You may do a lot of lifting, ranging from grocery bags to stuffed briefcases. If you’re lugging around a baby, you may even qualify as an amateur weightlifter. When you carry objects or lift objects off the ground, you primarily use your biceps. The muscles in the back of your upper arms, or triceps, are used to extend your elbows. When you ignore your triceps, they can get flabby and start to jiggle around. Use various techniques, including weights and elastic bands, to tone your triceps and wear a bikini or a halter dress without shuddering.
Do Body-weight Exercises
Body-weight exercises to tone your triceps are convenient because you don’t need any equipment and you can pull them off in the office. For example, perform dips with a chair. Place a sturdy chair against the wall. Sit on the edge of the seat, putting your palms on the front of the seat. Step your feet out until your legs are straight. Slide your buttocks off the seat and dig your heels into the floor for support. Keep your elbows bent at right angles. Push yourself up until your arms are fully extended. At the peak position, push your hips up and contract your glutes. Perform 10 reps for three sets, working up to 15 reps as you grow stronger. Another body-weight exercise for the triceps is a pushup with a narrow grip. By changing your grip, you can blast your triceps. If you lack arm strength, modify the pushup position by placing your knees on the floor. Perform 10 reps, increasing the number to 15 as you build arm strength.
Use Light Weights
Use 2- to 5-pound dumbbells to strengthen the backs of your upper arms. For a triceps extension, lie supine with knees bent. Hold a weight in each hand. Bend your elbows and position each hand beside your head. Directing your elbows to the ceiling, slowly extend your arms vertically. Avoid locking your elbows. Hold at the peak position, and then slowly lower the weights to starting position. For a second exercise, stand beside a chair, staggering your feet and placing your left hand on the seat. Hold a dumbbell in your right hand. Lean forward at the waist. While keeping your right elbow still, extend your arm straight behind you. Hold the peak position, and then bend your elbow to return the weight to starting position. For each exercise, perform three sets of 12 to 15 reps, three times weekly.
Perform Yoga Poses
If you’re not strong enough to perform a handstand, try the next best exercise for the triceps -- locust pose. Lie supine with your arms by your sides with palms up. Rest your forehead against the floor. Tighten your glutes and turn your big toes inward to rotate your thighs. On the exhalation, raise your upper body, head, legs and arms off the ground. Keep your legs together and arms parallel to the ground. Avoid sticking your chin out or shrinking the back of your neck. Hold the pose for 30 seconds to a minute. Exhale and release the position, returning to starting position. Perform two to three reps.
Work with Resistance Bands
If you perform upper-arm exercises with an elastic band, you benefit from constant resistance over the entire range of motion. For your triceps, a horizontal pull with a band will tone them. Stand erect with feet hip-width apart. Hold the band with hands shoulder-width apart, wrapping the excess parts of the bands around each hand. Maintain your arm position at chest height and slightly bend your elbows. Exhale and pull the band horizontally to your sides, squeezing your shoulder blades. Hold the peak position for a few seconds, and then return to starting position. Perform five to 10 reps.
- Working Mother: Firm Up Your Arms; Deborah A. Wilburn
- ShapeWalking: Six Easy Steps to Your Best Body; Marilyn L. Bach, et al.
- Yoga Journal: Locust Pose
- FallProof: A Comprehensive Balance and Mobility Training Program; Debra J. Rose
- The Firm Upper Arms Book: Firming Up, Burning Off, Slimming Down; Jan Aaron
Kay Tang is a journalist who has been writing since 1990. She previously covered developments in theater for the "Dramatists Guild Quarterly." Tang graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in economics and political science from Yale University and completed a Master of Professional Studies in interactive telecommunications at New York University.