One Good Thing: Triceps Extension

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This move targets the back of your upper arms, specifically the triceps brachii.

Step 1:

Stand in a lunge position with your right leg in front of your left. Keep both knees slightly bent. Place your right hand on your right thigh and lean forward, supporting your upper body weight on your right arm. Keep your chest high and your chin tucked in.

Step 2:

Hold a weight in your left hand, and pull your elbow up, palm facing in. Pause when your elbow is just above your ribcage.

Step 3:

Extend your elbow so that your arm straightens, then return to the starting position by bending your elbow and bringing the weight to the front of your ribcage. Repeat, then switch sides.


  • Lengthen your spine as you lean forward so that you do not slump over and round your shoulders.
  • Choose a weight that is heavy enough to challenge your target muscles, but not so heavy that your joints feel strained.
  • Start with dumbbells that are at least 3 to 8 pounds, depending upon the exercise, and gradually work up to heavier weights as one set of exercises becomes easier to complete.
  • Begin by doing 1 set of 8 to 12 repetitions of each exercise. The move should feel challenging by the time you reach the last few repetitions of each set.
  • Rest for 1 to 2 minutes between sets.
  • As you get stronger, work up to doing three sets.
  • Do this exercise two to three times a week with a rest day in between.


  • Move your upper arm as you bend and straighten your elbow. Instead, keep your upper arm stable as your lower arm moves.
  • Strain your joints. If you feel strain in the elbow or shoulder, try not to bend the arms as deeply or decrease the weight.
  • Slump over and round or hunch your shoulders.

Martica Heaner PhD is a nutritionist and exercise physiologist and an award-winning health writer with a weekly column on She is a research associate at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City and is the co-author of Cross-training for Dummies and Lean Mommy. Follow Dr. Martica on Facebook and Twitter.

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