Muscle group:   The arm muscles, the shoulder muscles

Trained muscle:   Triceps, deltoid

Focused muscles:   Triceps

Fitness level:   Beginner, advanced, experienced

Type of training:   Own body weight exercises, free weight exercises


Tricep kickbacks are a very good exercise for the backside of the upper arm and the back part of the deltoid. It is not even necessary to work out with weights to achieve a high intensity.

Tricep kickbacks

Tricep kickbacks can be performed on a bench at the gym or on a mat on the floor. On a bench you would kneel with one leg on the bench and the front of your body lying on the back rest. The other leg stands beside the bench on the floor. Working out with one arm you would hold on with the other arm on the back rest to stabilize your body. The working arm is raised straight back to the maximum. Choose a rest angle that allows you to kick back with your arm up to the horizontal line (longest lever) to activate the triceps maximally. Also adduct your arm as much towards the body as possible.

Tricep kickbacks variations

Tricep kickbacks are practised most intensely by remaining with your arm on the horizontal line just performing small up and down movements in the area of highest muscle contraction. Without extra weights clench your fist and actively stretch your arm maximally to achieve highest muscle tension. Further intensify your workout by using extra weights, like dumbbells or on the cable machine. It is recommendable to train both arms to the same time (might not be possible at the cable machine). This method safes time and makes it easier to keep the body straight.

Tricep kickbacks can also be performed dynamically bending and stretching the forearm. The upper arm remains on the horizontal line. The elbow is bent to an angle of 90° and stretched back up again to the horizontal line. This version is less intense. Working out on the floor it is more difficult to stabilize the body. Keep the back straight and your abdominal muscles tensed.


Antagonist: Biceps

Stretching: Tricep stretches, shoulder stretches

Tricep kickbacks variations

Tricep kickbacks variations

Tricep kickbacks variations

Tricep kickbacks variations

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