When asked to name your number one problem area, many would say the back of the upper arm. Unlike their counterparts (biceps), the triceps are frequently underutilized in daily activities and weaken without special attention.
The triceps muscle has three heads, or portions, that originate at the shoulder blade, upper arm bone, and elbow. The triceps come into play when extending the forearm, such as when using a hammer. Toning these muscles will decrease underarm jiggle. While decreasing overall body fat is the only way to reduce arm fat, firming the arm muscles will improve the overall appearance your triceps.
The American Council on Exercise has sponsored research to determine which exercises are the most effective for toning and strengthening the triceps. The 8 most effective triceps exercises include:
- Triangle Push-ups
- Triceps Kickbacks
- Overhead Triceps Extensions
- Rope Pushdowns
- Bar Pushdowns
- Lying Barbell Triceps Extensions
- Closed-grip Bench Press
Researchers concluded that the top three exercises on the list are sufficient for quickly toning and strengthening the back of the upper arm. This is because triangle push-ups and dips use your body weight to strengthen the muscles. Without the assistance of a weight machine, cheating on form and range of motion is more difficult. Triceps kickbacks can be done with dumbbells or weighted household items such as water jugs or canned goods.
Perform strength-training exercises that target triceps muscles at least twice per week. It is best to rotate through two or three different exercises at each session with two sets of 8-12 repetitions per exercise. To vary your pattern, you can increase the weight and decrease the reps down to 6, or decrease your weight and increase reps up to 15. The variety of exercises and intensity will help fully train the different portions of the muscle.