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Seated Overhead Dumbbell Extension 101 Video Tutorial

Gym Main Variation Strength


Seated Overhead Dumbbell Extension
Seated Overhead Dumbbell Extension

Exercise Synopsis

Target Muscle Group


Secondary Targets



Force Type

Push (Bilateral)

Required Equipment


Fitness Level













The Seated Overhead Dumbbell Extension is a targeted strength-training exercise designed to isolate the triceps, with secondary engagement of the biceps. Utilizing only a dumbbell, this exercise is accessible for various fitness levels. To perform, one sits on a bench or chair with a straight back, holding a dumbbell with both hands overhead. The movement involves lowering the dumbbell behind the head by bending at the elbows, then extending the arms to raise it back to the starting position. This exercise places emphasis on the triceps, contributing to increased muscle strength and definition in the back of the arms. It is crucial to maintain proper form to minimize strain on the elbows and maximize triceps activation. The Seated Overhead Dumbbell Extension proves valuable for enhancing arm aesthetics and overall upper body strength, allowing for customization through adjustable dumbbell weights.

How to Perform

  1. Choose your preferred weight from the dumbbell rack and set up an adjustable bench at a 90-degree angle to ensure proper support during the Seated Overhead Dumbbell Extension.

  2. Begin by sitting in an upright position and lifting the dumbbell to the top of your shoulder, ensuring a secure grip. Take a deep breath and overlap your hands around the dumbbell before pressing it overhead into position, engaging the triceps and preparing for the movement.

  3. Maintain a steady and overlapping grip as you slowly lower the dumbbell behind your head by unlocking your elbows. Pay attention to control and avoid rapid movements to prevent unnecessary strain on the triceps and surrounding muscles.

  4. When your forearms reach a parallel or slightly below position, initiate the upward movement by driving the dumbbell back to the starting point. This extension of the elbows and flexion of the triceps maximizes muscle engagement and contributes to overall triceps strength.

  5. Execute the Seated Overhead Dumbbell Extension for the desired number of repetitions, emphasizing controlled movements and maintaining proper form throughout. Additionally, consider adjusting the dumbbell weight to match your fitness level and gradually increase the challenge as strength improves.


  1. Maintain proper spinal alignment by avoiding overextension through the lumbar spine during the Seated Overhead Dumbbell Extension. Ensure the ribcage is kept down by engaging the abs and glutes, promoting a stable and safe posture throughout the exercise.

  2. Enhance tension and improve the mind-muscle connection by incorporating a slow eccentric phase during the lowering portion of the movement. This controlled descent not only optimizes triceps engagement but also fosters muscle awareness, allowing for a more effective and targeted workout.

  3. Keep the head in a neutral position to prevent excessive pressure on the cervical spine. Avoid jutting the neck forward, ensuring a safe and comfortable alignment throughout the Seated Overhead Dumbbell Extension. This precautionary measure supports overall neck and spine health during the exercise.

How Not to Perform

  1. Avoid Overextending the Lumbar Spine: Refrain from overextending the lumbar spine during the Seated Overhead Dumbbell Extension. Maintain a neutral position to prevent unnecessary strain on the lower back and ensure that the energy is directed toward the targeted triceps muscles rather than being dissipated in the spine.

  2. Do Not Rush the Eccentric Phase: Avoid rushing through the lowering phase of the exercise. A slow and controlled eccentric movement is essential for optimizing tension on the triceps and enhancing the mind-muscle connection. Rapid movements may result in reduced effectiveness and wasted energy.

  3. Avoid Allowing the Ribcage to Lift: Prevent the ribcage from lifting during the exercise by maintaining tension through the abs and glutes. Allowing the ribcage to rise can compromise form, shifting the emphasis away from the triceps and leading to less effective muscle engagement.

  4. Do Not Neglect Proper Breathing: Avoid improper breathing patterns that can hinder energy utilization and focus. Breathe rhythmically, exhaling during the concentric phase (lifting) and inhaling during the eccentric phase (lowering), ensuring a steady flow of oxygen to the muscles for enhanced endurance.

  5. Avoid Hyperextension of the Elbows: Refrain from hyperextending the elbows at the top of the movement. Full extension is crucial for triceps engagement, but overextension can strain the joints and lead to unnecessary stress. Maintain control and stop just short of complete lockout.

  6. Do Not Use Excessive Weight: Avoid using excessively heavy weights that compromise proper form. Using a weight that is too challenging may lead to compromised technique, reducing the effectiveness of the exercise and increasing the risk of injury. Choose a weight that allows for controlled movements throughout the entire range of motion.

  7. Avoid Leaning Backward: Prevent leaning backward during the Seated Overhead Dumbbell Extension, as this can shift the emphasis away from the triceps. Maintain an upright and stable posture to ensure optimal muscle engagement and prevent unnecessary strain on the lower back.

  8. Do Not Allow the Neck to Jut Forward: Avoid jutting the neck forward, as this can place undue pressure on the cervical spine. Keep the head in a neutral position to maintain proper spinal alignment and focus the energy on the triceps, avoiding distractions and potential injuries.


Variations of fitness exercises refer to different ways of performing a specific exercise or movement to target various muscle groups, intensities, or goals. These variations aim to challenge the body differently, prevent plateaus, and cater to individuals with varying fitness levels.


Alternative exercises in fitness refer to different movements or activities that target similar muscle groups or serve the same training purpose as the primary exercise. These alternative exercises can be used as substitutes when the original exercise is unavailable or challenging to perform due to various reasons such as equipment limitations, injuries, or personal preferences.


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