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The triceps muscle makes up 66% of your arm mass. So whether it is to build big arms or banish bingo wings, it is the back of the arm that needs the most work.

Whatever the equipment you want to use, there is a triceps exercise to match.

Here are six ways to tighten those arms:


The cable machine is the best one to head for, although any push/pull movement with weights will improve your arms.

  1. Cable pushdown: attach a rope handle to the top pulley. Stand tall with elbows at sides. Using both hands, pull down until arms are straight. Move only your elbows. Return to start, keeping control.
  2. Overhead triceps extension: turn so your back is to the machine, holding the rope handle with hands at shoulder height. Extend arms forward until straight, then return.


For these, select weights that make AMAP (‘as many as possible’) between 8 and 12.

  1. Incline chest press: Set your bench to 45 degrees. Push the weights up to shoulder height with palms away from you. Lock out the arms, tense those pecs and lower the weights.
  2. Triceps kickback: this simple but effective exercise needs just a bench and one dumbbell, but be very careful with form. Form a tripod, with one knee and one hand on the bench and one foot on the floor. Moving only your lower arm, raise and lower the dumb-bell with your upper arm parallel to the floor.


Just find a space!

  1. Reclining triceps presses: these are a great alternative to the triceps dip, which can exacerbate shoulder problems. Follow this video sequence: sit on the floor with knees bent and feet flat, palms flat on floor. Tighten abs, lower yourself until elbows are on the floor, then raise with flexed triceps.
  2. Diamond pushup; get into a push-up position, but with thumbs and fingers of hands set to form a diamond shape. Working from knees or feet as you prefer, carry out a set of controlled pushups. The hand position moves the effort from chest muscles to triceps.

Go on, give those triceps a good try-out!


the author

Jessica Ambrose

Jessica is a fitness writer who loves long distance running, yoga, strength training and healthy eating.