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Focus On Fitness: Your Triceps

pushups!photo © 2008 Helen Cook | more info (via: Wylio)Your Triceps

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.

Why Should You Work Your Triceps?

If you’re working your biceps, you shouldn’t neglect the other side of your arm. Muscle imbalances can cause pain and injuries. Also, your triceps work hard all day long–anytime you push something, your triceps are working so, the stronger they are, the easier these pushing exercise will be. Your triceps muscles are fairly small, so keep in mind that you will not be able to use as much weight as you can for your chest or your back.

Often Should You Train Your Triceps?

Like all muscles in your body, you can perform tricep exercises up to three non-consecutive days a week. If you’re lifting heavy weights, (enough that you can only complete 6-8 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 you’re goal is endurance and strength, stick with one to three sets of 12-16 repetitions and at least one day of rest before you perform the exercises again. Keep in mind that you will use your triceps when performing chest and back exercises as well.

What Exercises Should You Do?

Most tricep are called ‘pushing’ exercises and generally involve extending your elbow as in kickbacks. You can do tricep exercises with any type of resistance–dumbbells, barbell, resistance bands, cables or a machine. Ahem, small group training and boot camp anyone? We just love those tricep pushups!

Sources: http://www.exercise.about.com

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