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Lose the Bat Wings: 4 Triceps Exercises to Sculpt Your Arms

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This was not a problem in my younger days. I’d heard about “bat wings” but laughed it off as an older woman problem. Of course, back in my 20s, I thought women in their mid-40s were old. Yikes!

Now in my mid-40s, it suddenly doesn’t feel so old! But when your sweet, innocent child asks you why your arms are so jiggly, and then giggles….

Leave it to your kids to make you feel totally self-conscious about your body. 

Don’t worry ladies! In this post I’m sharing some exercises for flabby arms and bat wings that will tone you up, and give you back some confidence!

Lose the Bat Wings: 4 Triceps Exercises to Sculpt Your Arms pin 2

Why do Women get Bat Wings?

Sadly, women are more prone than men to develop bat wings, flabby upper arms, due to hormones. Since we have less testosterone, we tend to store more fat. Plus, women are more likely to store fat in their upper arms and hips. Yippee!

The fact that we store fat in our upper arms makes it challenging to get rid of the bat wings. And I wish I could say weight training alone would fix the problem. But if you are only building the muscle and doing nothing to reduce your body fat, you will end up with spectacular muscles that are hidden.

For example, I’m convinced I have rock hard, beautifully sculpted abs, I just can’t see them yet…..yet!

* note: Remember, diet for weight loss and maintenance; exercise for muscle strength and sculpting!

Sculpting Your Arms

Now, we don’t have to wait until we lower our body fat percentage to begin sculpting our muscles. Why not have the muscles ready to pop as the weight comes off?!?!

Besides sculpting and strengthening your muscles, weight training provides many benefits which I discuss in my article, 7 Reason Why Women Should Be Lifting Weights.

When it comes to arm exercises, quite often we focus on the biceps muscles, located in the front of the upper arm. The fact is, we regularly engage our biceps in everyday life, every time we pick something up.

While it’s important to strengthen your biceps too, we shouldn’t neglect the other half of the upper arm muscles. The triceps!

Triceps and Biceps

4 Arm Exercises to Sculpt Your Arms at Home

I have made it my personal mission this year to obtain a visual definition of my triceps muscles. In fact, I’ve deemed it “The Year of the Triceps Pop!”. My husband chuckles whenever I say this, but I’m serious about it.

Because the triceps muscles are naturally weaker than the biceps, don’t expect to be able to handle much weight. Depending on the exercise, I now use dumbbells between 5 – 10 lbs. But when I started working my triceps a year ago, I began with 2 lb. dumbbells.

It’s a slow process, but one I’m dedicated to focus on this year. I know it’s tough to always make it to the gym so I’m sharing with you four different triceps exercises that you can perform at home.

 
1. Triceps Dip

Find a bench, ottoman, or chair. Position your hands shoulder-width apart behind you on the bench (or alternative). Sliding your butt off the bench, with your legs extended out and feet on the floor, slowly lower yourself toward the ground until your elbows are bent to a 90-degree angle.

Hold for a second, then push yourself back up. Give those triceps a little squeeze at the top. Repeat for 8-12 reps.

Triceps Dips 2
Triceps Dips 1
 
2. Overhead Triceps Extension

Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, grasping with both hands, raise a single dumbbell over your head and extend your arms straight up to the sky. Slowly lower the dumbbell behind your head until your elbows are bent to a 90-degree angle.

Hold for a second, then return to your starting position. Repeat for 8-12 reps.

Triceps Extension 3
Triceps Extension 4
 
3. Two-Arm Triceps Kickback

With a dumbbell in each hand and palms facing your body, bend at the waist to bring your torso forward. Be sure to keep your back straight, shoulders down and back. Keep your head up, looking forward.

Hugging your elbows to your side throughout the motion, with your arms at a 90-degree angle, slowly lift the dumbbells behind you until your arms are fully extended. (Don’t let those elbows leave your side!)

Hold for a second, then return to your starting position. Repeat for 8-12 reps.

Triceps Kickback 1
Triceps Kickback 2
 
4. Body Weight Narrow Pushup (counter, knees, or full body)

Do not worry if you cannot do a full body push up. We will cover how to work toward that goal in another post. For now, you can focus on counter pushups or knee pushups. If you are strong enough for a full body push up, then, of course, proceed with beast mode!

Starting in a high plank position with your core engaged, place your hands just inside shoulder-width. Bend your elbows and lower yourself to the counter or floor, keeping your elbows close to your body, until your body is even with your elbows.

Hold for a second, then push your body away from the counter or floor back to starting plank position. Repeat for 8-12 reps. (if you are new to doing pushups, don’t worry if you can only do a few pushups to start… start with a small goal of 3 pushups and work up from there.)

Triceps Narrow Pushup 1
Triceps Narrow Pushup 2

Has it been a while since you’ve been to the gym? I feel you! Check out my post “How to Get Started in the Gym for Beginners.” Or if you don’t even want to go to the gym, check out my post, “5 Best Workout Apps to Help You Achieve Your Fitness Goals

Triceps Workout Circuit

If you are feeling especially determined to achieve the “triceps pop” and to say goodbye to bat wings forever, commit to a triceps circuit workout 3-4 times a week. Perform the above 4 exercises, rest for 1 minute, then repeat. Begin with two sets and work your way up to four sets.

Reps (repetition) = one complete motion of an exercise
Set = a group of consecutive reps

Remember! Always maintain good posture, engage your core, and practice proper breathing through all exercises.

 

How much Weight to Start?

Remember that triceps muscles are naturally weaker than biceps muscles, so don’t expect yourself to handle much weight at the beginning. Like I said, even after one year of working out fairly consistently, the weight I use on triceps exercises is low.

If you are brand new, start with 2-3 lb. weights. It’s better to start with too little weight than too much weight. Once you can perform at least two sets of an exercise without completely fatiguing the muscle, only then should you increase the weight.

More Workouts to Try Out!

Killer Legs and Butt Workout

How to Get Rid of Armpit Fat

Shoulder Exercises to Sculpt Your Arms

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