One thing I really came to understand and appreciate during the NASM certified personal trainer process was that muscle isolation — while technically possible — is really not as important a goal as developing multi-muscle and joint structures.
By this I mean, targeting your lats (latissimus dorsi) because you want a sexy, strong back is great, but making certain that they can take on additional loads and really be defined requires that you also give thought to strengthening and toning your rhomboid and trapezius muscles as well as your spine (erector spinae) and even your neck (teres minor/major and levator scapulae).
Now, all of that obnoxious book-learnin’ aside, I do love a toned tricep. It’s one of the muscles that I give a little bit of extra love in my workouts, and one of the reasons that yoga is such an important part of my routine — do a few vinyasas today, keeping your elbows close to your body with a narrow grip and OOOF…you’ll see what I mean.
So, what do you need to keep in mind for the tricep?
- moves to work into your routine include:
- triceps kickbacks
- overhead triceps extensions
- bar push-downs
- rope push-downs
- closed-grip bench press
- lying barbell triceps extensions
- triceps dips
- triangle push-ups
In fact, the American Council on exercise tested all of those moves and determined that one stood out: the triangle push-up.
And it’s really easy to do! (Well, not easy to do because it really does force you to isolate your triceps, which may be a bit weak, but it is an easy modification to make just using bodyweight.)
Tone Your Triceps: the Triangle Push-Up
- Start in a plank position — ideally, on your toes, but if you need to modify by coming down to your knees, that’s OK!
- With your hands directly below your face and shoulders stacked over your wrists, form a diamond or triangle shape (I like to have my thumbs and pointer fingers touching).
- With a neutral spine and core engaged, lower your body toward the ground, making sure to keep your elbows close to the body (maybe even sweeping your sides) and your hips low, not piked.
Ta da! Go as deep as you can with good form but if you need to make little micro movements the first time through, that’s still pretty darn effective.
Want more tricep toning ideas? I just pinned a board full of ideas for you. Enjoy!