kneeling tricep curl with dumbbell

How to Do Tricep Curls Correctly | Master the Exercise

When you think of arm exercises, you probably think of bicep curls or hammer curls.
Reading How to Do Tricep Curls Correctly | Master the Exercise 5 minutes

When you think of arm exercises, you probably think of bicep curls or hammer curls. Tricep curls are an equally important dumbbell exercise and can add significant muscle mass to your upper body. 

Today, we’re going to show you how to do a tricep curl correctly. First, we’ll go over some of the benefits and then we’ll show you how to do tricep curls with proper form. Are you ready? Let’s get started! 

What are Tricep Curls

Tricep curls are a push exercise that targets the muscles in the back of your arms. The triceps play a crucial role in various pushing movements, such as bench presses and push-ups. Tricep curls involve a simple movement pattern where you extend your arms behind your head and then bring them back to the starting position. 

To perform these curls effectively, you need to maintain proper form throughout the exercise. Make sure to keep your elbows close to your head and engage your core muscles to prevent any unnecessary movement. 

Benefits of Doing Tricep Curls

Biceps tend to be the more popular exercise, but what are the benefits that come with doing tricep curls? Here are the key benefits of adding tricep curls to your next upper body workout.

  • Develop muscular strength: One of the main benefits of tricep curls is that they help to isolate the tricep muscles. This means that you'll be able to work on these specific muscles without engaging other parts of your body. This isolation is important if you want to see real results in your arm strength and muscle growth.
  • Minimal equipment required: All you need is a set of dumbbells or resistance bands. This makes tricep curls an easy exercise to do at home or at the gym. 
  • Reduce the risk of injury: Tricep strength is critical because the muscles act as a stabilizer for the shoulder. Shoulder injuries are one of the most common sticking points for athletes and gymgoers alike. Build strong triceps to avoid hurting your shoulders.
  • Increase core stability: If you’re taking a dumbbell over your head, you’re going to need core strength! To isolate the tricep, both the shoulder and core will need to remain stable. As your stability increases, so will the potential to increase your load.

How to Do Tricep Curls With Proper Form

You won’t see gains from tricep curls unless you use the proper form. First, set up your exercise station with a dumbbell at a weight equivalent to your fitness level. Then, perform the following below to do tricep curls with proper form: 

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Hold the dumbbell with both hands in an overhead position with your core braced.
  • Bend both elbows to lower the weight behind your head. Keep your elbows pointing skywards.
  • Focus on only moving your forearms as you extend your arms straight up towards the ceiling, returning back to the start position. 
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Tricep Curl Variations

  • Single arm variation: Unilateral exercises (meaning single side) are fantastic to help to understand any muscular imbalances within your body.
  • Seated tricep curls: Standing tricep curls will allow for some momentum to assist the movement. By sitting, you reduce the temptation to press from the legs, further isolating the work to your triceps.
  • Incline tricep curls: Using an incline bench will provide more stability, taking some work away from your core stabilizers. This position allows for an increased range of motion
  • Skull crushers: Although the name suggests this is a completely different exercise, it is still a tricep curl. The variation is that you’re lying down.
  • Equipment used: Dumbbells will be the most commonly used piece of equipment for the tricep curl, but you can also use barbells, weight machines, or kettlebells for your tricep workout.

How to Avoid Injury During the Exercise

As we mentioned before, it’s important to perform tricep curls with proper form to prevent injury. However, there are other things you can do to avoid injury while doing tricep curls. Any workout starts with an adequate warmup. The warmup will prime the muscles and joints that you’ll be targeting.

Next, assess your shoulder mobility. If you find it hard to hold a weight overhead without arching your back, then tricep kickbacks may be more appropriate. When it comes to equipment selection, make sure you're using an appropriate weight for your fitness level. Start with a lighter weight and gradually increase as you get into the exercise. This will allow blood flow to the targeted muscles and ensure that you aren’t moving out of your range of motion.

As mentioned above, keep your elbows close to your body and avoid swinging them or using momentum to lift the weight. This will ensure that you're targeting your triceps and not putting unnecessary strain on other muscles or joints. Remember to maintain a neutral spine and engage your core throughout the exercise. By following these tips, you can effectively work your triceps while avoiding injury.

A well-rounded physique requires a balance between push and pull exercises. So next time you're hitting bi’s don’t forget to show equal love to your triceps.