Many people mistakenly believe that doing arms curls is the answer. The truth of the matter is, your triceps make up about 2/3 of your arm size. Whether your goal is to have bigger, more muscular arms or you want firmer, sleeker arms for those sleeveless outfits, you need to make tricep exercises a priority.

As a personal trainer, one of the biggest complaints I hear from my clients is with the excessive amount of loose flesh hanging from the backs of their arms. This condition is sometimes referred to as “arm waddle”.

What Causes “Arm Waddle”?

As you grow older, you naturally lose muscle mass (unless you perform weight training exercises). This loss of muscle has been given a name. It is known as Sarcopenia. The bad thing is, this loss of muscle means your body requires less and less calories to sustain itself.

Unfortunately, few people decrease the amount they eat. It’s been proven that the amount of food that each person consumes is on the rise. So, now our body has less muscle, requires less calories, yet we eat more. What’s the outcome?

That’s right, we get fatter. The combination of muscle loss with fat gain results in “arm waddle”.

What Can You Do To Reverse “Arm Waddle”?

The most effective solution to “arm waddle” is…

Reduce your body fat and increase muscle mass.

I know. It’s not all that astounding. Very simply, the best way to decrease your body fat is to follow a sound
nutrition program and the best way to increase muscle mass is to follow a simple and effective weight training program which includes triceps exercises.

Here are three of my favorite triceps exercises for firming up those lagging upper arms.

Exercise 1:

Best Tricep Exercises Pick #1: Close-Grip Dumbbell Chest Press

women presses dumbells for triceps and chest

You’re right. It says “chest” press, not triceps press. That’s because this exercise is performed by pressing the weight over the chest area. So, in addition to being an effective triceps exercise, it makes a very effective chest exercise.

The Set-Up

  • Begin by sitting upright with dumbbells resting on your thighs.
  • Lay back on the bench or the floor with feet flat on the floor.
  • At the same time as you lay back, keep your elbows in close to your body with the arm bent at about 90 degrees.
  • The forearm should be vertical, pointing straight up and the upper arm should be parallel to the floor.
  • Hold the dumbbells with your palms facing each other.

Performing The Movement

  1. Press the dumbbells up towards the ceiling.
  2. Ensure that the forearms remain completely vertical as you press the dumbbells up.
  3. Extend the arms fully, ensuring complete contraction of the triceps muscles.
  4. Pause briefly at the top before lowering the weight.
  5. Begin lowering the weight by bending the elbow and lowering the elbow towards the floor until your upper arms are parallel with the floor.
  6. Make sure that the forearm stays vertical to the ceiling. Don’t let the dumbbells drift back over the head or down towards the feet. They should stay just above the chest.

Performance Tips

As with all exercises, you should breathe in as you lower the weight and breathe out as you raise the weight.

Exercise 2:

Best Tricep Exercises Pick #2: Bench Dips

bench dips for arms

  • Sit on the edge of a chair or bench with legs together.
  • Place your hands flat on the chair or bench, fingers pointing forward. Your thumbs should be touching the side of your leg.
  • Press down on your hands to lift your body off the chair or bench.
  • Shuffle your feet forward until your body clears the bench.

Performing The Movement

  1. Bend your elbows and lower your body towards the floor.
  2. Inhale through the nose as you lower your body.
  3. Stop lowering your body when you feel a stretch in the shoulder area.
  4. Press your body back up by straightening your arms.
  5. Exhale during the ascent.

Performance Tips

You can make this exercise more difficult by straightening your legs out in front of you or by placing your feet up on a raised surface.

Exercise 3:

Best Tricep Exercises Pick #3: Parallel Bar Dips

Parallel Bar Dips triceps

  • Find parallel bars that are slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
  • Stand on a bench or platform that allows you to move into the starting position of arms locked out.
  • Grasp the bars with palms facing in towards each other.
  • Lock your elbows in the extended position.
  • Bend your knees, lifting your feet off the platform.
  • Inhale fully before descending.

Performing The Movement

  1. Lower your body towards the floor.
  2. Keep your elbows in tight to the body.
  3. Stop lowering your body when your upper arm is parallel to the floor.
  4. Press your body back up to the starting position (arms locked out).
  5. Exhale as you move back up.

Performance Tips

  • Never bounce at the bottom position. This can greatly stress the shoulder joints.
  • Do not a swing your legs during the exercise.
  • Keep your head level and eyes looking straight ahead. Do not tilt head back or let it slump forward.

How To Use These Triceps Exercises

Perform these exercises as part of a complete weight training program. A general guideline is to do 2-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions. Once you are able to perform 3 sets of 12 repetitions easily, find ways to make the movement more challenging such as attaching weight to a weight belt around your waist.

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