. chargindave70 / May 11, 2016

    weighted dips and close grip bench

  11. osvaldo fernandez / May 22, 2016

    the bench! I never thought of that. Thanks Jeff.

  12. 14Tumaini / June 11, 2016

    How are those things he is lifting called?

  13. BoAMightyreds / June 12, 2016

    weighted dips with triceps pull downs in 1 super set x3 does it for me well
    i do heavy skull crushers before then rest 2 mins then dip n pull downs the
    third sets on dips i normally have an insane burn

  14. anglekan / June 14, 2016

    The steve jobs of fitness. This guy makes excercise make sense and produce
    results.

  15. 77dris / June 15, 2016

    The Bill Gates Of Fitness!

  16. jmcsquared18 / June 16, 2016

    This is far from a “girly” exercise – doing these kickbacks is the reason
    my triceps are the best muscles on my body today. And if you haven’t done
    them in a while or ever, the first time you do them hurts like hell in the
    triceps. You’ll know it’s getting a good contraction.

  17. Dennis Lebeau / June 18, 2016

    this dude is the balls….sack and all…gospel.

  18. Roberto Blandon / July 20, 2016

    what if you don’t have a flat bench? how can you do this to avoid slouching
    or pinging of the shoulder

  19. Gloryboy Saint #RIP LA #600300 / July 27, 2016

    Who can dislike this

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