What are Tricep Kickbacks?

N. Madison

Tricep kickbacks are a type of upper-body exercise. This exercise is often used to shape the tricep muscles and may also help build muscle in this area. A person might perform tricep kickbacks using only dumbbells and standing on a flat surface. Some people, however, use a flat bench to keep their bodies stable as they complete this workout. Exercisers may also perform variations of this exercise that involve standing on one foot.

Kickbacks, when coupled with hand weights, are great for toning the triceps.
Kickbacks, when coupled with hand weights, are great for toning the triceps.

An individual who performs tricep kickbacks works the triceps, which are muscles that are located in the lower portion of the back of the arm. In fact, when people refer to the triceps, they mean a group of three bundled muscles. Each head of muscle has a different point of origin, and they are all joined at the elbow. The primary job of the triceps is to act on the elbow joint and allow a person to straighten his arm.

To perform tricep kickbacks, a person may start out standing on a flat surface, with a dumbbell held in each hand. He then bends over until his upper body is at a 45-degree angle. Next, he bends his arms and pulls his elbows up, parallel to his torso. He follows that movement by straightening his arms, so they are held straight out behind him before he bends his arms once more and returns to his starting position. An individual should contract his abdominal muscles while performing this exercise, and squeezing his triceps when he straightens his arms may help him to get the most out of this workout.

Some people may perform tricep kickbacks while holding onto a bench or a chair for stability. In this case, a person may alternate arms since the other arm is occupied with holding the bench. An individual may also do tricep kickbacks on one leg, though this requires good balance and may be harder for beginners. Typically, people start out with lighter dumbbells as they get used to the movement and build strength. This can help them to avoid tiring too fast and risking injury; they may work up to heavier weight over time.

Often, people aim to perform one to three sets of tricep kickbacks in a workout session. Each set may include 10 to 15 repetitions. A beginner may start out doing fewer and gradually work up to a complete workout.

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