Fitness

Body basic: Triceps

Author: Canadian Living

Fitness

Body basic: Triceps

If there's one part of your body that you don't want to jiggle, it's the back of your arms. And if you're like most women, you know what we're talking about.

The triceps – the muscle in the area under discussion – extends from the elbow to the underarm and is, for the majority of women, the weakest muscle in the upper body; it's also an area that many women consider to be one of their least attractive. You could cover your arms for the rest of your life, but that would mean you'd never wear a strapless dress or a cool sleeveless top.

Strong triceps make more than a fashion statement, though. You use your triceps every time you put heavy items on a shelf, push on the arms of a chair to stand up, or roll over and push yourself up to get out of bed. When you exercise your triceps, you also improve your overall performance in sports that rely on arm movements – such as skiing, snowboarding and racquet sports – and activities such as shovelling snow.

If your triceps muscles are weak, the nearby joints (in this case, the elbow and shoulder) may sustain excessive stress or impact, which can lead to injury.

To strengthen and tone the triceps, you need to perform weight-bearing exercises: one of the best ways to do this is to use your own body as the weight you're working against. An additional benefit: you'll maintain – or even increase – bone density, which helps reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

So try for strong tris. You have nothing to lose – except, perhaps, the jiggle.

Sitting triceps dip
1. Sit tall on the edge of a chair or bench with your hands positioned beside your hips and your fingers hanging over the front of the chair or the sides (as shown). Maintain an erect posture, ensuring that your ears, shoulders and hips align vertically with one another. Push down on the bench or chair with the heels of your hands and slide your hips off the front of the bench.

2. Slowly lower your hips toward the floor, keeping your elbows pointing straight behind you, until the backs of your arms are as parallel to the floor as possible; pause for two or three seconds.

3. Use your arms to lift your hips to the starting position; pause for two or three seconds. Perform the exercise slowly and keep your shoulders pulled back, your chest lifted slightly and your abdominals pulled in.

Repetitions and sets
Begin with 10 repetitions and gradually increase to three sets of 10 (30 repetitions in total). If necessary, take a 30- to 60-second break between each set. As you increase the repetitions, you'll also increase your endurance and strength.

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Fitness

Body basic: Triceps

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