And there’s good reason why.
Why The Triceps Lose Shape
Part of it really isn’t your fault.
The triceps muscle, unless we purposely challenge it, really does not get a lot of work in our daily life. And many workout routines for women do not address it sufficiently.
Unless you are kneading bread regularly, or involved in some other activity that requires you to push against resistance, the triceps can pretty much check out of the action.
At least the level of action required to give it good shape. To take that “waving long after you do” feeling off the table.
This of course is complicated by body fat stores that, for many of us, seem to like to settle in this spot. Dietary planning will of course make a big difference.
The good news is that it is easy to isolate and overload the triceps to improve their strength and shape. That’s why when we position to exercise them we feel them so quickly.
In other words, targeted triceps work is not for the faint of heart. But you aren’t, so no problem, right?
Finding the time is another challenge. But then again, since you can so easily isolate and overload the triceps, the reps you need to do are few.
And it’s worth it. The triceps are THE muscles most responsible for giving your arms a sculpted look.
And if you want to restore actual shape to the muscle and reduce the “flab” factor, or lack of muscle, then targeting this muscle with isolation and overload is a must. First, a little bit more about this challenging arm area. Then, 2 exercises you can sneak in right away.
There’s a reason it’s called “TRIceps”
The triceps muscle is named so due to its quality of having 3 different heads.
The long, the medial, and the lateral heads.
All 3 have their origin at different points in the arm or scapula, and join together to insert.
Together, these 3 play different and supporting roles in:
- extending the elbow
- extending the upper arm in a posterior direction
- pulling the arm in toward the side of the body.
To most effectively condition and shape the triceps, all 3 of these actions need to be addressed.
The need for targeted conditioning of this area is so strong that I have it early in the Fit Quickies™ lineup. Fit Quickie #3, Triceps Triple Play, is designed with these 3 heads of the triceps fully considered.
Here Are My My 2 Top Triceps Exercises for Summer:
1) Triceps Posterior Lifts and Extensions:
These moves are what you recognize fromFit Quickie #3, Triceps Triple Play.
In this type of triceps exercises, you position the upper body horizontally in a forward lean and raise the arm straight up beside the body, reaching knuckles to the back wall.
This immediately places workload on all 3 heads of the triceps. The trick is:
- keeping the arm straight
- keeping the arm in close to the body, and
- keeping the lift and extension repetitions tiny so that you stay in the muscle
Together, these 3 qualities keep the 3 heads of the triceps muscle in play. For more about structure of the triceps muscle, click here.
There are several variations of triceps workload for this position:
- tiny moves pulling the arm in closer to your body
- tiny bend-extends, reaching to the wall behind you
- tiny rapid lifts
- tiny slower lifts
Notice these all have the word “tiny” in common! “Stay in the muscle” is the key phrase here.
2) Triceps Dips, aka Reverse Push Ups
Once you’ve built up a measure of strength with Fit Quickie #3, Triceps Triple Play, you might want to venture into adding this challenge.
To set up Reverse Push Ups, you are seated with your arms behind you, in close, fingers pointing toward your body.
You raise the seat a little off the floor, and you will notice that immediately your body wants to shift forward and take the work out of the triceps!
Care must be taken, however, to properly align on this one. And you have to fight for it because your body so quickly wants to check OUT of the workload.
Instead, you must shift your weight back so that the shoulders are right over the wrists. The move then is vertical as you bend and straighten the arms.
You will feel the triceps come into play right away (yikes!). Keep the seat tucked up, though not far from the floor, and the abdominals engaged.
Word Of Caution On Reverse Push Ups
Remember how I said the body will want to check out of the workload on this one and shift the body weight forward?
This not only reduces the workload on the triceps, it places your fragile shoulder joint in a compromised position. Here, I’ll show you.
Notice in the image at left how both the exercisers have incorrect form when it comes to shoulder to wrist alignment, impinging on the front of the shoulder joint and taking some of the work load out of the triceps.
Compare this to the Reverse Push Ups image displayed further up in the article, and you’ll see what I mean.
And don’t be frightened by the leg in the air which is actually a fine – yet challenging variation.
Challenge the triceps with these exercises four times a week and watch those arms snap into shape!
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