Dumbbell Tricep Extension Weight Standards (beg to adv)

Dumbbell tricep extension weight standards.

To build a stronger dumbbell tricep extension, you need to be lifting a suitable amount of weight. But strength standards vary between individuals. This post reveals weight standards for the dumbbell tricep extension for you to benchmark your performance.

A respectable dumbbell tricep extension for the average male beginner is around 10% of body weight for a single repetition. Intermediates and advanced lifters should be able to lift around 30% and 45% (respectively) for 1 rep.

The weight standards in this post will help you determine what is a respectable weight to be lifting based on your gender, body weight, and training experience.

These dumbbell tricep extension weight standards are based on my 5-years of training experience.
These dumbbell tricep extension strength standards are based on my personal 5-years of weight lifting experience.

How To Use These Weight Standards

How to use these dumbbell tricep extension weight standards.

1) Determining your training level:

  • Beginners have practiced the tricep extension for 1-12 months.
  • Intermediates have practiced the tricep extension for 12-36 months.
  • Advanced lifters have practiced the tricep extension for 4 years or more.

2) Choosing your rep range:

The weight standards are given for:

  • 1-rep max (1RM)- this is the maximum amount of weight you can lift for a single repetition. It’s often used as a strength standard.
  • 6-10 working reps- this is generally considered to be the ideal rep range for building muscle.

3) Selecting your gender and body weight:

  • Average dumbbell tricep extension weight standards are revealed for common body weights.
  • Male tricep extension standards are given.
  • Females can use a 60% conversion (multiply the weight standard by 0.60).

4) Reading the charts:

  • Weight standards are given as lbs on the top and kg on the bottom.
  • If you’re doing tricep extensions at or above the weight standard for your given training level, body weight, and gender, then you are lifting a respectable amount of weight.

Beginner Dumbbell Tricep Extension Weight Standards

Here’s how much weight you should be lifting on the dumbbell tricep extension as a beginner:

Bodyweight1-rep max6-rep max7-rep max8-rep max9-rep max10-rep max
120lb
54kg
6lb
3kg
5lb
2kg
5lb
2kg
5lb
2kg
5lb
2kg
4lb
2kg
150lb
68kg
11lb
5kg
9lb
4kg
9lb
4kg
9lb
4kg
9lb
4kg
8lb
4kg
200lb
91kg
19lb
9kg
16lb
7kg
16b
7kg
15lb
7kg
15lb
10kg
14lb
6kg
250lb
113kg
27lb
12kg
23lb
10kg
22lb
10kg
22lb
10kg
21lb
7kg
20lb
9kg
300lb
136kg
35lb
16kg
29lb
13kg
29lb
13kg
28lb
13kg
27lb
12kg
26lb
12kg
Weights are for a single dumbbell.

Generally speaking, beginners should be able to do tricep extensions with dumbbells that weigh 5 to 10% of their body weight for a single repetition (1-rep max).

Intermediate Dumbbell Tricep Extension Weight Standards

Here’s how much weight you should be lifting on the dumbbell tricep extension as an intermediate lifter:

Bodyweight1-rep max6-rep max7-rep max8-rep max9-rep max10-rep max
120lb
54kg
36lb
16kg
30lb
14kg
30lb
13kg
29lb
13kg
28lb
13kg
26lb
12kg
150lb
68kg
47lb
21kg
39lb
18kg
39lb
17kg
38lb
17kg
37lb
17kg
34lb
16kg
200lb
91kg
63lb
29kg
53lb
24kg
52lb
23kg
50lb
23kg
49lb
22kg
46lb
21kg
250lb
113kg
78lb
35kg
66lb
30kg
64lb
29kg
62lb
28kg
61lb
28kg
57lb
26kg
300lb
136kg
90lb
41kg
76lb
34kg
74lb
33kg
72lb
33kg
70lb
32kg
66lb
30kg
Weights are for a single dumbbell.

Generally speaking, intermediates should be able to do tricep extensions with dumbbells that weigh 30% of their body weight for a single repetition.

Advanced Dumbbell Tricep Extension Weight Standards

Here’s how much weight you should be lifting on the dumbbell tricep extension as an advanced lifter:

Bodyweight1-rep max6-rep max7-rep max8-rep max9-rep max10-rep max
120lb
54kg
61lb
28kg
51lb
23kg
50lb
23kg
49lb
22kg
48lb
22kg
45lb
20kg
150lb
68kg
75lb
34kg
63lb
29kg
62lb
28kg
60lb
27kg
59lb
27kg
55lb
25kg
200lb
91kg
96lb
44kg
81lb
37kg
79lb
36kg
77lb
35kg
75lb
34kg
70lb
32kg
250lb
113kg
113lb
51kg
95lb
43kg
93lb
42kg
90lb
41kg
88lb
40kg
82lb
37kg
300lb
136kg
128lb
58kg
108lb
49kg
105lb
48kg
102lb
46kg
100lb
45kg
93lb
42kg
Weights are for a single dumbbell.

