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Tricep Exercises For Women: Dumbbell Arm Extension

I remember reading in a men’s muscle magazine back over 7 years ago that the tricep makes up 2/3 of the arm. So while most men are in the gym doing curl after curl their arms wont look much bigger unless they train their triceps with the same intensity and diligence.

You may wonder why I was reading a mens muscle magazine…well I wanted toned arms and figured I’d start looking at what guys do to have nice looking arms even when their bellies are hanging out.

How Hormones Play A Role In Bat Wings

If you tend to store fat in your triceps and thighs, you may have high levels of estrogen. Many women have high levels of estrogen compared to progesterone and this is when pms plays a major role.

Here are 2 ways to decrease estrogen:

  1. Increase exercise volume
  2. Eat cruciferous vegetables (ex. broccoli)

Meet Your Tricep Muscle

Your triceps are composed of three different sections, hence the name. All three heads start at the top of either your arm or your shoulder-blade and then unite to attach together on your forearm. The main function of the tricep is to straighten the arm, thus any exercise that involves straightening the arm against resistance, works your triceps. Ex. extensions, pressdowns and chest press.

You have 3 heads:

  1. Lateral head – outer segment
  2. Medial head – middle segment
  3. Long head – inner segment

Tricep Extensions

This exercise targets all three heads (triceps brachii) while your upper back and rear delts act as stabilizer muscles.

Comments, questions, post below!

See also Why Women Need To Build Muscle

Join the discussion 27 Comments

  • Lindsay says:

    Would you recommend getting your estrogen levels checked? Great exercise! I’m going to try this one!

    • Flavia says:

      I personally do and yes, I would recommend it. What ever you do, go natural with trying to decrease estrogen levels, do not take any sort of blockers. I know many competitive females in fitness shows do and there are so many dangers with those.

  • katrina says:

    Hello Flavia,

    I store fat in my arm pits, will that work for this problem area as well?



  • Lily says:

    Looks like a perfect excercise for my triceps!! Will try tonight!! Also, I will have my yearly check up in 2 weeks. Will ask my Dr. to get an estrogen test amongst other things. Thanks Flavia!!

  • Anna says:

    I was doing these wrong! Thank you so much for this video Flavia! I have a question, Is it ok to chew sugar free gum? I had cut out gum from my diet, but now that I’m cutting I find that I’m wanting something and gum seems to help.

  • toni says:

    Cool. Love the starting position and the decreased tension on my poor elbows! Flavia, you mentioned engaging abs to counter the back extension tendency you have. Should I try to keep my back flat on the bench or something between flat and hyperextended?

  • toni says:

    OH! And thanks so much for the estrogen/tricepflab explanation. I’ve never heard that and have always been so frustrated my tri don’t get more definition. ‘splains a lot!

  • Debs says:

    You’ve been reading my mind so far in 2012 with your focus exercises ! Many thanks from an FBL alumna & best wishes for 2012.

  • Zainab says:

    Good exercise. Am pregnant can I try the exercise? I have flabby tricep

  • Italia says:

    Great exercise for those of us in our mid 50s and struggling with flabby arms. Don’t you love when you are wearing a sleeveless shirt and your very honest grandchild points to the flab under your arms and asks, “Gramma, what’s that? Why don’t I have that?” 🙂

  • clea says:

    Hey flavia

    thanks for showing us this…i carry weight on my triceps and lower there anything else you would recommend for me to do? how many servings of curiferous veg should i eat per week? how would i go about lowering my estrogen levels? thanks

    • Flavia says:

      I wouldn’t depend too much on hormones unless you are very lean and still have weight there as opposed to other areas. BUT, high estrogen levels are dangerous so I would try to eat one 1 serving of each a day.

  • cecy says:

    hi are gorgeus! very interesting all the hormone thing.i’m from argentina and i saw on your web that you have a ebook named hormones control! please i would really love to get this can i get it since i’m from argentina? i’m interesred only this book that talks about hormones which i would really love to understand a learn about it.thank ou.

  • lola says:

    I followed your original advice from the manual and had my oestrogen levels checked at the hospital. I couldn’t believe it…I have normal levels, I exercise 5 times a week (as per your program, incl HITT) and as a vegetarian, there is always broccoli and cauliflower on the menu…and yet I am your classic bat-wigs candidate. Where to from here?!!

    • Flavia says:

      You will have to work on strengthening that area with tricep exercises and of course you have to lose fat from everywhere before you lose the “problem areas”

  • Lily says:

    Just tried this, but I couldn’t get my feet to rest on the floor!! I’m too short for the bench!! 🙂 (5’2″). I used 3 lbs dumbells which were a bit too light for me. Will try to twick the excercise to do it in my home gym and add some weight. How heavy of weights do you use? And how heavy should I go for this excercise?? Thanks

    • Natalie says:

      Awesome workout, This will cut my tricep training down. I’m loving all your training tips.
      I was watching your leg workout too. Guess what I’m doing today !
      Cheers 🙂

    • Flavia says:

      I use 10-15, bump up to 5…see how they are and go up if too light. Always better to go up and not dowm. Make sure you hold your abs in to protect your back with or without your feet on the ground.

  • Peaches says:

    Can I do these arm exercises from a sitting position or on a bed. I am disabled and in a wheelchair. I do exercises from a sitting position and on my bed however, you mentioned being on a hard surface. If I put a hard mat under me would I get the same effect?

    • Flavia says:

      yes that is fine, just make sure you aren’t lifting too heavy and that you are contracting your abs. The hard surface is to protect your back.

  • toni says:

    Hi Flavia,

    Loving this tri exercise! So do my abs! What would you recommend for that pesky posterior delt?

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