Everyone wants strong, toned arms, but many of us have some arm jiggle or flab that keeps moving when we wave goodbye. If you find yourself constantly trying to cover up your arms or avoiding short sleeves in the summertime, we’ve got the solution: the tricep toning exercises in this article. Triceps consistently rank among the top five body parts women want to tone the most, and for good reason—they’re essential for upper body strength and help your arms achieve the strong, toned appearance you want. Let’s learn why tricep strength matters, discover how to tone your triceps, and then get into four basic bodyweight exercises to tone your triceps.
Why Tricep Strength Is Important
The tricep is a three-part muscle on the back of the upper arm. Strong tricep muscles not only look great, but having upper body strength in general is important to your health. Not only does adding muscle help boost your metabolism, but upper body strength helps you carry out basic functions like lifting, pulling, pushing, and carrying—functions you don’t want to lose your ability to do as you age. Here are a few key reasons to strength train your triceps today:
- Strong triceps help with shoulder stability and improve your range of motion
- Your triceps are involved with virtually any “pushing” movement. You’ll be able to perform daily movements and exercises involving pushing with better force.
- Strong triceps help keep your joints healthy, particularly your elbow joint
Related: 15-Minute Tricep Toning Workout
How To Tone Your Triceps
As stated above, your triceps are made up of three parts or “heads:” the long head, the medial head, and the short head. To effectively strengthen your triceps, you need exercises that will work all of these heads, which is why doing different exercises for your triceps is so crucial. The four exercises listed at the end of this article are some of our favorite bodyweight moves for your tris, but you should always be mixing things up and performing different triceps exercises to work all parts of the muscle.
In addition to making sure you work all parts of the triceps, you also need to adopt other lifestyle habits if you want to replace flabby arms with strong, toned ones. Spot reducing is a myth—if you’re carrying extra weight anywhere, you can’t specifically lose weight from that spot by doing tricep exercises. You have to lose weight all over through the changes listed below and then do tricep-toning exercises to target that muscle group.
1. Eat Clean
What does clean eating mean, exactly? Eating a balanced diet that consists primarily of vegetables, fruits, protein, healthy fats, and grains, and skipping on packaged foods or ones overloaded with excess sugar, sodium, or fat. It means eating portions that aren’t out-of-control, and food that isn’t manufactured in a factory or lab. To sum it up best, Michael Pollan describes how to eat healthy by saying “Eat real food. Mostly plants. Not too much.” If you want to learn more about the basics of clean eating, check out our Get Started With Clean Eating Guide.
2. Add Regular Cardiovascular Exercise
Consistent cardiovascular exercise helps you lose extra body fat and uncover those beautiful muscles underneath that we’re working to tone. The CDC recommends at least 150 minutes of heart-pumping cardio exercise per week, and you can divide that up however you like. Do a 30-minute cardio workout five days a week, or a 50-minute workout three days a week. You can do shorter workouts, too, because any amount counts towards your weekly goal. Get your cardio in by running, walking, jogging, cycling, dancing, or anything else that gets your heart rate up.
3. Strength Train Your Triceps
Remember how we said you couldn’t spot-reduce body fat? That is true. But you can spot-tone or spot-train, meaning specifically training certain muscle groups. Once you’ve lost any extra weight you’re carrying through diet and exercise, you can focus on toning the triceps with targeted exercises. Of course, we’re a fan of strength training the entire body, so get in a few full-body strength sessions each week, too! The more muscle you have on your body, the faster your metabolism works in general. So don’t be afraid to get strong all over while you tackle those triceps, too!
Why Bodyweight Exercise Is A Great Option
There are dozens of exercises you can do for your triceps, but we love doing bodyweight arm exercises in particular for a few reasons.
- They can be done anywhere, at any time. No equipment or set-up means they’re super easy to fit in during your busy day
- Bodyweight exercise works. While we love using dumbbells and other equipment, using the weight of your own body gives you a great challenge.
- Bodyweight exercises are easy to modify.
Using dumbbells to train your triceps is wonderful, and we’ve got tons of weighted arm workouts for you to try, too (like this tricep toning workout). But for now, read on to get the four best bodyweight exercises to train your triceps!
4 Bodyweight Exercises For The Triceps
Now that you’ve learned all about why tricep strength matters, how to get toned triceps, and why bodyweight moves are especially important, let’s get down to business! While we could list countless exercises you can do for your triceps, the four bodyweight moves below are some of the best around to give you the toned, strong triceps you’ve been wanting. They require zero equipment—just a little space and a few minutes of your time.
A) Begin in a kneeling plank position with arms directly below shoulders and body in a straight line back to knees.
B) Lower chest 2 inches from the floor, keeping elbows close to your side. Exhale and slowly push back to start position. Of course, if you feel stronger and can keep proper form, try these without your knees.
Perform 10-15 repetitions
2. Tricep Dip
A) Start seated with knees bent and feet on the floor. Place hands behind you, directly under the shoulders, with fingers facing your hips. Lift hips to a hover.
B) Bend elbow straight back and use your triceps to press back up.
Perform 10-15 Repetitions.
A) Lie down on one side, stacking your shoulders, hips, and feet. Bring top hand to the mat directly in front of your bottom shoulder. The bottom hand will be wrapped around your waist below your chest.
B) The top arm does all the work as you press yourself up and lower yourself to the mat to your starting position. You will feel the tricep muscles on the back of the top arm working.
Perform 10-15 Repetitions. Repeat on the other side.
A) Begin in a plank position with your shoulders over your wrists, your feet together, and your body in a straight line.
B) Bend your left arm so that it is now in forearm plank position
C) Then bend your right arm so you are in a full forearm plank position.
D) Lift your left hand and place it on the mat directly below your shoulder as you push through your palm to lift yourself.
E) As you reach the top, place your right palm on the floor under your right shoulder and push back into a full plank. Repeat, leading with the right arm.
Perform 4-5 repetitions per arm.
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