Toning Triceps

What can you do about flabby arms? Plenty! The great misconception about that area, perhaps from

watching our grandmothers stirring pots on the stove, is that the "flab" is fat. But looseness at the back of

the arm is often just due to untrained muscle.

Though most of us do have some fat in the area, you can make a tremendous difference just by training

your triceps, your rear upper arm muscle.

The three-part muscle that covers the rear of your arm is formally called the triceps brachii. All three parts-

the lateral (outer), medial (inner) and long-work to straighten your arm.

Most of us have relatively weak triceps because this muscle doesn't get much action on a day-to-day basis.

But you use your triceps every time you push-whether you're pushing away from a table, or pushing a box

up onto a high shelf. When you push, you're straightening the arm, right? This is the triceps' work.

But think about it: How much time do you spend pushing something heavy enough to give you muscle

tone?

Triceps exercises will give your arms that sculpted shape without making them look bulky. Meanwhile,

you'll be doing your elbow joints a favor. With most of us, the biceps-the muscle at the front of the upper

arm-overpowers the triceps. The combination of weak triceps and strong biceps can leave you prone to

elbow injuries.

Try some of the following exercises to get your triceps up to par, and give you firm, toned arms you'll be

proud of.

French Press

  • Use your light or medium dumbbells.

  • Targets the back of your upper arm.

The Setup: Lie on your back with a firm pillow underneath your head, shoulders, and upper back. Bend your knees and

place your feet flat on the floor. Pick up the dumbbells and push them straight up in the air until your arms are straight,

palms facing in.

The Move: Exhale, and slowly bend your elbows, lowering the dumbbells behind your head until they almost touch your

shoulders. Pause at the bottom of the movement, inhale, and straighten your elbows.

The Focus: Concentrate on keeping your elbows pointed straight in the air throughout the entire movement. Don't let your

arms move forward or back - you're not waving a flag back and forth!

Triceps Kickback

  • Use your light or medium dumbbells.

  • Targets the back of your upper arm.

The Setup: Lean forward, place your left hand on the seat of a chair, and stagger your feet so your right leg is in front of

your left and both knees are slightly bent. Holding a dumbbell in your right hand, lift your arm until your elbow is slightly

higher than your body and the dumbbell points to the floor; palm facing in.

The Move: Exhale, then slowly straighten your elbow until your arm is straight. Pause at the top of the movement, inhale,

and return to starting position.

The Focus: Throughout the exercise, keep your upper arm still, your back straight, and both shoulders facing the floor.