This is another post in our series of Fitness Saturday exercises and workouts appropriate to women in the second half of life. Personal trainer Brooke Marrone, president and founder of Brooke Marrone Fitness, in New York City, is our fitness guru.


The tricep muscle is the large muscle on the back of your upper arm, responsible for extension of the elbow (straightening your arm). It’s also the muscle responsible for many women’s not wanting to wear sleeveless shirts in the summer! The tricep muscles—commonly referred to by many women as “bat wings”—are actually composed of three separate heads: the long, the lateral, and the medial. This one exercise—amazingly—works all three heads, and the more muscles you recruit with each move, the better.

A) Start on your hands and knees, with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees shoulder-width apart. Keep your shoulders down, away from your ears, and make sure your back is in a neutral position with your head a natural extension of your spine.

B) Pick up your desired weight—anything from 2 to 5 pounds (beginners can even start using just a water bottle)—and lift your left arm, bringing it parallel with your torso.

C) Bend your left elbow to a 90-degree angle and then slowly straighten your arm, getting a good squeeze in your tricep.  Do not allow your arm to drop below or move away from your torso. Return to your starting 90-degree angle and repeat. Do 2 sets of 12 to 15 on each side. Alternate between sets.


Note: It’s important to keep your core engaged and to maintain a neutral spine throughout the exercise. If you cannot maintain proper form, try using a lighter weight.

Modifications: If you have bad knees, you can double up a mat or place a towel under your knees for support. If you have sensitive wrists, hold a 3- to 5-pound weight in the hand that is on the floor.


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  • wfb April 7, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    One of my favorite exercise.
    I usually start with 5 pounds but i suggest beginners to start with 2.
    Of course always i use a mat for my knees.