The American Council on Exercise (ACE) has finally answered the question women have been asking for decades: how can I get rid of arm jiggle and what is the single best arm exercise to target this troublesome area? Scientists at the Exercise and Health Program at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse conducted a study using 70 female participants to find out once and for all. By attaching electromagnetic (EMG) electrodes to women’s triceps while performing various arms exercises, the scientists were able to record the women's real-time muscle activity and determine which arms exercises produce the most muscle activity; read: blast arm jiggle the most!
Results from the EMG revealed that the triangle pushup registered the most muscle activity amongst all the exercises tested making it the number one exercise for eliminating arm jiggle. What’s more, you don’t even need any equipment to execute this uber-effective exercise. Like a traditional pushup, the triangle pushup can be performed on your knees or toes. But, rather than aligning your arms beneath your shoulders, your hands form a triangle directly under your chest. The tips of your left and right middle fingers should come together to form the top of the triangle while your thumbs point toward one another creating the straight-line base of the triangle. As in a traditional pushup, focus on keeping your core stable and your body in one straight line as you lower yourself almost al the way to the ground and back to the starting position. Watch a video demonstration of this move (found on page 3) here.
The study revealed that triceps kick backs and dips also activated the hard-to-tone arm muscles at higher levels than the other upper body protocols tested. The less effective exercises studied include overhead triceps extensions, bar push-downs, rope push-downs, closed-grip bench press, and lying barbell triceps extensions.
The key to seeing results from these three arms exercises, like all fitness routines, is form and safety. “Triceps kickbacks and triangle push-ups not only produced high levels of muscle activation, but these exercises can be safely performed by the vast majority of exercisers, require little to no equipment and a relatively short amount of time to produce a positive result when included in a regular fitness routine,” says ACE Chief Science Officer Dr. Cedric X. Bryant. The bench dip however, comes with one word of warning. While this move results in high muscle activation it can also place excess force on the shoulder joint so proceed with caution.
If you’ve been benching your brains out think about changing your routine to incorporate these three arms exercises for a fearlessly sleeveless summer instead! Are there any arms exercises that really do the trick for you? Please share your most effective upper body exercises with us in the comments below.
As an editor at SHAPE I have the chance to learn about the healthiest ways to cook, eat, and live from all sorts of experts but I’m also a single girl living in NYC with a busy schedule, active social life, and chocolate cravings. I’m here to share what works for me—and where I need a little help from you.