Whether you want to build svelte, slender arms or sleeve-busting guns, training your triceps is important. They make up roughly two-thirds of your arm muscles, so neglect your triceps at your peril. What many people don't realize is that weight training actually burns calories -- a vital factor in losing weight and body fat. Stepping up the calorie burn in your triceps workout can accelerate your fat loss while adding lean muscle.
Calories in Weightlifting
The number of calories you burn in a workout is highly dependent on your body-weight and activity levels. According to Harvard Medical School, however, 30-minutes of general weightlifting burns between 90 and 133 calories, depending on your body-weight, while the same amount of vigorous weightlifting torches 180 to 266 calories. The key here is intensity -- the harder you work, the more calories you burn, so hit those tris hard.
Isolation Triceps Exercises
Isolation exercises are any movement that only work one joint and one muscle group. Example of triceps isolations include push-downs using a cable machine or resistance band, dumbbell kickbacks, lying dumbbell or barbell extensions and cable or dumbbell kickbacks. As isolations only focus on one muscle, while they're great for really hammering your triceps, they don't burn too many calories, as the effort required to perform them is relatively small.
Compound Triceps Exercises
Compound exercises are where you can really rack up the calorie count. Compound exercises work multiple muscles and joints at the same time, so burn more calories, claims trainer Rachel Cosgrove, co-founder of Results Fitness in California. Compound triceps exercises include dips on parallel bars or a dip assistance machine, close-grip pushups, bench presses and floor presses, where you lie on the floor and press dumbbells or a barbell above your chest.
Include both compounds and isolations in your triceps workout, but make compounds your priority. Performing triceps work with another body part such as your chest or back will increase your calorie burn in a session. To burn even more calories, perform triceps supersets. These involve performing one exercise, then immediately going to the next, with no rest in between. Supersets burn more calories than traditional straight sets weight training and take less time too, states personal trainer Rachel Crocker in "Oxygen Magazine." Try dips superset with push-downs or close-grip presses with kickbacks. Alternatively superset triceps with biceps to get the most from both muscle groups.
Mike Samuels started writing for his own fitness website and local publications in 2008. He graduated from Peter Symonds College in the UK with A Levels in law, business and sports science, and is a fully qualified personal trainer, sports massage therapist and corrective exercise specialist with accreditations from Premier Global International.