Mimi Zumwalt, MD
Now that winter is in full effect, what better reason to pump up those arm muscles other than to get ready by summer time to show them off at the beach under bright sunlight? Aside from this aesthetic reason, functionally strong triceps and biceps will also serve you well in not only activities of daily living, but also for when you’re engaged in fun seasonal sports such as snow or water skiing, swimming, or diving.
Anatomically speaking, the triceps brachii muscle (three for tri and arm for brachii) has 3 tendinous heads, all beginning at the back of the arm bone (humerus) and attaching to the point of the elbow (olecranon). Functionally the triceps contract to extend or straighten the elbow, enabling us to perform essential life tasks such as getting up from a chair, pushing a grocery cart or door, and holding onto the steering wheel while driving. As for the biceps brachii muscle (two for bi), these 2 tendons begin at the front of the shoulder/blade (joint/coracoid process) and end by inserting into the forearm bone (radius). This arm muscle works to flex or bend the elbow in addition to turning the palm up/out (supination). Daily functions of the biceps include turning a door knob, opening a jar lid, or pulling/lifting objects.
So what are you waiting for? Go grab some bands/cables or dumbbells/weights or jump on some resistance machines to train these two ever important arm muscles, the triceps in the back and the biceps in front. Getting these upper extremity muscles strong will not only help you to function from day to day, but also will allow you to enjoy all sorts of recreational and athletic activities to include competing in the tri-fit obstacle course. As such, you can better climb the wall, race across the monkey bars and gracefully negotiate up the cargo net with speed and strength!
Just always remember to use strict/correct technique when you’re working out. Perform all movements slow and controlled while breathing rhythmically, hold your core muscles tight and don’t lock out your joints. Do also challenge yourself but use a spotter when you can to help check your form and help you progress to the next level more effectively.
Arm Workout – Giant Set (do all six exercises without a rest; take a two minute rest and repeat for a second set).
Barbell curls – 10-15 reps
Dips or pushups – 12-20 reps
Alternate dumb bell curls – 10 reps each arm
Rope press downs – 12-15 reps
Double bicep cable curls – 12-15 reps