you know those dumbbell kickbacks we all love to hate? Yeah, those. Well, guess what? It’s time to shake things up a bit. Don’t get me wrong, Dumbbell kickbacks are great and all. They give our triceps a solid workout, for sure. But let’s be real, they can get a bit monotonous, right? And let’s not even talk about how they can sometimes be tough on our wrists and shoulders.
So, I thought, why not explore something different? Why not find some Dumbbell Kickback Alternatives that can still give our triceps the love they deserve but maybe with a little less strain and a little more fun?
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Dumbbell Kickback Alternatives
Working out isn’t just about physical activity; it’s about a careful blend of strength, technique, and alignment. Not every fitness movement can neatly replace a tricep kickback, so when you’re looking for an alternative, you need to think carefully.
To maintain your training program’s harmony and purpose, an alternative exercise should meet some key criteria. These criteria revolve mainly around matching the muscle usage of tricep kickbacks and addressing the specific needs or preferences of the person working out. Perhaps you don’t have the right equipment, or you need to modify your workout to address a physical issue or target a specific area.
Pinpointing the Muscle Group
Tricep kickbacks mainly focus on one muscle: the triceps brachii located in the upper arm. This is what we call an “isolation” exercise because it isolates one specific muscle or muscle group. That means any alternative you pick should ideally target the same muscle, the triceps brachii.
The most likely muscles you’d add would be the pectoral muscles (in your chest) and deltoid muscles (in your shoulders). These are part of the “push” muscle group, which is often worked out together in the same exercise routine.
Making It Work with Your Workout Program
Unless there are special circumstances, the best alternative to a tricep kickback will usually also be an accessory isolation exercise. This is a type of exercise that complements the main exercises in your workout and is usually performed after them.
When choosing an alternative, think about how much effort it requires. Ideally, the replacement should align with the tricep kickback in terms of volume (how many times you do the exercise), complexity (how difficult it is), and resistance level (how much weight or force is involved). This ensures that the new exercise fits seamlessly into your workout routine without causing disruptions.
Free Weight Tricep Kickback Alternatives
To replicate the synergistic muscle recruitment and intensity of tricep kickbacks, opting for an alternative based on free weights is highly recommended.
1. Overhead Tricep Extension
This is a highly recommended alternative to the tricep kickback that uses free weights. The Overhead Tricep Extension is an isolation exercise, which means it primarily focuses on a single muscle group, similar to tricep kickbacks. It provides a comprehensive range of motion leading to improved results.
The Overhead Tricep Extension offers several advantages over the tricep kickback, including the strengthening of the elbow extension mechanism and enabling higher maximum loading due to its longer duration of tension.
How to Perform the Overhead Tricep Extension:
- Stand up straight with a dumbbell held by both hands. Your feet should be about shoulder-width apart.
- Slowly use both hands to lift the dumbbell over your head until both arms are fully extended.
- The resistance should be resting in the palms of your hands with your thumbs around it. The palm of the hands should be facing up towards the ceiling.
- Keep your upper arms close to your head (ears) and perpendicular to the floor. The forearms should be directed towards the ceiling as well. This is your starting position.
- Lower the resistance in a semicircular motion behind your head until your forearms touch your biceps.
- Go back to the starting position by using the triceps to raise the dumbbell. Breathe out as you perform this step.
2. Close Grip Bench Press
Unlike the tricep kickback, the Close Grip Bench Press is a compound exercise, meaning it engages more than just the triceps brachii muscles. This exercise would necessitate changes in your workout program.
However, it’s worth considering due to its increased maximum loading capacity and focus on the inner head of the triceps, despite the extra effort it requires.
How to Perform the Close Grip Bench Press:
- Lie flat on a bench, holding a barbell with a close grip (your hands closer than shoulder-width apart).
- Keeping your feet flat on the floor, push the barbell up to full arm extension.
- Lower the barbell to your chest, keeping your elbows close to your body.
- Pause for a moment, then push the barbell back to the starting position.
3. E-Z Curl Bar Skullcrushers
The E-Z Curl Bar Skullcrushers are a popular choice among bodybuilders and advanced weightlifters. They serve as an excellent alternative to the tricep kickback. Providing a full range of motion and acting as an isolation exercise, they ensure that the triceps are the primary focus throughout the movement.
How to Perform E-Z Curl Bar Skullcrushers:
- Begin by lying on a flat bench, holding an E-Z curl bar with a close grip (hands about shoulder-width apart).
- Extend your arms fully, keeping them perpendicular to the floor. This is your starting position.
- Slowly lower the bar by bending at the elbows, keeping your upper arms stationary. Continue until the bar is nearly touching your forehead.
- Using your triceps, lift the bar back to the starting position. Remember to keep your upper arms stationary throughout the exercise.
Each of these alternatives can be adapted to fit into your existing routine and may even
offer a refreshing change to your workout regimen. Always remember to maintain proper form and consult with a fitness professional if you’re unsure about any exercise technique.
Machine Tricep Kickback Alternatives
For those who prefer the longer duration of tension and safety mechanics of machine-based exercises, there are plenty of tricep kickback alternatives available.
Machine-based Alternatives for Tricep Kickbacks and Their Execution
If you lean more towards machine-based exercises due to their longer tension duration and safety mechanics, there are a variety of effective tricep kickback alternatives at your disposal. Some excellent alternatives include the Rope Tricep Pushdown and the Overhead Cable Tricep Extension.
1. Rope Tricep Pushdowns
Rope Tricep Pushdowns are a fantastic machine-based alternative to tricep kickbacks. This exercise focuses on the triceps brachii muscles and uses a cable machine for resistance. The intensity and mechanics of this exercise closely mirror that of the tricep kickback.
How to Perform Rope Tricep Pushdowns:
- Start by standing upright in front of a high pulley machine with a rope attachment. Grasp the rope with both hands, using a neutral grip (palms facing each other).
- With your elbows tucked in by your sides, begin the movement by pushing the rope downward until your arms are fully extended.
- Briefly pause at the bottom of the movement, squeezing your triceps for maximum effect.
- Slowly return the rope back to the starting position, allowing your triceps to fully extend.
2. Overhead Cable Tricep Extensions
The Overhead Cable Tricep Extension offers a similar intensity and biomechanics to the tricep kickback. This exercise effectively targets the tricep muscles and incorporates the same muscle movements as the tricep kickback.
How to Perform Overhead Cable Tricep Extensions:
- Begin by attaching a rope to the bottom pulley of a cable machine.
- Facing away from the machine, grasp the rope over your shoulders with both hands. Your palms should be facing each other.
- With your elbows close to your head, extend your arms until they are fully straight.
- Slowly lower your hands back behind your head, ensuring your upper arms remain stationary throughout the exercise.
These machine-based exercises offer fantastic alternatives to tricep kickbacks, offering you a versatile range of options that can be tailored to your personal fitness goals. As always, ensure you maintain the correct form during your workouts to prevent injury and maximize your results.
Whether you’re looking for an isolation or a compound exercise, a free weight, machine, or bodyweight alternative, the key to the perfect tricep kickback alternative lies in its compatibility with your workout routine and your personal fitness goals.
Always remember to take your time to understand each exercise, practice proper form and technique, and always listen to your body. Exercise is about improvement, not injury. Happy lifting!