Summer’s warm weather is quickly coming to an end, so on with the long sleeves and sweaters, right? That’s one way to cover up that flab on the back of our arms we call “bat wings.” However, let’s not forget that following fall comes winter. Winter brings holiday parties. Holiday parties bring cute little cocktail dresses…sleeveless dresses to be exact. And what better way to add a little WOW factor to your holiday garb than to rock your tight and toned arms! I know, I know. It seems far away now, but to banish the bat wings, we must put in the work NOW.
I think it’s high time we stop talking and start working on turning that flab into fab. I have the perfect exercises for you. Couple this workout with a healthy meal plan and a few HIIT cardio sessions per week, and you will shape and tighten your batwings into that sculpted triceps horseshoe. I call the result stallion arms. GIDDY UP!
Here are the exercises I recommend:
SKULL CRUSHERS: This is a great isolating exercise for the triceps. However, don’t take the name literally—no dropping the weight on your head, please!
To perform this exercise, you can either utilize a barbell or dumbbells. Lie flat on a bench or a mat on the floor. If using a barbell, place your hands approximately shoulder width apart. Make sure that your arms are straight in the air with the bar above your chest. Keeping your wrists straight, bend at the elbow bringing the weight down to the top of your forehead. Extend the weight back to the starting position and squeeze the triceps. If you use dumbbells, you will use a neutral grip (palms facing each other). Complete 3 sets of 15-20 reps
TRICEPS DIPS: This one always makes me think of a song I’m sure you know. I just change the lyrics slightly, “You put your hands behind your hips, when I dip, you dip, we dip!” Seriously though, do this:
Grab a flat bench. At home? Use a chair or table. Place each hand behind your hips and keep the booty close to the edge of the bench. If you are a beginner, bend your knees. Straighten your legs if you are more advanced. Bend at the elbows making the shape of a 90-degree angle with your arms. Then push through the heel of your hands to straighten back to the top and squeeze. Feeling a little frisky? Add some weight on top of your thighs. Complete 3 sets of 15-20 reps. For some variation, do 10 full reps and then 10 pulses at the bottom of the rep to really burn out the muscle!
KICKBACKS: This is another oldie but goodie. To really hit the triceps hard with this exercise, you have to pay close attention to your form. Here’s what to do:
Make sure you upper body is tipped forward at the hip so that your back is almost parallel to the ground. Knees should be slightly bent. Pop your booty up and out to give your lower back a little protection. Bring your elbow slightly higher than the hips—your arms should be at about a 90-degree angle. Extend the lower arm up to straighten the arm. Then release the weight back down to the starting position.
Okay, now for the important reminders. Don’t release the dumbbells all the way to the shoulders—keep tension on the triceps by returning to the 90-degree angle. On the arm extension, WATCH THOSE WRISTS! There’s a tendency to flick the wrists. If you want great looking wrists then go ahead. However, for our purposes, let’s focus on squeezing the triceps. Complete 3 sets of 15-20 reps. For some variation, do 10 full reps and then 10 top half pulses.
ROPE PRESS DOWNS: I can honestly say that these are a favorite amongst most my clients… NOT! This exercise is quite the stinger, especially as a finishing exercise.
Grab a rope handle and attach it to a cable pulley set to the top position. Stand tall, push your shoulders down and back, tighten your core and position your elbows at your waist. Start with your hands at chest level and extend your arms down to the sides of your thighs. Squeeze your triceps and then return to starting position. Make sure to keep your elbows stationary.
Want a fun burnout? Do a drop set. Start at a heavier weight and do as many reps as you can. Decrease the weight by 5 or 10 lbs and do as many as you can. Continue to drop the weight and perform reps until failure until you literally can’t straighten your arms all the way down. VOILA! Triceps are officially FRIED!
TURN AND BURN
These exercises are easily done individually in a straight set format. Or, better yet, do them as a giant set in the following order: skull crushers, dips, kickbacks then rope pull downs. Perform 3 rounds of that giant set, and you’re arms will be tingling…okay, more like ON FIRE! But, you’ll love me for it later!
LET’S DO IT
Look, just because we are getting older and Mother Nature is fighting us at every step, we don’t have to throw in the towel. As is true at any age, if you really want something, you have to fight for it! If you do, the results will come. Promise.
Next week, I’ll shift gears a bit and address the ever-frustrating HAIR THINNING! EEK.