Generally speaking, an advanced lifter should be able to do tricep extensions with dumbbells that weigh 40 to 50% of their body weight for a single repetition.

How Good Is Your Dumbbell Tricep Extension Vs Others?

Here’s the average percentage of people who can do tricep extensions at a fraction of their own body weight using dumbbells:

Dumbbell Tricep Extension 1RM Weight (as a fraction of body weight)% Of People Who Can Do It
0.05x99%
0.10x95%
0.15x87%
0.20x77%
0.25x66%
0.30x54%
0.35x42%
0.40x32%
0.45x24%
0.50x17%
0.55x12%
0.60x8%
0.65x6%
0.70x4%
0.75x2%
0.80x2%
0.85x1%
0.90x0.6%
0.95x0.4%
1.00x0.2%
Weights are for a single dumbbell.

This allows you to compare your standards with others and determine how good your numbers are.

To calculate your tricep extension as a fraction of your own body weight, simply divide the weight of your 1RM by your body weight.

For example: if you weigh 180lbs and your tricep extension 1RM is 50lbs, then you’re lifting 0.28x your body weight (50lbs ÷ 180lbs).

The above chart indicates:

  • 75% of people can do tricep extensions using dumbbells 0.20x their body weight for 1 rep. This represents the lower quartile of lifters and is a respectable weight for beginners to achieve.
  • 50% of people can do tricep extensions using dumbbells 0.30x their body weight for 1 rep. This represents the median quartile of lifters and is a respectable weight for intermediates to achieve. It’s also a realistic target for beginners to aim towards with enough training.
  • 25% of people can do tricep extensions using dumbbells 0.45x their body weight for 1 rep. This represents the upper quartile of lifters and is a respectable weight for advanced lifters. It’s also a realistic target for intermediates to aim towards with enough training.

5 Reasons Why Your Dumbbell Tricep Extension Strength Is Below Average

According to a poll I conducted, the main target muscle for the dumbbell arm extension- the triceps- are some of the easiest muscles to build. However, you may still be struggling with this exercise.

Here are 5 common reasons why you may find it difficult to perform the tricep extension using dumbbells, and why your weight standards are below average.

I’ve also shared solutions for each problem.

These solutions can help to improve your tricep extension.

1) Flared elbows.

Avoid flaring elbows to lift more weight on the dumbbell extension.
Keep your elbows tucked in during the dumbbell tricep extension to lift more weight.

Flaring your elbows outward is not recommended.

It puts your shoulders in a state of excessive internal rotation (rotating your upper arm in and towards the chest).

This commonly happens because:

  • People do not know they are doing it.
  • The dumbbell weight is too heavy.

Elbow flare and internal rotation make the dumbbell tricep extension more difficult for 2 reasons:

  1. Increases shoulder joint stress (can sometimes be painful).
  2. Decreases triceps activation.

As a result, your tricep extension strength will be reduced.

Solution:

The elbows should never be flared outwards at any time during the movement.

I prevent elbow flare from happening by actively tucking my elbows towards the torso midline and keeping my biceps within 5 inches away from my ears.

Another tip is to simply reduce to a correct lifting weight (a load that you can easily handle). This allows you to perform the exercise with good form and focus on not letting your elbows flare outward.

2) Underdeveloped arm muscles.

Arm muscles need to be targeted with different exercises.
Train with a variety of exercises to target all the different regions of the arm.

The tricep extension is an isolation-type exercise mainly targeting the triceps.

But the triceps comprise 3 smaller regions including the; long, medial, and lateral heads. Additionally, the biceps and deltoids also serve to stabilize the movement.

Thus, all arm muscles should be worked to gain the maximum strength benefits.

If any of these muscles are weak, then your overhead extension strength will be lower than normal.

Solution:

A common mistake made by beginners trying to build bigger arms is to think that bicep curls and tricep extensions alone are enough.

Whilst these two movements are great and can be sufficient to promote arm growth, you should ideally include a variety of different movements to hit each muscle region for maximal growth.

A good arm workout routine doesn’t require much more than 5-10 different exercises. But they should be carefully selected and you should use the correct dumbbell weight.

