To firm up jiggly arms, try triceps exercises

Fitness Q & A

July 08, 2005|By Gailor Large | Gailor Large,Special to the Sun

What's the best way to get rid of the jiggle on the backs of my arms?

For lean, muscular arms, you need to strength-train to tighten your triceps. At the gym, do triceps extensions, triceps kickbacks and overhead cable extensions. At home, work these muscles with triceps dips. Here's how:

Start as if you were sitting in an invisible "air chair" with your hands behind you on the edge of a sturdy armchair or sofa. Your knees should be at a 90-degree angle to begin. Keep your arms and torso straight, your abs tight and your fingers facing forward. To perform the dip, bend your elbows and lower your body -- you will feel your triceps supporting a good deal of your body weight.

If you feel pressure in your shoulders, your dips are too deep.

Also cross train the arms with exercises like pilates, tennis, boxing and swimming. All these will do wonders for the triceps.

I want to buy a few of those folding bikes for our family to take to the beach this summer. We go back and forth to the shore almost every weekend and don't have a rack to take our regular bikes. Where can I find these portable two-wheelers and how expensive are they?

A bike you can slip in your pocket?

Not quite, but portable bikes are becoming smaller and smaller, and they're easier than ever to fold and go. Many companies are manufacturing them now, from specialty folding-bike makers like Dahon (www.dahon.com), Bike Friday (www.bikefriday.com), Strida (www.strida.com) and Montague (www.montagueco.com) to traditional cycling companies like Trek.

You can order the bikes directly from some of the Web sites listed above. And while most local bike shops don't have folding bikes in stock, many shops are happy to order them for you. Expect to pay between $300 and $5,000, depending on the model. They aren't cheap, but can you really put a price on a bike you can fold up and stash in an airplane's overhead bin?

What's a good upper-leg toning exercise? I hate the leg press, quad extension and hamstring curl machines at the gym.

If you really can't stand traditional leg-strengthening equip- ment, machine-free exercises like lunges and squats are a good alternative. One variation that's a favorite of mine is the balance ball wall squat.

Wall squats are a great workout for your backside, hamstrings and quadriceps.

Start by putting the balance ball between your lower back and the wall, then walk your feet away from the wall until you can see your toes. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart (holding a light weight will make it more challenging).

To begin the exercise, bend your knees until your upper legs are parallel to the floor. Your lower legs should be perpendicular to it. Hold for 10 seconds, then straighten your legs and repeat. Start the ball low so it has room to roll up your back a little.

Do you have a fitness question? You can submit questions via e-mail to fitness@ baltsun.com, or online at baltimoresun.com / healthscience, or in writing to The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278.

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