How to do tricep extensions with dumbbells, cable, rope and barbell; the exercise is also know as skull crushes. Tricep extensions is a fantastic isolation exercise for your triceps. There are many different variations of this exercise, some of these different variations will be shown below using different equipment and exercise positions.

While the tricep extensions main focus is on the tricep, which is obviously the primary muscles worked, it does also work a few other muscles. To a lesser degree it works the muscles of the forearms, shoulders and the chest, however it very much depends on the variation of the exercise and how you perform it.

Equipment to do Tricep Extensions

  • Cable machine
  • Straight bar
  • Curved bar
  • Ropes
  • Dumbbells
  • Tricep bar
  • Tricep extension machine

Tricep Extensions Variations

  • Over head extension – single or double handed
  • Lying down bench version
  • Tricep kick backs
  • Cable extensions

Tricep Extenions with Cable & Rope

How to do tricep extensions

  • Stand up straight and grab the ropes, keep your elbows in at the side, your forearms should be just above parallel with the floor.
  • Lower the ropes until your arms are almost straight, while doing so pull your arms apart slightly, hold for a short moment and then tense your triceps, and then return your arms to the start position keeping the tension on your triceps.

I prefer to do cable machine tricep extensions with rope as it gives you more control during the exercise, however you can also use a straight or angled bar.

Tricep Extensions with Barbell or Curl Bar


  • Lie on a flat bench holding the barbell with your arms vertical.
  • have your palms facing up and your hands about 1 foot apart, slowly lower the bar so that your arms are bent at about 90 degrees, you can go a little beyond this angle for extra stress on the tricep, hold for a brief moment and then slowly return to the start position and then repeat.

The lying down tricep extension can also be performed standing up, using the exact same arm movement, you just perform it while standing, another slight variation is that it can be performed while seated on a bench.

Tricep Extensions with Dumbbells

Technique sitting upsingle dumbbell

  • Stand up straight with your feet about shoulder width apart for balance, extend your right arm up vertically holding the dumbbell.
  • Bend your elbow and lower your forearm behind your head, your arm should be bent at about 90 degrees, hold and then straighten your arm again.

Technique lying down – two dumbbells

  • Lie flat on the bench holding a pair of dumbbells, arms straight, pointing up with your palms facing each other.
  • Bend at the elbow, until you have around a 90 degree bend, hold for a moment and then straighten your arms again.

Sometimes during this exercise you can feel pressure on your elbows. If this is the case change your technique, including adjusting your grip, or you might want to try another variation.

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