Batwing arms. Arm jiggle. Arm flab.
Whatever you want to call it, if I got a pound for every time I got asked how to tone the back of the arms I’d be one rich woman!
If you are tired of waving your arms in the air and seeing your underarms jiggle in all directions your in the right place.
When it comes to toned arms it’s a combination of a healthy diet and doing cardio & strength training.
Today, I’m just going to focus on the exercise side of things. It isn’t just about your rep ranges, sets, intensity, and programming. It’s about choosing the right exercises to maximise muscle tone and condition.
First a mini anatomy lesson.
There are 3 main heads of the triceps (hence the word tri) and you have to focus on all 3 in order to tighten and tone your arms to their full potential. The triceps account for over two-thirds of your overall upper arm so don’t neglect them.
The outer head and medial head of the triceps are often targeted with the same exercise, however, the long head is the area which needs more targeted focus. This is also the part of the triceps which sets your arms apart, giving them that overall tone, diamond shape, and fullness from all angles.
Here’s the exercises that will do just that:
Incline Dumbbell Skull Crushers
This is a perfect exercise to stimulate your long head tricep. You’ll also gain an extra stretch at the bottom with the isometric contraction, and the slight incline on the bench will allow you to gain a fuller range of motion. Focus on using a pause at the bottom of each rep to really maximise that stretch on the long head.
- Lie on a bench with a slight incline
- Holding two dumbbells directly above your shoulders
- Arms fully extended and form a 90-degree angle from your torso
- Palms of your hands should be facing forward, elbows tucked in
- Inhale, slowly lower the dumbbells until they are near your ears
- Always keep your upper arms stationary, elbows tucked in
- Exhale, use your triceps to return the weight to the start position
Close Push Ups
If you are new to this exercise and do not have the strength to perform it, you can either bend your legs at the knees to take off resistance or perform the exercise against the wall instead of the floor.
- Kneel on the floor
- Place your hands on the floor closer than shoulder width
- Extend your legs straight behind you and get into a plank position
- You are holding your torso up at arm’s length
- Lower yourself until chest almost touches the floor as you inhale
- Using triceps, press body back up to the start position and exhale
- Squeeze your chest at the top
Dumbbell Kick Backs
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand and palms facing torso
- Keep your back straight, slight bend in the knees
- Bend forward at the waist
- Your torso should be almost parallel to the floor
- Upper arms should be close to your torso and parallel to the floor
- Forearms pointed towards the floor as you hold the weights
- There should be 90-degrees between your forearm and upper arm (start position)
- While keeping your upper arms stationary, exhale and use your triceps to lift the weights until the arm is fully extended
- Always focus on moving the forearm
- Pause at the top contraction, inhale and slowly lower the dumbbells back down
A couple of variations for you …
This exercise can be executed one arm at a time. Also, if you like the one arm variety, you can use a cable with a low pulley handle instead of a dumbbell for better peak contraction. In this case, the palms should be facing up (supinated grip) as opposed to the torso (neutral grip).
Weighted Narrow Grip Bench Dips
Weighted narrow grip dips are a great overall tricep exercise. With this exercise really focus on driving through your triceps rather than your shoulders.
- Place a bench behind your back and another one in front of you
- With the benches perpendicular to your body, hold on to one bench on its edge with the hands close to your body
- Your arms should be fully extended
- Legs will be extended forward on top of the other bench parallel to the floor while your torso is to be perpendicular to the floor
- Have your partner place the weight on your lap
- Lower your body as you inhale by bending at the elbows until you lower yourself far enough to where there is an angle slightly smaller than 90 degrees between the upper arm and the forearm
- Keep the elbows as close as possible throughout the movement
- Forearms should always be pointing down
- Using your triceps push your torso up again while exhaling and squeeze at the top
Have a play with these exercises, and be sure to let me know how you get on.
Any Q’s shoot me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next time have a super week.