Triceps Kickback | How are they performed? Errors And Variants

Triceps Kickback

Let's start with some anatomy.

The brachial triceps muscle is the main muscle of the back of the arm.

It is made up of three heads: the long head, the lateral head and the medial head that originate in different points, but they end in a single tendon that attaches to the olecranon of the ulna and on the posterior wall of the joint capsule of the elbow.

The function of the tricep, in its totality, is to extend the forearm over the arm, but while the medial and lateral heads intervene only in this movement, the long head also has the task of adducing, extending, extending horizontally, and retroposing the arm.

The long head also contributes to shoulder stabilization.

The brachial triceps is antagonist of the biceps muscle e constitutes about two thirds of the arm.

Triceps Kickback | How are they performed? Errors And Variants

How are they performed?

  1. To perform handlebar kickback the athlete at the start must place one hand and one knee on a bench, with the torso parallel to the ground and to the bench itself, with the other hand he will hold a dumbbell, with a neutral grip.
  2. At the start the athlete will keep the elbow bent and fixed against the side and the forearm perpendicular to the ground, exhaling will extend the elbow by moving the dumbbell back and lifting it as much as possible.
  3. From here on inhaling, he will return to the starting position in a controlled way.
  4. He will alternate a series with one arm and then with the other.

Triceps Kickback | How are they performed? Errors And Variants

It is possible to perform the kickback with two dumbbells (bilaterally), but in the unilateral version, leaning with the arm on the bench, stress on the lumbar and back is relieved, which would occur in the bilateral version having to remain bent forward without support.

Common mistakes

Common mistakes in the execution of the kickback are:

  1. do not keep the torso parallel to the ground
  2. perform the movement quickly without controlling the descent and using the inertia to raise the handlebar
  3. detach the elbows from the torso.


An interesting variant is that of the cable.

The athlete holds a low cable and positions himself in front of the cables, as if he were to row with the barbell standing, keeping the back in its physiological position, the legs slightly bent and the arm next to the torso with the elbow flexed.

Exhaling, he will bring his forearm back, fully extending the elbow, here he will hold the stop for a second and then slowly return to the starting position.

Also in this case it is possible to perform the exercise simultaneously with both arms.

With the cable variant the tension will be constant on the triceps throughout the range of motion.

Triceps Kickback | How are they performed? Errors And Variants


The kickback is a good exercise to try to isolate the triceps, making the long head that works less in the exercises also work of flexion-extension heavy like the bench.

It can be done both with dumbbells and cables, unilaterally or bilaterally; it is not an exercise in which to use a lot of weight, the idea is to do it slow, with controlled repetitions, focusing on the mind-muscle connection.

Triceps Kickback | How are they performed? Errors And Variants

You can try it by inserting it in your training schedule, at medium-high repetitions, as the last exercise of a push day, or if you follow the classic bro split you can use it as a finisher on the day when you do chest-triceps or back-triceps.

One last tip: in the final phase, a pronation, that is bringing the palm of the hand upwards, will stimulate the triceps even more.

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