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Great Tank Top Arms

Updated on June 18, 2007


Get rid of that flab and turn those underarms into beautifully sculpted triceps!

Why Should You Work Your Triceps?

If you're working your biceps, you shouldn't neglect the other side of your arm. Muscle imbalances can cause pain and injuries. Also, your triceps work hard all day long--anytime you push something, your triceps are working so, the stronger they are, the easier these pushing exercise will be. Your triceps muscles are fairly small, so keep in mind that you will not be able to use as much weight as you can for your chest or your back.

Often Should You Train Your Triceps?

Like all muscles in your body, you can perform tricep exercises up to three non-consecutive days a week.

If you're lifting heavy weights, (enough that you can only complete 6-8 repetitions) you'll need at least two days of rest before you perform the exercise again. For this reason, you may only work your triceps once or twice a week. If you're goal is endurance and strength, stick with one to three sets of 12-16 repetitions and at least one day of rest before you perform the exercises again. Keep in mind that you will use your triceps when performing chest and back exercises as well.

What Exercises Should You Do?

Most tricep are called 'pushing' exercises and generally involve extending your elbow as in kickbacks. You can do tricep exercises with any type of resistance--dumbbells, barbell, resistance bands, cables or a machine. Check out these Tricep Exercises for sample tricep moves you can try on your own.

Exercises for Your Triceps

The following exercises show examples of exercises that target the triceps, the muscles on the back of the arms.

  • Beginners: Choose 1 - 2 exercises, 1 set of 12 - 16 reps
  • Intermediate-Advanced/Muscle Building: 3 - 5 exercises, 3 or more sets of 6 - 8 reps
  • Intermediate-Advanced/Muscle Endurance: 2 - 3 exercises, 2-3 sets of 10 - 16 reps
  • Use enough weight that you can ONLY complete the desired number of sets


Hold weights in hands and bend over parallel to the floor, abs engaged. Bend elbows and pull them even with back. Straighten arms behind you, squeezing the triceps and slowly lower back down.

Tricep Press (a.k.a. Skull Crushers)

Lie on a bench and hold a light barbell with hands shoulder-width apart, palms out. Bend elbows to 90 degrees, lowering the weight towards the head. Squeeze the triceps to push back to start. You can also do this with dumbbells keeping the palms facing each other.

Close-Grip Bench Press

Lie on a bench and hold a barbell with a narrow grip, palms facing out. Lower the weight down towards the ribcage, bringing the elbows below the body. Squeeze the triceps to push the weight back up.

Close-Grip Pushups

To target the triceps, perform pushups with the hands close together and next to the chest. You can also do this on the ball or with one arm as shown.


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