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Whether you refer to them as tuck-shop arms, bingo wings or bat wings… saggy, flabby upper arms is a common body complaint I hear.
In today’s training show I’m sharing my Top 3 Triceps Exercises AND ALSO 3 considerations you need to account for beyond: How To Tone Your Triceps.
It’s easy to get excited about the exercises when you’ve got a certain problem area right?
However, as fun as these 3 are – building the sexy lean muscle that makes up your triceps is just ONE piece of the puzzle.
In the same way that you can be rockin a six pack – that’s hidden by stubborn fat… your triceps are only going to look all lovely, lean and toned if they’re not sitting under a pile of fat.
So the basics ring true.
Here are 4 Bat-Wing-Free-Zone considerations to account for:
One: For your absolute highest bang-for-your-fat-burning-buck work-out prioritise Metabolic Resistance Style Training. I covered MRT in the 009 show, however basically it’s lifting heavy weights – and body weight – in big compound movements, circuit style with minimal rest so that you really get your heart rate up and that bonus cardio effect in additional to all the benefits of lifting heavy weights.
The key with MRT is it’ll leave your metabolic rate elevated – burning more FAT – for hours after you finish training.
Two: Swap low-moderate intensity cardio for high intensity interval training… for exactly the reason that you’re prioritising MRT. It’s going to leave you with an elevated metabolic rate long after you finish your short, intense session.
The other awesome thing with HIIT is it won’t leave you struggling against the crazy-carb-over-refuel in the way that moderate cardio will.
Three: Move more. I often harp back to the notion of modelling success… and if you think about all the Yes perhaps cruel stereotypes of the tuck-shop or bingo arms… one of the things in common is a super sedentary lifestyle.
In fact, super sedentary will likely deliver a whole lot more than the unwelcome saggy, flabby triceps and luckily the reverse is true too.
Look at the people who just move more. Perhaps they walk to work, have a stand-up desk, get active on the weekend – whatever it is they just MOVE MORE… it really is a necessary component of staying leaner all over… and staying leaner all over is a necessary component to not having saggy, flabby triceps.
Four: Eat Clean. No surprise here either right? No amount of tricep toning exercises will make up for a bad diet. In a sentence to eat clean is to prioritise One Ingredient Foods. I cover one ingredient fat burning foods in the #002 show.
It’s fuel like: meat, fish, eggs, veggies, fruit, nuts, seeds and oil.
So now we’ve covered the basics let’s move on to my Top 3 Tricep Exercises:
1. Tricep Medicine Ball Dip.
Any dip variation is great for the back of your arms.
The considerations: Have your hands close to your hips – like right next to them as narrow as you can. Keep your elbows in close to your ribs – nice and narrow. Keep your butt close to the bench as you lower yourself down to top of your arms parallel to the ground.
When your butt creeps away your legs are cheating and taking on more work rather than your triceps.
The progressions: Start with just the bench and your knees at 90 degrees and move your legs straighter as you get stronger.
When you’re good with 12 of so repitions for 3 sets with straight legs throw in a medicine ball to take it up a notch.
Keep your hands the same on the bench and balance your heels on the ball with your legs almost straight.
It’s tough to start however you’ll progress fairly quickly and then it’ll remain doable yet nice and working!
2. Snatch To Eccentric Shoulder Press.
So yes, I’m cheating as this is just as much a shoulder and a core exercise however that’s why it’s number 2 – it’s super high value – it’ll get your heart rate up too.
The considerations: Focus on your core first, your need to be able to maintain neutral spine with this one, no rounded back or lazy movements for even a nano second. So it’s a snatch up to the top point of the shoulder press where you then do a slow eccentric lower for that shoulder press.
The progressions: I like a low repetition range (like 6) and as heavy a weight as I can lift (like 12.5 kilos)… however start light and safe until you feel super engaged through your core and nice and stable through your shoulder up that top part of the movement.
3. Cable Overhead Tricep Extension.
There are plenty of tricep extension variations using either a rope, bar or dumbbell. I’m liking this one at the moment as it also requires a lot of core engagement to keep you nice and stable.
The considerations: Set a cable to either a height above your head or (for even more emphasis on the long head of your triceps) to around lower back height with the rope attachment. Take hold of the rope attachment with your back to the machine and take a step away. Through-out the extension movement you want to keep your elbows high and narrow, your core engaged and your back straight.
The progressions: If this sounds confusing (in the audio format!) another simple and still effective exercise is to perform a tricep extension standing facing the machine with either a bar or rope attachment. The movement is from a starting position of elbows at 90 degrees – and in close to your ribs – to a full tricep extension down to straight arms.
Some final considerations…
Yes, there are kick-backs and close grip push ups and skull-crushers however to be honest these exercises make my work-outs only once in a blue moon. I choose my top 2-3 exercises at any given time and then feel confident that my triceps will also get a whole lot of work in some other super high value big, compound movements.
The type of movements that provide a whole lot more fat blasting benefit than a little kick-back might.
Some of my favourites include: Standing shoulder press’s, Push up Variations – especially walk-outs, and Dumbbell press’s.
Once you choose a couple of quality exercises from there you can let preferences play a roll.
=> For example a close grip push up is an awesome unsupported compound movement – however I find them UNfun. Equally a DB press is a fairly supported movement – however I find them SUPERfun.
Unless you’re looking to take to the stage and compete you really don’t need 12 specific exercises to isolate your triceps.
Take a couple of quality exercises – perform them well with great from and a heavy weight and spend the rest of your energy on the 4 Bat-Wing-Free-Zone considerations we started today with.
To make today actionable I here’s a link for you to one of my favourite triceps and shoulder work-outs.
That’s it for me today, big thanks to you for spending this time with me and I hope you can join me tomorrow for the Friday FAQ show where I cover, How Do I Break Through My Weight Loss Plateau?
If you liked this you’ll also like: Exercises To Tone Hips and Thighs
If you’re yet to share the Healthification love – just click here to zip over to iTunes and leave an honest rating and review. It’d help me out big time. With gratitude, Kate.