Ward off this dreaded triceps flap
If you feel that soggy web-like flesh development under your arms, chances are you have either fallen off your exercise regimen or let your diet go down the crapper, or both. As we know, you’re not going to win the battle vs. father time, but you can ward off that flap-like development in the back of your arm by getting back on your work-out routine and diet.
If you’re wondering how you got that disgusting jello-like growth on the back of your upper arm in the first place, it is like this: As you age, your natural producing levels of growth hormone and testosterone will diminish; if your activity level plummets, there is a high probability that sarcopenia (replacement of muscle fiber with fat) will kick in and the areas of your body that are susceptible to excessive fat buildup will be exposed.
Triceps dumbell extension
One of the common areas of excessive subcutaneous fat, especially in women, is the middle to upper area of the upper arm – known as the triceps muscle. This area of the arm, when left unattended or underworked, can look quite unattractive when left sleeveless. On the other hand, when the human body is conditioned properly, rich in nutrients and low in empty calories, a nice horse shoe shaped triceps can add sex appeal to any body. Let us focus on the latter.
Like any other body part on the human body, the triceps won’t respond to spot reducing; in other words, you are not going to melt away fat in that specific area; your body is in control of where and what order you lose body fat. Here is where you can help yourself:
1: Start or get back on an exercise program involving structural exercises (involving several muscle groups), including a close grip bench press, or, if equipment shy, push ups with hands at shoulder width. If your upper body is not strong enough to do the traditional push up with your knees off the ground, keep your knees on the ground until your muscles grow strong enough to do the traditional push up.
2: Start a well balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables - as your main carbohydrate choice, fish, eggs, turkey or chicken without the skin – as your main protein source. Remember, carbohydrates are your main energy source and protein builds the muscle that is broken down through exercise. And include whole grains, nuts, beans, low fat cottage cheese or yogurt to complete a healthy diet. And don’t forget to space your meals out; after all, five or six small meals a day are better than two or three large ones. Remember, your body can only metabolize about 45 grams of protein every two to three hours. Any excess will involve the dreaded spillover effect where fat deposits start their process. And don't forget to drink lots of water: minimum of eight 12 ounce glasses a day.
3: Try these triceps isolation exercises once a week and no more than twice a week; after all, our goal is to build quality muscle tissue and not to shrink muscle tissue from overtraining. And don’t worry about the myth – “I’m going to get too muscle-bound or bulky”. It is clearly a myth. For the record, without surgery, you can do only two things to your muscles: make them larger and stronger or make them smaller and weaker. Our goal is to enhance the quality of the muscle tissue; and if the back of your upper arm is flopping around in the wind, chances are you aren’t in the 2% of the world’s population that is genetically gifted to grow large, powerful muscles.
bottom position of bench dips
Triceps isolation exercises:
• Triceps extension: You can do this exercise with a curling bar, straight bar, or dumbbell, or dumbbell plate. We’ll demonstrate it with a dumbbell. Position one dumbbell overhead with both hands under inner plate or heart shaped grip. Keep your elbows in while lowering forearms behind upper arms by bending at the elbows and flexing the wrists at bottom. Go as far down as possible to receive the muscle stimulating effect over the entire triceps muscle. Then, while keeping your elbows in, raise the dumbbell overhead by extending elbows in locked position overhead. (see illustration above right). Then repeat. Pick a weight that you can do 8 to 12 repetitions with. You should experience difficulty with the final two repetitions; if you are not, the weight is too light. As a change up to isolate each arm, you can do one arm at time with light dumbbells. Keep your thumbs down and upper arm positioned at 90 degrees throughout the entire movement.
• Bench dips: On a secured bench, position your hands shoulder width apart with your fingers facing your toes. Move your feet out as far out in front of you as possible. Straighten out your arms and keep a little bend in your elbows in order to always keep tension on your triceps and off your elbow joints. Slowly lower your upper body down towards the floor and keep your elbows tucked into your sides. Once you reach the bottom of the movement, which will be with your upper arm about parallel to the floor (see illustration above), slowly press off with your hands and push yourself back up to the starting position with your triceps. Do 8 to 12 repetitions. If you are having difficulty doing 8 reps, bench at the knees with your feet flat on the floor to help assist you. If you can do 12 repetitions easily, have someone, gently, add weight to your lap to increase the tension on your triceps. This exercise also works your lower chest.
• Triceps dumbbell kickback: Position your body by kneeling over a bench with off arm supporting body. Grasp a dumbbell and keep your elbow on your ribcage with elbow bent in starting position. Extend the arm with the dumbbell until it is straight. Pause briefly at the top of the movement to flex the triceps for full effect (see illustration below) Again, shoot for 8 to 12 repetitions while experiencing difficulty with the final two.
• Skull crushers: This exercise can be done with either a barbell or a dumbbell. Position yourself with your back flat on a bench with a close overhand grip on a barbell. Ease the barbell down with your lower arms, as they bend at the elbows, to your forehead (fast speed will crush your skull – hence the name ?) keeping your elbows in and upper arms still. Then push the barbell up using just your lower arms (see illustration below). Then repeat for 8 to 12 reps.
With proper diet and full body exercise and a few isolation triceps exercises, you can avoid the onset of that dreaded web-like flap before your time. If you do not want to diet and exercise, for God’s sake – wear long sleeves.