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FITNESS By Mike Mauney
In Search of Toner Triceps

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Upper-arm muscles that wiggle won't win you any prizes.
Here's a routine to help firm and define them.

Have you ever noticed a titleholder waving from stage or in a parade and notice the back of her arms moving loosely? An area that is often overlooked when preparing for swimsuit competition is the back of the arm. This ever-so-important area is often left out of exercise routines due to the amount of attention that is placed on the stomach, hips, and thighs.


Triceps are a group of muscles on the back of your arm between your elbow and shoulder.

Triceps are a group of muscles on the back of your arm between your elbow and shoulder. They normally do not receive a lot of exercise. You most often use the biceps muscles on the front of your arms when lifting and carrying objects. You seldom use the tricep muscles unless you are lifting something above your head or pushing yourself up to a sitting or lying position. In order to look your best when you model or pose in a swimsuit, the triceps need to be very tight and toned. This will show a nice definition in the back and side of your arms. There is nothing that shows off a nice swimsuit body more than a toned set of arms with good definition in the triceps.

Since most people are not accustomed to training the back of their arms, it is very important that you start off training with a minimum amount of weight, sets, and repetitions. You should train your triceps every other day starting off with one set of 10 to 12 repetitions, using three to five-pound weights in each hand. The next time you train them do two sets of 10 to 12 repetitions, using the same amount of weight.

As you begin your second week of training, advance to three to four sets of 10 to 12 repetitions. Do these every other day, three days a week. As you progress with your tricep training, you may need to add a few more pounds to increase the resistance of the exercise.

Remember, do not over-train your triceps in the beginning by doing too many sets and repetitions. Over-training will cause your triceps to have a paralyzed effect for a few hours and can be very dangerous. I had an experience several years ago when I overdid my triceps exercizes to a point of muscle failure. Overexertion caused my triceps to become so weak that for a couple hours I did not have enough strength to push open the storm door while entering my house. I remember this very well because the door closed too quickly, hitting my daughter! Needless to say, she was very unhappy with me.

Always remember that, in order to have a perfectly toned body, you must include triceps training in your workout. Now, try waving in front of a mirror -- notice how loose the back of your arms are? Once you begin your tricep training program, you will be well on your way to firmer, well-toned upper arms.

Standing Tricep Extension
Step 1 fitness photo

Step 2 fitness photo

Miss Illinois Teen USA 2002 Lacey Wilson demonstrates the correct technique for performing the Standing Tricep Extension exercise.

1. Place dumbbell in right hand and raise straight above head.

2. Place left hand on side of left hip.

3. Keep your back as straight as possible at all times.

4. Lower dumbbell behind your head as low as possible.

5. Return dumbbell to upright position and repeat.

6. Inhale as you lower the dumbbell.

7. Train your triceps three time a week, every other day, 3 to 4 sets with 10 to 12 reps per set.

Mike Mauney, owner of Body Design By Mike fitness center in North Carolina, is a Personal Fitness Trainer certified by the National Federation of Professional Trainers. Mike specializes in Personal Fitness Training for women of all ages. For twelve years he has been training dancers, models, cheerleaders, pageant and swimsuit contestants of all ages and competition levels (local, state, national, and international). His daughter Michelle Mauney was Miss North Carolina USA 1995. Some of Mike's training credits includes the following: Carrie Stroup, Miss World representative 2001, Chelsea Cooley, National Titleholder, Janice Ward, Mrs. United States 1999, Vanessa Minnillo, swimsuit winner and Miss Teen USA 1998, and Michelle Warren, 1st runner-up Miss America Pageant 1998.

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