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Strengthen the triceps

This is an excerpt from Fitness by Nancy Naternicola.


The triceps muscle is located at the back of the arm and is used not only to straighten the arm but also to keep the elbow from moving when performing fine movements of the forearm, such as writing. The triceps muscle is also involved in pushing actions, as in opening doors. In addition, the triceps works with other muscles to extend the arm at the shoulder joint, as when holding something behind the back. Following are exercises that strengthen the triceps.

Figure 5.27 Triceps Extension

Note: You can perform this exercise seated or standing.


  1. Position the feet together and keep your eyes looking forward, not down.
  2. Grasp a dumbbell with both hands and lift it overhead with your arms straight but not locked.
  3. Pull the navel toward the spine and relax the shoulders back and down.


  1. Keeping the elbows close to your ears, inhale and slowly lower the weight behind your head until your upper arms are perpendicular to the floor.
  2. Exhale and slowly lift the weight to the starting position.
  3. Keep elbows pointing upward throughout the entire movement.


Back arches and hips rotate forward.


Stagger the feet; tighten the core and glutes.

Figure 5.28 Machine Arm Extension

  1. Sit in the machine with your feet flat on the floor and back and head against the padded support.
  2. Place your elbows slightly below the shoulders on the padded support shoulder-width apart (adjust seat accordingly).
  3. Grasp the handles and make sure your elbows are aligned with the pivot point of the machine (axis).
  4. Pull your navel toward your spine and relax the shoulders back and down.


  1. Exhale and slowly extend your arms until straight but not locked.
  2. Keep your back and head against the pad and wrists straight.
  3. Inhale and slowly return to the starting position.


Elbows lift off the pad.


Push elbows down throughout the movement.


Shoulders rise during the downward phase of the movement.


Keep the shoulders back and down throughout the movement.

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