There is very often a general perception among the more macho lifters among us, that triceps dumbbell kick backs are, well, for girls!
Yes, it’s without a doubt an extremely sexist belief, perpetuated only by meatheads intent on belittling those around them who can’t manage to bring themselves to complete the body jarring triceps movements such as skull crushers and close grip bench presses, the monster movements that lead to the most muscle mass gains. While they should be admiring their weaker brethren for at least “starting” a weight lifting routine, it is more likely ridicule they issue to their smaller compadres.
However, the tricep dumbbell training is actually a very useful movement which can help deliver some terrific detail and definition to an otherwise massive yet unformed triceps muscle. That horse shoe shape seen in the upper arm of many elite strength trainers is emphasized greatly with movements such as triceps dumbbell kick backs.
Do the pros use triceps dumbbell kick backs? You bet they do! They use it with regularity. They understand the importance of this movement, and just how tough it can be to find a free weight mass builder that can effectively target the triceps only. Because of this, you should never start your workout with triceps dumbbell kick backs. The exercise is, by definition, a mass building isolation exercise for the triceps – and if you go too heavy, as you would do on your initial movement, you may end up injured.
Why are triceps dumbbell kick backs so popular with the elderly and weak among us? The actual reason may lie in the psychology of the movement. You get to enjoy the rush that comes with moving heavy free metal, but there isn’t that perception of as much inert risk as seen with dumbbell triceps exercises such as presses behind the head, or dumbbell skull crushers, two of the scarier movements.
Are there some risks to using triceps dumbbell kick backs? There certainly are. The movement can be jarring. If you have had any issues with either elbow or rotator cuff/AC joint, you should probably avoid this exercise and opt for the safer triceps isolation movement of cable pressdowns. The pressdowns will be much less effective than triceps dumbbell kick backs, but they will also allow you to remove the tension from your elbow, which becomes a problem area for some lifters. If at any point you do notice a clicking or dull ache in your elbow, then it is time to put the exercise on the shelf for a few weeks, and give the region time to heal. The use of glucosamine for a short while will also help to remedy this malady.
There is one variety of triceps dumbbell kick backs that is highly effective – and that is the use of cables instead of dumbbells for this movement. Triceps cable kick backs can be performed at any horizontal cable station, and allow for effective isolation of the triceps muscles.
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