Fitness Tips

Your Triceps Make Up Two-Thirds of Your Arms—Here’s How To Work Them Properly

Allie Flinn

Your triceps make up two-thirds of your arm, but they tend to be one of the most ignored in the functional movements of your daily life (no—using them to prop yourself up while you hunch over your laptop doesn't count). Because of this, you'll want to give them some extra love in the gym in order to keep 'em strong. Enter: tricep kickbacks, the subject of this week's episode of The Right Way.

"I love this move because it's a really great simple and easy way to engage that back body," says Colette Dong, founder of The Ness, a trampoline-based fitness studio in New York City.

The move involves standing with your knees bent and chest forward while using your triceps to "kick" a set of weights back behind you. Though it seems easy, there are a few common mistakes Dong sees that prevent people from reaping the full benefits of the excersie. Check them out, below, then press play on the video above to find out how to do a tricep kickback the right way.

Common mistakes when attempting tricep kickbacks:

1. Rounding through the shoulders

Tricep kickbacks require you to lean your upper body forward, and in doing that, Dong says she frequently sees people rounding their shoulders too much instead of keeping them engage. You want to make sure to roll your shoulders back and down to avoid putting too much strain on your back as you cycle through the exercise.

2. Under or overextending the arms

The goldliocks principle applies here: You want to make sure when you're extending your arms behind you, you're doing it just right. Dong often sees people missing out on the move's full range of motion, which keeps them from getting the most out of it. Think about extending your forearm from your elbows so you really hit those triceps, she says. That said, you don't want to overextend either—you should feel this in your tricep, not your upper back.

3. Overarching the spine

Lastly, Dong says people tend to overarch through the spine as they perform this movement instead of keeping their backs flat. This puts unnecessary strain on your back and lower body. Make sure to engage your abs to help prevent this.

Now that you've learned the biggest mistakes, watch the video above to see Dong demo a tricep kickback with proper form.

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