Targeting the back of the arms with weight machines is an effective method of reducing underarm flab. Known as the triceps, this muscle group comprises three heads whose insertion points vary but meet to attach at the elbow. By combining exercises that focus on each muscle area, the back of the arms will begin to take shape.
Overhead Cable Press
The long head of the triceps is activated when the arms are stretched overhead. Target this muscle by placing a bench in front of a cable machine with a straight bar attached. While holding the bar, lie on your back with your head closest to the machine and raise your arms straight overhead. Keeping the elbows turned in and lifted, bend your arms and lower your wrists to your forehead. Engage the core as you straighten your arms to the start position for one full repetition. Continue for 10 to 15 repetitions.
Seated Arm Press
The seated arm press can usually be found with the full-body circuit machines and engages the medial triceps head. Adjust the seat height so the elbows, shoulders, and wrists form a 90-degree angle when sitting. As you press down to straighten the arms, focus on contracting the triceps as much as possible. By controlling the return motion you are able to work the muscle in both directions. Perform 10 to 15 repetitions.
Rope Cable Press-Downs
Stand in front of a cable machine with the rope attachment in hand. Press your elbows into your sides with your wrists in line and lean your body slightly forward. As you press the rope down, think about bringing your wrists as far away from each other as possible while maintaining the elbow location. Extend the arm fully before returning to the L-shaped start position. This outward motion is an effective way of targeting the lateral head of the triceps. Perform 10 to 15 repetitions.
Finishing a weight machine triceps workout with a few body-weight movements will further sculpt the triceps with the added benefit of a core workout. Exercises such as dips, planks and triceps pushups work the arms and abdominals. Dips can be performed on the side of a bench or a chair, while planks and close-arm pushups only require a mat. Add variety to a plank position by tapping one or both knees on the floor. Repeat these movements until total muscle fatigue is achieved.
Vicki Vara has been a fitness professional for more than 15 years, working in health clubs, studios and schools. She is certified as a personal trainer, group fitness instructor, holistic nutrition consultant and Pilates instructor. Vara holds a bachelor's degree in exercise science from the University of Delaware.