Lying Barbell Triceps Extension

The lying barbell tricep extension is an isolation exercise which builds muscle and strength in all three heads of the triceps. It’s a popular exercise and the biggest benefit is that you can get a really deep stretch in the muscle which is great for activating more fibers for muscle hypertrophy.

Now, it is important to warm-up thoroughly to avoid elbow pain and discomfort, so many people opt for a non-extension exercise before doing this movement. But, training with moderate resistance loads for working sets is preferred just because you don’t want to place too much stress on the elbows.

Include this exercise in your tricep routine and you’ll take your gains to another level.

In This Exercise:

  • Target Muscle Group: Triceps Brachii
  • Type: Strength
  • Mechanics: Isolation
  • Equipment: Barbell, bench
  • Difficulty: Beginner

Exercise Instructions

  1. Lie down on the bench and hold the barbell with a shoulder-width grip directly above your upper chest with arms straight.
  2. Then, tuck your elbows in and slowly lower the barbell down by only bending your forearms until the bar goes slightly past your head. Inhale during this portion of the exercise.
  3. Now, extend your forearms back up by flexing your triceps but don’t lock out your elbows. Exhale during this portion of the exercise.
  4. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Variations & Tip:

  • You can also perform the lying tricep extension by using dumbbells.
  • You can lower the barbell down slightly below your head for a deep stretch or right at your forehead (Skullcrusher) for a shorter range of motion.
  • You want to extend your forearms without moving your upper arms during the extension.
  • Always warm-up your elbows starting with light weights and gradually progress to heavier resistance loads.
  • Do not lock out your elbows during the concentric (Positive) portion of the exercise. This keeps tension on the triceps.
  • The lying barbell tricep extension works all three tricep heads.

Watch: How to do the lying barbell tricep extension


Watch: How to do the skull crusher