We hear all about the importance of our biceps, but what about those pesky, back-of-the arm muscles we can’t seem to sculpt, no matter how hard we try?
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The triceps makeup about two-thirds of the upper arm’s muscle mass, and sagging skin on the upper arms is often the effect of neglected triceps.
Check out these seven exercises to build muscle mass and leave flabby arms in the past.
1. Triceps Dips
The triceps are actually three separate heads – each of which can be worked at different times through different exercises. Triceps dips are unique in that they target all three heads at once, working out your entire triceps muscle.
- Find two chairs and place them the length of your leg apart.
- Sit on one chair and put your feet up on the other, so that you are sitting with your back straight and your feet right next to each other.
- Leave your arms resting at your sides and grasp the front edge of your chair, palms facing the floor.
- Scoot yourself forward a couple inches, until your butt is hovering above the floor and you are supporting yourself with your hands.
- Bend your elbows back into a 90-degree angle, lowering your butt as you do so.
- Pull yourself back up into the original position and repeat for two sets of 10 reps each.
2. Overhead Triceps Extensions
Ideal for taking care of both the lateral and long sections of your triceps, the Overhead Extension is a must for anyone trying to build up muscle mass in their arms.
- Find a chair with a supportive back and take a seat.
- Grasping a dumbbell with both hands and your feet flat on the floor, raise the weight above and behind your head, so that your upper arms reach upwards, but your forearms are parallel to the ground.
- Straighten and extend your arms to hold the dumbbell over your head, and then lower your arms back down.
- Repeat 20 times.
3. Closed-Grip Bench Press
The closed-grip bench press significantly builds not only the triceps; it also strengthens the biceps and pectoral muscles.
- Lie down and extend your arms up to grasp the barbell.
- Keeping your hands no more than a foot apart and your elbows tight to your sides, lift the barbell off its support and lower it down towards your lower chest/upper abdomen.
- Just before the weight reaches your chest, extend your arms back out and repeat for two sets of 10 reps each.
4. Clapping Push-Ups
To build even muscle mass in both of your triceps, it is best to incorporate a number of varying workouts to your otherwise daily routine. Trying out oddball exercises, such as clapping pushups, will ensure that you aren’t neglecting any parts of the muscle.
- Get in typical push-up position, with your palms flat on the floor and your body forming a straight line (no butts sticking out!).
- Bend your elbows to lower yourself into the push-up, and then, when you are about to lift back up, push off with your hands and try to clap them together, so that your arms form a diamond shape, before dropping your hands back to the ground to support your body.
5. Reverse Triceps Extensions
This exercise focuses on one arm at a time, and you’ll have to hit the gym to incorporate it into your routine, but it will be well worth the 10-minute drive. At the gym, find the cable extension and set it to its highest setting.
- Keeping your left arm by your side, grab the cable with your right hand.
- You should also be keeping your right upper arm down and next to you – in fact, it shouldn’t move at all.
- Begin with your elbow bent at a 90-degree angle, holding the cable, and then straighten your elbow, extending your arm downward and pulling the cable with it.
- Hold for a second and then bend your elbow again, repeating for two sets of 15 reps each.
6. French Press
Also known as skull-crushers, the French press works primarily on the long and medial heads of the triceps, and is important if you want to build lean muscle for evenly buff arms.
- Find a spotter, lie down on a bench and extend your arms straight up to grab the barbell from above you.
- Keeping your upper arms and shoulders stationary, bend your elbows and lower the barbell until it is just above your face.
- Straighten your elbows and repeat for three sets of five reps each.
7. Tricep Kickbacks
The concept of cluster training is basically to isolate the part of the body that you are working on. In this case, that’s the triceps, and the cluster training works through increased intensity with tricep kickbacks. Although the triceps are rather difficult to isolate because of their interaction with the core, shoulders, and back muscles, it is still possible to shock the triceps. The concept of “shocking” is most often used in bodybuilding, wherein someone is trying to bulk up in one specific part of their body. To achieve that sexy horseshoe curve in your upper arms, you must focus on the lateral head of the triceps and how it interacts with the other two heads. To do so, significantly increase the weight that you use in your triceps training, but add a 10-second break in between each rep.