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Even fit women have weak triceps. And what you can do about it

how to tone triceps woman

Weak triceps are the fit woman’s dirty little secret.

Even women who strength train regularly often have underdeveloped tricep muscles hiding behind their well-defined biceps, says Noah Neiman, a trainer at Barry’s Bootcamp in New York City and a consultant with Beachbody.

Their hidden location is one reason they get ignored. “It’s like this, my mom will spend a very long time in the mirror fixing the front of her hair, and I tell her the back is a little frizzy, and she’s like, ‘I don’t care, I can’t see it,’” says Neiman.

“It’s the same principle. Biceps, chest, abs—you see them. But no one talks about how glamorous the lower back or the triceps are.”

Another reason? Triceps are tiny muscles that require deliberate movements, says Neiman. They’re just plain harder to work.

noah nieman

Tricep-training drill sergeant: Noah Nieman

So why should you start giving your triceps some love and attention?

Well, there’s vanity. The area over the triceps is a common  fat-storage spot for women. (Hello, bat wings.) And we are approaching tank top season…

But there’s a better reason: The triceps are supporting muscles, so they’re crucial in helping you strengthen others. “Anytime there’s a deficiency in any muscle group, especially the smaller ones, the larger ones have to work harder, so you’ll fatigue faster,” says Neiman. “Strong triceps are going to help you facilitate growth in other areas.”

In short, they’ll make your push-ups and chaturangas easier.

The bottom line is this, says, Neiman: “People tend to focus on just the show muscles, which I call ‘The Jersey Shore approach.” That might have been cool at one time, but now it’s all about long, lean, functionally strong and sexy muscles.”

You’ll get there, with these three easy moves you can do at home from Noah Neiman of Barry’s Bootcamp. —Lisa Elaine Held

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  1. March 12th, 2012 at 12:40 am

    [...] moves for stronger triceps from Barry’s BootcampSo your triceps are weaker than you want—or you knew? Don’t worry, we won’t tell. Here are three moves to get you toned in time for tank-top [...]

  2. March 12th, 2012 at 3:38 am

    Interesting article, and I agree that I’m pretty terrible about training my triceps – but how is strengthening them going to remove “bat wing” fat? It’s important to remember that you can’t spot tone or get rid of fat in one place; all you can do is tighten up the muscles underneath.

  3. March 12th, 2012 at 9:14 am

    [...] burns when you work it, and the burn result is minimal, but we still try!  In a recent article on Well+Good NYC, the opening line refers to the tricep in a pretty accurate way: Weak triceps are the fit woman’s [...]

  4. March 12th, 2012 at 9:50 am

    [...] • What you can do about weak triceps. (Well + Good) [...]

  5. March 12th, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    [...] What you can do about weak triceps. (Well + Good) jQuery('#what-were-reading').load('/ajax/fetch.php?section=hybrid_box'); Share This [...]

  6. March 29th, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    I would have to agree that this is true. I began a fitness routine several months ago, and I can tell that all of my muscles are getting stronger…except my triceps! In Bodyworks class we do a lot of arm workouts, but I’ve noticed that my triceps get so much more tired than the other parts of my arm.

    My legs are getting stronger, and I can see it through my calves, quads and hamstrings. My core is getting stronger because I don’t get as fatigued during ab workouts and it’s easier to keep my balance. My biceps look good and feel good. But my problems continue to be a problem area! They are getting stronger, though. When I first started doing Bodyworks classes and we did push ups, it was so hard for me to do them. Now, I’m a lot better at them, but I wish my “angel wings” would go away.

  7. March 31st, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    [...] that accounts for their svelte physiques, say experts—supercharged, calorie-burning muscle cells.Even fit women have weak triceps. What you can do about it Even if you strength train, your triceps might be your fitness Achilles heel. We find out why [...]

  8. September 7th, 2012 at 6:32 am

    [...] Zimbio.com   1. Tricep Push-Ups Triceps make up two thirds of the arm," says Greenspan, so make this one count. It will also work the front of your shoulders and chest. It should look like a traditional [...]

  9. September 8th, 2012 at 12:42 am

    [...] make up two thirds of the arm,” says Greenspan, so make this one count. It will also work the front of your shoulders and [...]

  10. March 18th, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    [...] fitness. And she tapped the community that’s supporting her to help—Barry’s trainer Noah Neiman and Flybarre’s Kara Liotta are contributing fitness [...]

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