To get beautifully toned arms, you need to work the back of them as well as the front. This ever-popular triceps kickback exercise is the perfect move for the job – here’s how to do one with correct form…

The secret to a toned and strong-looking upper body is to carve defined arms, believes Jack Claxton, level 3 personal trainer and personal training ambassador at David Lloyd.

‘Moves that work the biceps and shoulders tend to take the limelight, but the back of the arms need attention, too. And this is why the triceps kickback exercise is ideal – but you need to learn how to do it with correct form. This will ensure you perform the exercise both safely and effectively,’ he says.

‘The triceps muscles make up the majority of your arms. Although there are three areas making up the triceps – the long head, medial head and lateral head muscles – the triceps kickback will work mainly the long head of the triceps, which is often neglected since pushing moves, such as the chest press, triceps pushdown and press-up, work the short head of the muscle,’ Caxton explains.

Do this exercise at the end of a session. ‘It’s an isolating move that works a muscle not often used. So, although you’re not going to burn a load of calories doing it, you’re guaranteed to ache for a few days afterwards, which gives a great sense of achievement!’ he adds. Here’s how to do a triceps kickback with correct form…

How to do a triceps kickback with correct form

triceps kickback form
  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart, or one foot in front of the other, with your back heel lifted slightly.
  2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and put your arms by your sides. Bend your knees and lean forward slightly.
  3. Bend your elbows to draw the weights towards your ribcage and then straighten both arms behind you. That’s one rep. Aim for 12-15.

Tips for correct triceps kickback form:

  • Make sure your back is flat. To do this, squeeze your shoulder blades and hinge at the hips. Your knees will be slightly bent, your hips pushed back and your core engaged.
  • Keep your elbows tucked in (imagine you are holding a wad of £20 notes between your arms and ribs). Slowly extend the arms so they are straight out behind you, focusing on moving just the elbow joint.
  • Don’t swing the upper body. The movement should be coming from the elbow. If you are swinging or having to use your shoulders, then the weight is too heavy.
  • Keep your neck straight by looking at the floor in front of you. Don’t be tempted to look into a mirror, as this will put too much pressure on your neck.
  • Mix up how you do this move. You could use a  cable machine, use just one or both arms or kneel and place one hand on a bench to help stabilise your body.

Words and model: Lucy Miller | Photography: Eddie Macdonald | Clothing: Peloton Ombre Go-To Racer Tank and Peloton Move Mission Seamed Legging

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