How The Kickback Exercise Boosts Triceps Growth

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Zero in on that horseshoe-shape with this stellar exercise.

For those of us looking to get those bulging arms, doing curls just won’t cut it. We all know we need a balance of triceps and biceps exercises in our arm day routine, but working that triceps muscle can be harder than it seems. A lot of people tend to make the mistake of only working their biceps, really pumping away at all sorts of those exercises we know and love. But the neglect of your triceps is foolish and will show in the long run. You need the right triceps exercises to see solid arm development and the kickback exercise can do just that.

Your triceps are made up of three heads being the long, lateral, and medial. For total overall development, each needs to be worked effectively and in combination with isolation and compound exercises. The benefits to strong triceps can be anything from that desired aesthetic, to rounding out your upper body and its development, down to injury prevention as even one weak muscle can have negative effects on your gains. The kickback exercise is an isolation exercise that can really target that growth you want most.

In this guide to the triceps kickback exercise, we’ll dive into what it is, the muscles worked, and the many benefits associated with it, mainly towards your triceps growth and that desired horseshoe-shape. How to perform it is simple yet effective and this exercise can transform your arms into some serious works of art.

What Are Kickbacks?

Kickbacks are a triceps isolation exercise that really works to build strength and size, as well as rounding out that horseshoe-shape to make your arms pop. As an important muscle for moving your elbows, shoulders, and forearms, your triceps need the proper exercise to really feel a need to grow. Kickbacks are that exercise to build strength and work to stabilize the triceps muscle for anything from sport specific movements to something more functional. For all things strength, size, and aesthetic, look no further than the triceps kickbacks for everything you need.

Muscles Worked

As an isolation exercise, kickbacks work your triceps beyond belief and offer a great exercise to solely target this often overlooked muscle. Increasing the triceps muscle can provide for a host of benefits including stability, flexibility, and increases in range of motion. While there are certainly some other smaller muscles working with you on this exercise, it is important to know that this is mainly an isolation exercise and one worth doing for triceps growth.

triceps kickbacks

Benefits Of Triceps Kickbacks

The benefits of kickbacks are linked to the benefits of having strong triceps. You want the best out of your exercises because your training deserves it and your performance results require it. Don’t sell yourself short with some lackluster exercise and heavily consider adding kickbacks into your routine. As a simple and effective exercise, there should be no conversation about if this should be in your workout, but rather, when is the first day you’re going to add it into your workout.

Benefits of kickbacks include:

Increased Strength

As an isolation exercise, your triceps get full attention to get serious work done to build strength and size. The benefit of an isolation exercise is that you aren’t tiring out other muscle groups and are really only focusing on that one muscle you want to focus on most. A strong triceps muscle will really work for your benefit in more ways than one and even something like mind-muscle connection can take effect to build more strength (1).

Stability To Shoulders & Arms

As a large muscle in the arm, having strong triceps will provide that much needed stability to aid in big lifts and other functional movements. Stability allows us to focus on what we’re doing as opposed to being so caught up with making sure we don’t get injured. With good stability, we remain grounded and strong, either in the upper or lower body.

Make That Physique Pop

A strong triceps muscle can help create that horseshoe-shaped arm people will envy wherever you go. Having bulging biceps is only half the battle and you need to focus on both the triceps and biceps in order to see the growth you want most. You work hard for that physique so maximize your gains and don’t settle for anything less.

Other Benefits

  • Less stress on the wrists: Your wrists stay in one position so there’s less stress and strain to cause unwanted pain.
  • Improve flexibility: Don’t restrict yourself and limit what you can and can’t do when it comes to movement.
  • Injury prevention: Avoid muscle imbalances and avoid unwanted pain that can result in an injury keeping you out of the gym (2).

triceps kickbacks

How To Perform It

Here are the steps for performing the kickbacks exercise.

Stand with your feet around shoulder-width apart. Grab a pair of dumbbells and hold them with your palms facing each other. As you hinge over at the waist, keep your core engaged and make sure your back is parallel to the floor. With the dumbbells at your chest, bend them so they are at a 90-degree angle and fully extend your arms behind you. Give those triceps a squeeze at the top (once fully extended) and lower back to the starting position. Repeat for your desired number of reps.

Wrap Up

The triceps kickback exercise is a great isolation exercise to target your triceps so your growth and that horseshoe-shape come to life. The benefit of strong triceps goes far beyond just looking good, for they provide stabilization, injury prevention, and of course, the added bonus of that amazing physique. Look to add the kickbacks exercise into your routine to ensure you never neglect those triceps again. While doing biceps curls and working on those arms may seem easy, you really need to focus on balancing out those biceps and triceps exercises. You work hard and it should show, so don’t waste your time and add this amazing exercise into your routine today.

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*Images courtesy of Envato


  1. Calatayud, Joaquin; Vinstrup, Jonas; Jakobsen, Markus D.; Sundstrup, Emil; et al. (2017). “Mind-muscle connection training principle: influence of muscle strength and training experience during a pushing movement”. (source)
  2. Pierce, Troy D.; Herndon, James H. (1998). “The Triceps Preserving Approach to Total Elbow Arthroplasty”. (source)
Austin Letorney
Austin Letorney is a writer, actor, and fitness enthusiast. As a former rower, he has shifted his focus to sharing his knowledge of the fitness world and strength sports with others.