If you’ve ever been to The Cheesecake Factory, you know that people go there for the options (and the bread basket, of course). Why else would you go to a restaurant that has as many pages as a high school textbook? Having a wide selection to choose from is nice, because you know that everyone will be able to find something they like. The same rings true in group fitness (Group X). People appreciate having options and a base line understanding of how to modify or alter exercises, such as tricep workouts.
As group exercise instructors, it’s important to know a few different ways to work the same muscle, plus how to modify that exercise based on needs. That way, you can provide participants with options so they can make their own decisions when they have restrictions to keep in mind.
Triceps are a great example of an exercise that can be done many different ways, depending on preferences. Some folks may have limited range of motion and feel uncomfortable bending at the elbow with their arm overhead. Others may not want to lay on their backs or don’t have the strength to do dips yet.
Here are three different tricep workouts. And, this isn’t an exhaustive list — there are plenty more tricep exercises out there to try, as well.
Lie flat on your back and extend your arms right over your shoulders with a dumbbell in each hand. Bend at the elbow, bringing your hands towards your face. Your shoulder joint stays in the same spot the whole time.
Want to modify? You can lift one weight instead of two, holding one side of the dumbbell in each hand. You can also use a bar instead of dumbbells. To up the challenge, bring your legs into a table top position, with your knees right over your hips and legs in a 90 degree angle.
Close Grip Press
Lie flat on your back and extend your arms right over your shoulders with a dumbbell in each hand. Lower your arms towards the floor, bringing the weights right over our belly button and making an L-shape with your arms. Keep your elbows tight to your body.
Want to modify? You can use lighter weights, hold one weight instead of two and use a bar instead of dumbbells. Also, you can incorporate lower abs by positioning your straight legs right over your hips, then keeping your legs straight and lowering your ankles towards the floor.
Place your hands and feet on the floor, with your chest and hips towards the ceiling, like a crab position. With your hips up slightly, bend at the elbow to lower your body towards the floor. As you bend, elbows go straight back toward the wall behind you.
Pro tip: I’ll often see participants moving at the hip and shoulder joint to move their body lower. Instead, tell them to keep everything still except the elbow — that’s the only thing that should be bending.
Want to modify? You can place your hands on risers or a steps to decrease the load. You can also place your feet on risers or a step to increase the difficulty. Also, you can straighten one leg and switch halfway.
Check back next week for Part II of the series that will share three more tricep workouts to try.
And if you’d like more workout ideas, check out the workout routines and playlists page.