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The triceps are a large muscle located on the back of the upper arm. Notoriously difficult to tone, triceps can appear flabby and formless if not regularly exercised. There are many different tricep workouts that can be done to help keep the back of arms looking sleek and add strength and flexibility to the entire arm.
It is important to practice good form whenever doing tricep workouts. Stretch before every workout, don't allow elbows to lock when extending arms, and be sure that the triceps are flexing and contracting with each repetition. This will help prevent injury and make sure that the triceps are getting the best workout possible.
Several triceps workouts use free weights to help build strength throughout the arms. To perform a tricep extension, grasp a free weight vertically with both hands, extend arms over head. Slowly lower the weight behind the head, keeping shoulders down and arms close to the body, until the elbows reach a 90 degree bend. Return to the starting position with arms over the head and repeat for an excellent workout. In a tricep kickback, stand with torso bending slightly forward and a free weight vertically in each hand. Tuck arms so that the free weights touch the shoulders, then extend arms back behind the body while keeping elbows in.
Great tricep workouts can also include a series of exercises called dips. Like reverse pushups, this maneuver works the muscles by using the weight of the body. To perform a basic tricep dip, sit on a weight bench or chair with hands under the hips, resting on the edge of the chair with fingers facing forward. Push off the chair with hips, allowing legs to walk out slightly. Bend elbows to 90 degrees, allowing hips to sink toward the ground while as much of the weight as possible is held by the arms. Use the arms to lift body back to the chair height and repeat.
In addition to dips and free weight exercises, good tricep workouts will also often include tricep pushups. Lying on one side, bend the knees and bring them slightly in front of the body. Rest the bottom hand on top of the waist, and rest the palm of the upper hand on the floor, fingers facing toward the head. Using only arm muscles, try to lift the body off the ground, balancing on the flattened palm. This move can be repeated, like a pushup, or held for anaerobic strength training.
While these tricep workouts can help strengthen the arms, many fitness experts believe that the whole body requires strength training combined with cardiovascular exercise in order to remain healthy. Many people, especially women, store fat on the triceps that prevents muscle tone from being evident. Combining tricep workouts with other strength moves and a regular cardio program can help burn fat and reveal wonderful muscle tone.