It’s the scourge that so many women dread, flabby arms! Men are not completely exempt, but women seem to have more issues with the underarm flabbiness and loose skin. There are several factors that contribute to flabbiness of the arms. Loss of muscle tone, skin elasticity, and body fat all contribute to problems behind the arm. Skin elasticity is probably the hardest part to deal with because it is mostly an issue of genetics. However, if you work on the other two factors you can certainly minimize the appearance of flabbiness on the back of the arm. A study done by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) zeroed in on the most effective exercise to target the muscles on the back of the arm.
The muscle that runs along the back side of the arm is called the triceps. In order to determine what would be the most effective exercise to tone the triceps, ACE recruited University of Wisconsin La Crosse Exercise and Health Program scientists John Porcari, Ph.D., and Brittany Boehler, B.S. They enlisted 15 women from the La Crosse community between the ages 20 to 24. A variety of popular exercises that work out the triceps were selected for the study. Among them were triceps kickbacks, overhead triceps extensions, bar push-downs, rope push-downs, closed-grip bench press, lying barbell triceps extensions, all of which use a weight or device to manipulate the triceps. They also tested two body weight exercises which were dips and triangle push-ups. An EMG electrode was placed on the back of the arm to measure muscle activity. A baseline was set using isometric contractions and then they set out to do each of the selected exercises in random order. They did 7 repetitions of each exercise with 5 minute recovery time between each one.
So when all was said and done, who emerged the winner? The triangle push-ups! Following closely behind were the dips and triceps kickbacks. ACE published a video, embedded below, where exercise physiologist, Fabio Camana, demonstrates the appropriate way to do these exercises.
A word of warning here, many exercise instructors are leery of the dips because of the strain induced on the shoulders. Please make sure if you do these that you follow the instructions of a certified instructor like the one in the video above.
The great news about this study is that you can do a great exercise that maximizes the triceps workout without owning a single piece of equipment. So ladies, give this triangle push-up a try. Remember that you can always modify it in the beginning by putting your knees on the floor which will help your muscles and joints get used to exercising. For more information on this study visit ACE’s website at http://www.acefitness.org/certifiednewsarticle/1562/ace-sponsored-research-best-triceps-exercises/.