Arm day is coming, and trainers say this move remix is the key to crushing it


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Photo: Getty Images/Matt Lincoln

You typically wouldn’t eat your main course before your appetizer. And yet—so many people (including moi) tend to skip right to the meat and potatoes, if you will, of our workouts. Specifically, in our arm workouts.

More often than not, a waltz around the gym will show you people starting their upper body workouts with good ol’ bicep curls. There’s nothing wrong with this, but: It’s actually wiser to start with your triceps instead. So, as Missy Elliot would say—put your weights down, flip it, and reverse it. “The biggest advantage of starting your arm workout with your triceps is that the tricep is tied to more muscle groups where people are naturally weaker,” says James Mingle, a trainer from Fitness Together. “One example is that your tricep is connected to your rear delts, AKA the back of the shoulder, which can affect your posture.” By lifting weights for your triceps in the beginning of your workout, it’ll warm up those smaller muscles—including your bicep, he says—for a more optimal workout, with your upper body more reared to slay its exercises.

It’s similar to how skipping before a run gets your lower body primed for more efficient movement, or starting your workout with a plank, since your core is so crucial to your overall fitness game. Though starting your upper body work with the triceps seems backwards, once you really start thinking about it, it makes more sense. Your triceps are your largest arm muscle, after all, so getting them worked out first benefits the joining muscles for their time in the spotlight. So… tricep dips, here we go.

For some exercises to try, here’s a nine-move dumbbell arm workout you can do at home, and a 15-minute resistance band arm workout for another upper body-focused sweat sesh. 

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