I want to tighten the back of my arm. I think itís the triceps. I was told to do bench dips, but while doing them my wrist hurt so much that I had to stop. Are there any other exercises that are not so painful and get the job done?! (Jane, Selden)Answer
The triceps is generally an underused muscle in women because they are carriers from babies to groceries Ė women donít push things away and so their biceps tend to be strong. However, men are used to pushing. The problem with bench dips can be shoulder impingement, carpal tunnel and other related injuries to the wrist and hand. Another exercise which is highly effective is the lying dumbbell extension. Like bench dips, you donít need special equipment and there is a direct engagement of the muscle.
Position: Lie down on a flat bench or mat with a dumbbell in each hand. Pick a weight that compliments your strength level. Extend your arms overhead, so you can look up and see the dumbbells. Your palms should face each other, knuckles to the outside. Next stabilize your elbows, bend your arms and slowly lower the dumbbells toward your shoulders; elbows are pointed up; extend or straighten the arms while exhaling on the up phase. Repeat for 10-12 reps and do 3 or 4 sets depending on time and the fatiguing process of the muscle. 3 or 4 sets should do the job.
Tip: Donít let the elbows flare to the outside. Keep elbows pointed in a 12 oíclock position. Maintain a speed of 2 seconds down and 2 seconds up. Visualize squeezing the muscle on the extension.
Listen to Frank Mikulka’s Weekly Fitness Tips every week on Debbie Mandel’s Turn On Your Inner Light Show every Tuesday evening from 7:00 to 7:30 pm on WGBB 1240AM. Also available on www.turnonyourinnerlight.com/page3.html