MUSCLES IT WORKS
Triceps (Back of the Upper Arms)
HOW TO DO IT
Holding one dumbbell in each hand (or a body bar in both hands), stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Straighten your arms overhead so that your biceps (upper arms) are in line with your ears. If using a body bar, your hands should be slightly narrower than shoulder-width apart. Bend your elbows, allowing the dumbbells or body bar to drop behind your shoulders. Keeping your elbows tight to your ears, as much as you can, exhale and straighten your arms overhead. Inhale as you bend your elbows again.
SETS & REPS
Do 3 to 5 sets of 10 repetitions (reps).
Do 1 to 3 sets at 60 seconds per set.
WEIGHT OR RESISTANCE
5- to 12-lb dumbbells; 9- to 24-lb. body bar; or a resistance band (green or red). Most men will start at the upper end of the dumbbell range (or use a heavier body bar); most women will start at the lower end (less weight).
Dumbbells, body bar, or resistance band (green or red)
DON'T DO THIS MOVE IF
you have shoulder problems.
HOW TO KNOW IF YOU'RE DOING IT RIGHT
You should feel your triceps (the back of your upper arms) working during this exercise. To maintain correct form, make sure that the movement of your forearms is caused by the straightening and bending of your elbows only. Try not to shrug your shoulders as you start to feel tired, and try to keep your shoulders stationary throughout the movement. Focus on keeping your abs engaged (draw your belly muscles in) during this movement, especially because your arms are overhead, which puts your low back in a more vulnerable position if you don't engage your abs to help you.
HOW TO MAKE IT EASIER
If you feel discomfort or pain in your low back do the upright triceps extension while sitting on a bench or chair. If you have tight shoulders that limit your ability to get in position for this exercise, try the bent-over triceps extension or triceps dip instead.
HOW TO CHALLENGE YOURSELF OR PROGRESS
If you can do 2 additional repetitions per set or complete 60 seconds without getting tired, consider adding repetitions, time, and/or sets. For example, instead of doing 10 repetitions for 3 sets, try 15 repetitions for 3 sets. To increase intensity without changing sets or time, try adding weight or using a resistance band (red or green) instead. You can also increase the intensity by balancing on one foot or on an unstable surface, or by looping a resistance band around one end of the dumbbell while holding the other end of the band behind your back with your free hand. Exhale as you straighten your arm and extend the dumbbell overhead. Inhale as you bend your elbow again, keeping some tautness in the band at the bottom of the movement. Do one set on one side before repeating on the other arm.
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