I recommend including compound tricep exercises like the bench press and dip, alongside the tricep extension, to grow your triceps fast.

3) Not going on a bulk

Go on a bulking diet if your strength has plateaued and you are finding the tricep dumbbell extension difficult.
Go on a bulk to fuel muscle growth from your dumbbell tricep extensions.

Building bigger and stronger triceps isn’t just about training. You also need to combine this with a good nutrition plan to fuel muscle growth and repair.

In fact, one of the most common reasons why beginners fail to build muscle and strength is simply because they’re following a poor diet plan.

If you aren’t eating surplus calories and protein (also called bulking), strength gains will plateau very quickly.

Solution:

Determine your daily maintenance calories using a TDEE calculator and add 5-15%. This is how many calories you should be eating every day to fuel muscle growth (hypertrophy).

Additionally, aim to consume at least 1g of protein per lb of body weight. This provides the raw materials for tricep growth.

Bulking can be hard for beginners.

The easiest way without micromanaging your nutrition is to incrementally increase calorie and protein intake alongside your training, and watch out for the main signs of muscle growth.

4) You are doing the tricep extension standing up.

Seated dumbbell extensions allow more weight to be lifted.
Seated dumbbell tricep extensions allow more weight to be lifted.

Choosing to stand or sit can affect how much weight you can lift on the dumbbell tricep extension.

This has been shown in a 2013 study that demonstrated more weight could be lifted in the tricep extension when standing up compared to sitting down.

The seated variation provides a stable base for you to lift from and reduces the requirement of having a strong core for stabilization.

Therefore a weak overhead extension could be because you’re doing it standing up rather than sitting down.

Solution:

Switch from a standing to a seated dumbbell tricep extension. This can be easily done at the gym.

If you’re training at home, then you can use a stable chair.

But for the safest option, I recommend buying a mid-range weight bench. I use the Flybird FB149. It provides great value for money and can also be folded for convenient storage.

5) Inadequate training volume.

Completing sufficient reps, sets, weight, and workouts is essential to increase tricep strength.
Plan your arm workouts to include a sufficient amount of training volume for optimal triceps growth.

Hitting a sufficient weekly training volume is important for building any muscle, including the triceps.

Volume describes the total number of sets, reps, weight, and workouts you perform each week.

Speaking from experience, it’s very easy for a beginner to think they’re doing more work than they actually are.

And when this happens, you may find your dumbbell tricep extension below the average strength standards for your given bodyweight, gender, and experience.

Solution:

Aim to complete 10-20 total sets for triceps per week. Beginners can stay on the lower end of this spectrum.

Work in a moderate-high rep range of 8-15 reps per set (working in higher rep ranges for arms is best).

Lift a weight that challenges you for each set.

And try and complete 2-3 workouts per week with at least 24 hours of rest in between workouts.

You can check out my 3-day home routine for skinny guys for a complete program to build full-body muscle (including the arms).

Other Weight Standards For Dumbbell Tricep Extension Muscles

Dumbbell extensions are an isolation-type movement that primarily works the triceps at the back of your arm. Here are weight standards for other exercises that hit similar muscle groups:

  • Dips– a compound pushing exercise that’s great for loading your triceps with a heavy weight.
  • Bench press with dumbbells– horizontal compound pushing exercise that mainly engages the chest but also your triceps.
  • Shoulder press with dumbbells– vertical compound pushing exercise that primarily works the shoulders but also your triceps.
  • Bicep curls– isolation-type movement that works the biceps at the front of your arms.
  • Pull-ups– vertical compound pulling exercise that mainly works the back and biceps.
  • Dumbbell rows– horizontal compound pulling exercise that primarily works your back but also your biceps.

Conclusion

My dumbbell tricep extension weight standards help you to determine whether or not you are lifting a respectable amount of weight for your capabilities.

Beginners should be able to do 1 rep using around 10% of their body weight. Intermediates should be able to lift approximately 30% of their body weight, and advanced lifters approximately 45%.

If you’re lifting at or exceeding these strength standards, then you’re doing a good and respectable job.

I’ve also shared common problems and solutions to a tricep extension strength that is below average.

You may also be interested in the downloadable Kalibre Blueprint PDF which details exactly how I gained 40lbs of lean muscle (it’s 100% free!). It details the exact exercises and nutrition (with printables) I used to go from skinny to ripped!

Kal

I'm Kal (B.S, M.S)- a health & fitness writer and owner of Kalibre Fitness. I love to nerd out on weight training and nutrition. My primary interests are in muscle hypertrophy mechanisms and strength development. You can connect with me in the "Contact Us" section below!

Recent Posts