There are potentially big benefits to having a strong upper body. In a 2012 New York Times article, Chicago-based personal trainer David Goldman stated that regularly exercising your triceps and arms can boost your metabolism in addition to giving your muscles a sleek, lean look. Of course, you’ll get the best results by combining triceps exercises with a full-body workout routine and a healthy eating plan that you develop with help from your doctor, who you should consult before beginning any new exercise regimen.
Chair dips may look easy, but they’re a great way to quickly feel the burn in your upper arms. Begin by sitting on the edge of a chair or bench, with hands on the end of the chair right outside your hips. Slide your butt off the chair, keeping your feet about hip-width apart. Straighten your arms, keeping elbows soft, and then slowly bend the elbows to lower your body. Stop when your elbows are bent at about 90 degrees. Slowly press back to straight arms, and repeat for 12 to 15 reps. For a tougher variation, keep your legs straight throughout the movement.
You can perform extensions while seated, on a bench or while standing. If you stand, keep a slight bend in your knees when you do the exercise. Hold one dumbbell in both hands, with wrists close together and the weight vertical rather than horizontal. Lift the weight above your head, keeping your biceps near your ears and your elbows pointing inward. Slowly bend your elbows to lower the weight behind your head, making sure to keep your elbows in, and then lift back to start. Do 10 to 20 reps and up to two sets.
In a study published in 2012 and sponsored by the American Council on Exercise, 15 women performed eight triceps exercises while researchers measured their muscle activity. In every woman, triangle push-ups showed the triceps working hardest. To do this push-up variation, place your hands together on the floor with thumbs and pointer fingers touching, forming the rough shape of a triangle. Align the rest of your body in push-up position, with a straight line from your heels to your hips to your shoulders and head. Slowly lower down, maintaining that straight line, and push up again to start. Continue performing push-ups until you can no longer keep proper form.
Toning the Triceps
It’s normal to have some excess fat on your upper arms, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that triceps exercises will banish it for good. As “Daily Telegraph” editor Tony Gallagher wrote in 2013, the best way to get rid of fat from any body area is through regular cardiovascular exercise and a healthy, lower-calorie diet — spot-reducing just isn’t possible. Before you begin any new workout or diet plan, get the go-ahead from your doctor.