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The #1 Tricep Workout to Firm the Dreaded Arm Sag

Tone up flabby arms with these trainer-recommended tricep exercises.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

When it comes to sculpting toned arms, nothing beats a killer tricep workout. While toned arms are a surefire way to look fit and strong, achieving them doesn't require repeating set upon set of bicep curls like many think. Instead, focusing your arm workouts on your triceps can help tighten your arms and prevent the dreaded arm sag.

Another perk to isolating your triceps (besides improving the overall physique and strength of your arms) is a plethora of tricep variations and exercises you can perform with various workout equipment, including dumbbells, resistance bands, cables, bars, and even your body weight. In addition, many tricep exercises can strengthen your pecs (chest) and delts (shoulders) for an overall stronger upper body.

"Triceps-focused workouts can help shape the arms over time," says Kate Meier, CPT, a certified personal trainer with Gym Garage Reviews. "This can help prevent sagging arms over time, although nutrition and genetics also play into the equation regarding the overall appearance of your physique."

If you want more toned arms, keep reading. We asked Meier to share her favorite tricep workout that will firm up saggy arms and keep an overall tight upper body physique. After that, check out The Ultimate 'Turkey Wings' Kettlebell Workout for Sagging Arms.

Bench Dips

woman performing tricep dips at-home arm exercises for flabby triceps

First up in our tricep workout is the bench dip. This is a simple and effective bodyweight exercise that will tone up your triceps. The best part is you can do bench dips anywhere, anytime, using a bench, chair, couch, counter, or any stable surface.

Begin seated on the long edge of a bench. Step your feet forward, and place your hands on the edge of the bench. Hover your body just in front of the bench with your arms straight. Bend at the elbows, using your triceps to slowly lower yourself down until your elbows reach 90 degrees and you feel a slight stretch in your triceps. Push back up to the starting position and repeat.

"If this exercise is too difficult, you can scale it back by keeping your feet closer to the bench and bending your knees as you lower down," instructs Meier. The goal is to perform three sets of 10 to 12 reps.

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Single-Arm Overhead Triceps Extension

overhead tricep extension

"Focusing on one side at a time during an exercise helps ensure each side is pulling its weight during movements when you're using both sides at once," explains Meier. "This also helps avoid muscle imbalances. For example, if one arm is weaker, try adding a few extra reps on that side to strengthen it safely over time."

Holding a single dumbbell in one hand. Bring the dumbbell behind your head with your tricep perpendicular to the floor; your elbow should be pointing up toward the ceiling. Engage your triceps to raise the dumbbell straight up until your arm is fully extended. Maintain a slight bend at the top to prevent your elbow from locking out. Slowly lower the dumbbell back down to the starting position. You can use your free arm for balance during this exercise. Complete your reps on one side before doing them on the other. Perform three sets of 10 to 12 reps.

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Close-Grip Dumbbell Chest Press

dumbbell chest press exercise part of tricep workout for arm flab

Though this is technically a chest-focused exercise, the close-grip variation activates the triceps and puts more tension on them than in a standard chest press.

To perform the exercise, Meier says, "Grab two dumbbells that amount to a moderate weight for your fitness level, then lie back onto a bench (or the floor) as you hold the weights by your chest. Lift the dumbbells slightly above your chest with a neutral grip, meaning your palms will face each other. Next, press the dumbbells together and hold them together as you press them straight toward the ceiling. Once your arms are straight, slowly lower the dumbbells while keeping them pressed together. Aim for three sets of eight to 10 reps."

Triceps Kickbacks

tricep kickbacks part of bat wings workout

"Kickbacks are a great exercise to tone the triceps, and you don't need much weight to feel their effects," says Meier. "Start with light dumbbells, and increase the weight incrementally to ensure your form doesn't suffer. Make sure your triceps stay parallel to the floor throughout the movement to get the desired effect."

Here's how to do kickbacks to tighten and tone those arms. Stand with your knees slightly bent and a dumbbell in each hand, with your palms facing your hips. Keeping your back straight and your shoulders back, hinge at the hips until your upper body is parallel to the floor. Next, position your arms at 90-degree angles with your triceps parallel to the floor. Then, straighten your arms to move the dumbbells up and back until your arms are straight. Return to the starting position and repeat. Do three sets of 10 to 12 reps.

Adam Meyer
Adam is a health writer, certified holistic nutritionist, and 100% plant-based athlete. Read more about Adam
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