Getting your upper arms in shape is a worthy ambition in any season, and the triceps are the muscles to target for a sleek look.
Toning them can be a challenge, but the “triceps extension” and variations of this key strength training move make up the core of an effective training routine.
For the basic triceps extension, lie flat on a mat with knees bent and hip-width apart or on a weight bench with feet flat on the floor in front of you. Hold the ends of a dumbbell or the handles of a weighted ball with both hands. Lift arms straight up to the ceiling. From this position, and without moving the upper arms, bend elbows to bring the weight toward your forehead until arms make a 90-degree angle. With control, straighten arms. Repeat.
For the first variation, from the same starting position, hold a dumbbell in each hand. Raise arms straight up to the ceiling, with palms facing away from you. Again, moving only your forearms, bend elbows until upper arms and forearms make a 90-degree angle. With control, straighten arms, but before you lower them again, rotate your wrists so that palms are facing you as you lower your forearms. Straighten arms and continue to reverse the position of your wrists with each rep.
For the second variation, from the same starting position and with a dumbbell in each hand, raise arms straight up to the ceiling. Again, moving only your forearms, bend elbows to lower the weights to the floor on either side of your head. Avoid moving your shoulders. Straighten arms to return to start.
For each exercise, aim for three sets of up to 15 reps each. Start with a weight that allows you to do eight reps per set in good form. Once you can complete 15 reps per set before reaching muscle failure, increase the weight.
The American Council on Exercise has more triceps exercises to add as you progress.
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