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Exercise Your Right to Bare Arms With These At-Home Triceps Exercises

Sculpted arms might be a gym rat's calling card, but you don't need a loaded barbell or fancy equipment to get strong, impressive-looking triceps. You can get a killer triceps workout at home with the following exercises, which will help you achieve the upper-arm definition you've always wanted.

Brief Article Synopsis

1. Overhead Triceps Extension

Sit on a bench or chair, cupping one end of a dumbbell in both hands directly overhead. This is the starting position. Keeping your chest up, core engaged, and back straight, lower the weight behind your head without moving your upper arms. Pause, and then press the weight back up to the starting position.

2. Plank Push-Up

Assume a forearm plank position: forearms, palms, and the balls of your feet on the floor, body straight from head to heels. Keeping your core engaged, place your right palm flat on the floor below your right shoulder. Now place your left palm on the floor below your left shoulder as you push up to the high plank position (arms straight). Lower yourself back to the starting position, starting with your right arm. Repeat, this time initiating both phases (up and down) of the movement with your left arm. Continue alternating back and forth.

3. Triceps Kick Back

Stand holding a pair of dumbbells in front of your shoulders (palms facing inward) with your elbows tucked. Step one foot back, and bend your knees slightly. Hinge forward at your hips so that your chest is almost parallel to the floor. This is the starting position. Keeping your back flat, core engaged, and upper arms firmly at your sides, straighten your elbows, pushing the weights back as you fully extend your forearms behind you. Bring the dumbbells back to the starting position, and repeat. Alternate your forward leg with each set.

4. Banded Triceps Extension

Holding one end of a large resistance band with your right hand, place your right foot on the middle of the band. Keeping your elbow pointed forward or to the side, hold the handle (or end of the band) above and behind your shoulder with your palm facing up. Without moving your upper arm, straighten your arm towards the ceiling. Pause, and then reverse the move to return to the starting position. Do equal reps with both arms.

5. Seated Triceps Dip

Sit on the edge of a chair or bench and place your palms (fingers forward) on the seat next to your hips. Supporting your body weight with your arms, shift your butt forward and off the chair. Your arms should be straight, your shoulders down and back, and your abs engaged. You can keep your knees bent and the soles of your feet on the ground. Or, for a greater challenge, straighten your legs and rest just your heels on the ground. Keeping your core engaged, forearms vertical, and elbows pointed back (not flared), slowly lower yourself with control. Stop when your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Pause, and then push yourself back up to the starting position.

6. Skull Crusher

Lie down on a bench or the floor, holding a pair of dumbbells directly above your chest with your palms facing each other. Your feet should be flat on the floor. Without moving your upper arms, bend your elbows and slowly lower the weights to the sides of your head. Avoid flaring your elbows. Pause, and then reverse the move to return to the starting position.

7. Triceps Push-Up

Assume a high plank position with your feet together, body straight from head to heels, arms straight, and hands in line with (but slightly narrower than) your shoulders. This is the starting position. Keeping your core engaged, elbows tucked, and head in line with your spine (i.e., look down, not forward), lower your chest to within a few inches of the floor. Pause, and then reverse the movement to return to the starting position.

8. Banded Triceps Pushdown

Anchor a large resistance band to a fixed structure overhead. Grasp the handles or ends of the band with your palms facing inward, and step back a foot or two in order to create tension on the band. Keeping your core engaged and elbows tucked, extend your arms fully to your sides. Pause, and then reverse the movement to return to the starting position.

Benefits of Strengthening the Triceps

Gaining eye-catching upper arms may be enough motivation to work your triceps at home, but there plenty of other (non-esthetic) benefits to strengthening the triceps.

Personal trainer Alexis Craig emphasizes the "functional fitness" aspect of training the triceps. "Triceps help you in pushing motions. This is important because you always want to be able to press yourself off the ground," she says.

Regularly working triceps moves into your workouts at home may also help you avoid injury. "People love to do curls and tend to train their biceps because they are in the front, so you see them," Craig says. Because the triceps are located in the backs of the arms, they're often forgotten.

"It's super important that you train the triceps just as much as the biceps so that your joints stay happy and your upper body stays in balance," she says.

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Image Credit: Carmela Hill / AuthorsUSA.com

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