Why I Love the Backs of My Arms and You Should Too

How often do you think about the backs of your arms? We see our biceps much more often and much more easily than our triceps. But just because they're hiding out there on the back side of our bodies, doesn't mean they aren't worthy of attention and appreciation. I have been guilty in the past of thinking of them as simply the jiggly part of my arm, aka the reason I wouldn't go sleeveless in the summer. 

But, I think the more we learn about our bodies and the miraculous things they do for us on a daily basis, the harder it is to hate them. And your triceps are no exception. Here are some fun facts about those little powerhouses on the backs of your arms.

You use them every time you straighten your arm. Pushing a door closed? Shoving a suitcase into the overhead bin of an airplane? Throwing a ball? Writing? All of these activities, and so many more, require the participation of your triceps.

Your triceps are actually a larger muscle than your biceps. Yep, it makes up about 2/3 of your arm. The average triceps muscle is twice as large as the average biceps muscle.

It helps to keep your shoulder in line. Your shoulder is an amazing joint. It has the biggest range of motion of any joint in your body, able to rotate in many directions. Because of this, it's also an unstable joint. Strong, healthy triceps help to stabilize it, so that it can function properly.

Your triceps are kind of like your biceps' bff. Triceps and biceps have an agonist/antagonist relationship. When one contracts, the other must relax. Let's use a biceps curl as an example. As you curl the weight up to your shoulder, your biceps muscle contracts and shortens while your triceps relax and elongate. But, as you bring the weight back down the roles switch. Your biceps muscle relaxes and elongates, while your triceps contract and shorten. It's a really cool relationship, and one that I didn't recognize until I started studying to be a trainer. 

It has three heads. The "tri" in its name is a clue :-) One head originates on your shoulder blade, and the other two originate on your humerus (upper arm bone). They unite partway down your arm, attaching to your elbow.

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There you have it--an introduction to your sweet triceps. I hope you love them just a little bit more now! And one way to show your appreciation is to strengthen them so that they can do their best for you. There are several triceps exercises I like, but here's one you can do just using your body weight: Triceps Dips.