How to Do Triceps Pullbacks

How to Do Triceps Pullbacks

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Add power to your tennis serve with strong triceps.

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Extending from the shoulder to the elbow, the triceps muscles help you do things like throw a ball, serve in tennis and deliver a punch in boxing. A three-headed muscle group, the triceps counterbalance the biceps. The most important of the three muscles is the long head, which stabilizes the shoulder joint while also providing control and sustained force to the arms. Triceps pullbacks, also called kickbacks, can add both strength and definition to your upper arms.


Warm up with five to 10 minutes of moderate cardiovascular exercise to get the blood flowing throughout your body and to your muscles. Examples of cardio are jogging, rowing or cycling. Activate the triceps with one 10-repetition set each of pushups or dips.


Choose a resistance level that allows you to work to fatigue after eight to 12 repetitions. Working to fatigue, or failure, means you cannot perform another repetition with proper form.


Place your right knee on a workout bench while keeping the left foot flat on the floor. Hold a dumbbell in your left hand. Hinge at the hips and bring your torso forward until it is parallel to the ground. Place the right hand on the bench under your right shoulder.


Pull your abdominal muscles in toward your spine. Lift your chest and slide the shoulder blades down your back. Maintain a straight back.


Extend your left forearm back, keeping it in line with your torso while the upper arm remains stationary. Hold the contraction for one count and then return your arm to starting position. Continue for eight to 12 repetitions and then repeat on the other side. Complete three sets.


Stretch your triceps by extending the right arm overhead, palms facing behind you. Bend the elbow and allow the right forearm to drop behind your head. Take hold of the right elbow with the left hand and gently pull the elbow until you feel a stretch in the triceps. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and release. Repeat on the other side.


  • Keep the elbow on the same plane, or slightly higher, than the shoulder for full range of motion. Allowing the elbow to drop below the shoulder can limit the effectiveness of the exercise.
  • Perform the triceps pullbacks in front of a mirror to be able to watch your form. Maintaining proper form can help you to maximize muscle development.


  • Consult with a health-care provider before starting a new fitness or workout program. Inform your doctor of any injuries or medical conditions.


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