Tips and Advice for Exercising the Triceps and Upper Arms

Knowing the right tips and tricks can help you develop killer triceps.
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If you’re tired of upper-arm jiggle, you don’t have to surrender to a lifetime of long-sleeved shirts. By incorporating the right triceps moves into a healthy lifestyle, you can say good-bye to the “batwing” for good. Along with a balanced diet and cardio exercise, you can sculpt the kind of tight, shapely upper arms you’ve always wanted by following a few tips and using a little wisdom.

Know Your Triceps

As the main muscles on the back of your upper arms, your triceps let you perform everyday moves that involve flexing or extending your elbow. They run from just below the shoulder to just above the elbow and, without them, it would be virtually impossible to lift your kids (or shopping bags), reach for the mail or perform almost any part of your workout routine. But the good news is that strong triceps are more durable and less prone to injury. Strengthening them is a great way to keep them healthy and functional for daily life.

Know the Equipment

Whether you have a gym membership or home workout equipment, you can get an effective triceps workout. At the gym, you’ll have access to a few machines, including the cable machine and seated triceps pushdown machine, both of which can give your triceps a burn. Among the free weights, dumbbells are highly effective. You can pick up a single dumbbell for overhead extensions or use a pair for triceps kickbacks. With nothing more than a weight bench you can treat your upper arms to a set or two of bench dips.

Keep Good Form

If you want to get results from your workout, you have to use good form. Cheating is one of the easiest ways to waste a workout, and it can also put you at risk for injury. When working your triceps, make sure you complete each move to its full range of motion and resist the urge to shorten the move when you get tired. If you can’t complete the set, either choose a lighter weight or get help from a spotter. For most of the exercises, you’ll also need to keep an eye on your elbows and make sure they don’t sway outward. Keeping them in line and closer to your body helps isolate the triceps and gives you a better workout.

Take Your Time

Normally momentum is a good thing when you’re working out, but it’s not going to help you in your triceps workout. If you use momentum to swing the weights while you’re lifting, you’ll rob your muscles of the chance to work their hardest by shifting the burden to the ligaments and tendons. And according to, this not only diminishes the effect of the workout, it also increases your risk for injury by overtaxing the ligaments and tendons. Remember, it’s not a race; it’s a workout. Take your time and do it right.

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