Alright, listen up you noodle-armed weaklings! You're being called to duty in Sweat City's war against wusses!
We're here today to fight for anybody who's ever had to ask for help carrying their groceries... for anyone who's ever used rolling wheels on their luggage... for anyone who's ever worn a t-shirt under their basketball jersey... for anyone who's never had to officially register their arms as "guns."
It's time to put some muscle on those toothpicks that you call arms! So you're due to report to the next paragraph in 00:01 hours for Boot Camp!
OK, bootcampers, thanks for showing up on time (unless it took you over a minute to make it between paragraphs). It's time for you pencil-necked geeks to get down and dirty. Today I'm going to teach you about what it takes to get those arms into tip-top shape so you no longer have to wonder what it's like to wear a tanktop in the summertime. Do I have your 100% attention?
"SIR, YES, SIR!"
The easiest way to think about the muscles on your upper arm is to divide it into 3 sections: the shoulder, the bicep, and the tricep. I'll be highlighting the functionality of each section of your upper arm and give you a few drills to strengthen each. And I'll give you a super secret tip to get your biceps to the next level.
The shoulder area is one of the complex sections of your body. The shoulder itself is a ball-and-socket joint that allows for your arm to move 3-dimensionally. Proper care of the shoulder joint and the muscles around it are imperative for throwing, lifting, and moving the rest of the arm.
There are 3 exercises I'll share with you to strengthen the different parts of your shoulder:
1.) Front of shoulder
Holding a 5-15lb weight, extend your straight arm out as though you are shaking hands (thumb on top of your hand). Raise this straight arm until the weight is shoulder height. Lower in a slow and controlled motion.
2.) Side of shoulder (deltoid)
Similar to the front of shoulder exercise, but this time you are raising your straight arm out to your side. Keep your palm faced down, knuckles up. Keep good posture and make sure it takes at least 3-5 seconds to lower your arm back down to your side. Embrace the burn!
3.) Back of shoulder/rotator cuff
For anyone that plays a sport requiring them to throw a ball, it's imperative that they strengthen their rotator cuff. To do this, use a 5 lb weigh (not heavy!) and have your arm up in a 90 degree angle (like you are waving). Your elbow should be at shoulder height, and your hand should be directly above your elbow. Keeping your elbow still, rotate your arm towards the ground until your hand is now directly below your elbow. Return back to the waving position. You should feel the back of your shoulder working. Pitchers/quarterbacks should do this every day!
Ahh the bicep. The ultimate glamour muscle. Also known as the "gun show." Everyone wants beautiful biceps. Your bicep is responsible for bending your arm and for anytime you are pulling on an object.
Great drills to strengthen the bicep include pull-ups, rows, and any type of curling motion where you bring your hand towards your shoulder.
But here's the secret that not many people know when it comes to sculpting your guns...You actually strengthen your muscles more during the "eccentric" or "negative" motion of the lift. What the heck does this mean? If you are curling a weight "concentrically" by bringing your hand up to your shoulder, you will actually work your muscles better as you lower the weight and straighten your arm back out. So lower the weight SLOWLY and allow your muscles to work as your muscle is lengthening back out.
The tricep is on the back of your upper arm and is responsible for straightening your arm and for pushing objects. The triceps is important in sports when you are throwing a ball, blocking a defender, or getting up off the ground.
The best drills for the triceps are pushups and seated drips. To isolate the triceps, you can grab a weight and reach straight up above your head. Keeping you elbow still, bend your arm directly down and then extend it back up to the starting position.
Now that you know what you need to do, it's time for your scrawny-armed slackers to get sweating! The next time I see you, the sleeves better be falling off your shirt!
Get your butts to Boot Camp!
Armed and Dangerous,