February 11, 2022 12 min read
Dumbbells are incredibly versatile gym equipment. Used in popular exercises like dumbbell bicep curls, shoulder press, and even lunges, implementing the dumbbell in your routine is bound to improve your upper body strength immensely.
The dumbbell kickback is one of the most explosive dumbbell exercises you would ever encounter. This exercise involves a simple movement that can help you build bigger and stronger guns.
Although it is easy to insert the dumbbell kickback into your routine, learning to perform it with perfect form is a strenuous task. To remedy this, we have provided you with tips and tricks.
The dumbbell kickback is also fondly known as the triceps kickback.
This is because it primarily targets and isolates the triceps, stimulating them and inducing growth of the arms.
The dumbbell kickback is not an exercise you often encounter while at the gym. Many upper body exercises aim to cut, trim, and bulk the arms; however, most are compound exercises, and only a few isolate the triceps muscle.
The arms are often used as a measure of a man’s strength.
A man's fitness is often guessed by the presence of big guns, Boulder-like shoulders, and a massive chest span. This is precisely why many men focus on building their shoulders, chest muscles, and arms while at the gym. This leads them to get acquainted with different exercises that promise an increase in the size of the arms.
Of all these exercises, tricep isolation exercises are often the best choice for arm size.
The triceps or triceps brachii is the large muscle present on the back of the upper arms. This muscle is in charge of arm, shoulder, and elbow movements, and its size directly determines the size of your arms. Working on your triceps not only helps to increase arm size but also improves mobility and builds upper body strength. The dumbbell kickback is a classic exercise that directly targets and stimulates the tricep muscle.
Although it can be performed with different modifications, the classic dumbbell kickback is done by leaning forward and slowly moving the dumbbells from front to back while keeping your arms at your sides. The movement imitates a pendulum, and when done correctly, you can feel the stretch in your arms.
The dumbbell kickback might focus on increasing arm size, and strengthening your core and shoulder muscles. Given that it requires balance to perform correctly, it is safe to say that the dumbbell kickback is an excellent addition to your workout routine.
With its name giving off most of its information, it is easy to see that the tricep kickback is an isolation exercise that primarily activates the triceps. The tricep, a fleshy bulk of muscle behind your upper arms, comprises three parts or heads, namely the medial, lateral, and long heads. Altogether, these muscles are responsible for the flexion, adduction, and extension of the arms in every direction.
The medial head is the part of the tricep closest to the elbow.
It is the smallest and most obscure tricep head as a significant part of it sits below the lateral and long heads. The medial triceps head is also the only tricep that does not attach to the scapula. Because of this, the medial head does not perform any glenohumeral or shoulder joint movement. Although it doesn’t stabilize the shoulders or help the arms move at the shoulder joint, the medial head remains as essential as its counterparts.
The medial head attaches to the long bone of the upper arm and the forearm, enabling it to be active in all movements of forearm extension.
Although this head is primarily activated when the forearm is in a pronated position, the reverse grip is often a better choice for starting the medial head.
The lateral head of the tricep is the strongest of the three heads. Originating from the humerus like the medial head, the lateral head is used for arm movements requiring high-intensity forces.
Unlike its predecessor, the lateral head also attaches to the scapula. It aids the direction of the shoulder joint, the extension of the forearm at the elbow, and adduction of the arm.
The last part of the tricep is known as the long head. The long head originates from the shoulder blade and is an essential part of movements at the shoulder joint. It is also a significant player in the extension, flexion, and adduction of the arms.
The long head of the tricep is the most commonly activated as it is engaged during weightlifting exercises using an overhand grip.
Altogether, the actions of every part of the triceps work together to oppose the work of the biceps. Targeting all three heads of the triceps at once is not so easy. The type of grip used in weightlifting often plays a massive role in activating a part of the tricep.
The dumbbell kickback is one of the few exercises that aim to engage all three tricep heads at once. While it focuses on all three heads of the tricep, it engages the lateral head to a greater extent.
Other than the triceps, the dumbbell kickback also activates the deltoids and the muscles of the upper and mid-back. The deltoid is the thick shoulder muscle located between the arm and clavicle. Like the triceps, the delts help move the arms in different directions.
It also protects and stabilizes your shoulder joint during these movements, preventing an incidence of injury such as a dislocation of the arm.
The dumbbell kickback is an excellent addition to any gym enthusiast’s workout routine. It works the major upper body muscles leading to increased strength, stability, and muscle coordination.
The dumbbell kickback might be a simple exercise, but it requires great focus and arm strength. All you need for this exercise is a dumbbell from the weight rack. Learning to do the dumbbell kickback might look tricky, but with the proper instructions, you can be an expert in no time. You need to focus on your form throughout your workout.
This would ensure that the tension does not move from the tricep muscles to your elbows or shoulder joint.
Concentrating on your form will also significantly reduce your chances of injuries. Below, we have broken down the dumbbell kickback into easy-to-do steps. This would guarantee that you adjust to proper form.
To do the dumbbell kickback:
Like any other exercise, holding proper form during the dumbbell kickback can be tricky. Getting the most out of your workouts requires you to adhere to the rules of the game strictly. Some tips to help you execute the dumbbell kickback with perfect form includes:
Like many other exercises out there, the dumbbell kickback can be modified to suit your fitness goals. Some of these variations can be adopted as more accessible variations, while some are designed to rev up your routine. Regardless, it is essential to perform them all correctly.
Below are some dumbbell kickback variations for you:
The seated dumbbell kickback is a simple variation of the basic dumbbell kickback. This two-arm kickback exercise is done while sitting on a bench.
It is beginner-friendly and a superb choice for people who suffer injuries to the lower extremity.
It is also an excellent choice for gym-goers who find it challenging to find balance during the basic dumbbell kickback.
To do this variation:
The bench dumbbell kickback is a bench-assisted variation of the original tricep kickback.
It is more straightforward, beginner-friendly, and an excellent choice for people who find it difficult to find their balance in the conventional dumbbell kickback.
The bench dumbbell kickback is a unilateral variation that allows you to work one arm after the other. It is splendid for correcting muscle imbalances and for learning the form of the basic dumbbell kickback. Overall the bench dumbbell kickback is an excellent addition to any beginners’ fitness routine.
To do this variation:
In this variation, you are switching the traditional dumbbell for a resistance band. The resistance band tricep kickback is essentially the dumbbell kickback but with a resistance band. The moves and stance are the same, but the equipment isn’t.
To do the resistance band tricep kickback:
The resistance band tricep kickback can also be performed as a unilateral exercise by working one arm. To do this, secure the resistance band around sturdy support at waist height, get in position, put your free hand on your knee for support, and curl and extend your arms slowly.
With the chest-supported position of this position, you place your body at the ideal position for maximizing the full extension of your triceps for increased muscle response.
The chest-supported kickback is done differently from its predecessors. In the variation, you are lying on your chest on an inclined bench which automatically reduces the load placed on your lower back. This allows you to hit more reps than any other thumb bell kickback can.
To do the chest supported kickback:
Dumbbell kickbacks are a fantastic addition to your upper body workout routine. This wonder exercise helps build bigger arms, firmer shoulders, and a stronger chest, all of which are essential for scaling up in other weighted activities. For better results, pair your dumbbell kickback workout with other dumbbell tricep exercises.