Wave goodbye to flabby upper arms | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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Wave goodbye to flabby upper arms

Almost every woman I know who is older than 40 complains about the condition of the back of her arms. Some call it the “eternal wave,” because when you stop waving goodbye, your arm fat continues the salutation.

Females do not naturally have upper-body strength as males do (we are born with kickboxing legs and glute power), and the muscles located in the back of the upper arm are not used much in everyday life. The triceps get weak and flabby. It prevents a lot of ladies from wearing tank tops in the summer.

Bummer – when properly toned, a woman’s arms can be the most attractive and functional part of the body.



The good news is you have at least 16 weeks before the sleeveless season begins, and you have “Help Me Rhonda” here to guide you. But you’ll need to be diligent with your resistance training, cardio workout and nutrition.

There is something strangely satisfying about training smaller muscle groups such as the triceps or calves. You can really feel those beauties flexing and working, and the rewards come quickly.



The triceps are made up of three parts – a long head, which originates at the scapula; a lateral head, which originates at the back of the arm (humerus); and the short head, which originates on the humerus, a bit lower than the lateral head. The triceps are responsible for extending the elbow.

These three parts together are the bigger mass in your arm, so getting them “cut” makes a huge impact in the appearance of your upper body. Guys must be sure to work this all-important muscle group to the max to balance out biceps and get a bigger upper-arm circumference.

Like all muscles in your body, you can perform tricep exercises up to three nonconsecutive days per week. If you’re lifting heavy weights, (enough that you can only complete six to eight repetitions) you’ll need at least two days of rest before you perform the exercise again. For this reason, you may only work your triceps once or twice a week. If your goal is endurance and strength, stick with one to three sets of 12 to 16 repetitions and at least one day of rest before you perform the exercises again. Use 5-pound dumbbells if you’re a beginner, and up to 20 pounds if you’re more advanced.

Here are some exercises:

— Kickbacks: Hold weights in hands and bend over parallel to the floor, abs engaged. Bend elbows and pull them even with your back. Straighten arms behind you, squeezing the triceps, and slowly lower back down.

— Tricep extension: Sit or stand and hold one dumbbell with both hands, elbows bent behind the head to 90 degrees. Straighten the arms, squeezing the triceps.

— Tricep press (aka “Skull Crushers”): Lie on a bench and hold a light barbell with hands shoulder-width apart, palms out. Bend elbows to 90 degrees, lowering the weight toward the head. Squeeze the triceps to push back to start. You also can do this with dumbbells, keeping the palms facing each other.

— Tricep dips: Sit on a bench or a ball (which is more difficult) with hands right next to hips. Bring hips in front of bench and bend elbows to no lower than 90 degrees. Push back up without locking elbows.

Remember to get in at least 30 minutes of cardio most days of the week in order to burn the fat that may be hiding your chiseled triceps. Eat only healthy fats and stay away from the sugars, and you’ll say bye, bye to your perpetual wave by Memorial Day.

– Rhonda Beckham is a nationally certified personal trainer, with teaching certificates in Pilates and kickboxing.


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