This Weekend Challenge addresses the often-overlooked triceps, which are the muscles along the back of the upper arm. With “sleeveless shirt season” right around the corner here in the Northern Hemisphere, it is a timely exercise for firming up the upper arms.
But that’s not all. Strong triceps stabilize the elbow joint and help build bone in the humerus (upper arm) bone. These muscles also enhance the performance of many daily activities, improving quality of life, which is especially relevant for seniors, so we’ll look at the reasons why.
The triceps’ full name is the triceps brachii, a muscle with three heads: long, lateral, and medial. All of these heads have their insertion points in the elbow joint. The long head originates at the scapula (shoulder blade) and includes the shoulder joint. The lateral head originates at the back of the humerus (upper arm bone), and the medial head, which lies below the lateral and long heads, also originates at the back of the humerus.
The simple act of straightening your arm (elbow extension) uses your triceps. You perform this motion dozens if not hundreds of times in a single day, whether you’re serving a cup of tea on the table or putting your phone down on your desk. If you hold your elbow at an angle, say to draw a picture or write with a pen, you are also using your triceps.
Other activities that involve the triceps include:
- Overhead throwing
- Dips (reverse push-ups)
- Catching a ball
You might think that because you use your triceps so frequently, they will stay toned and in good shape. But the problem is that daily use does not regularly challenge the triceps. The good news is, there are targeted exercises like the Dynamic Arm Strengthener that strengthen the triceps, making daily activities easier to perform, boosting confidence, and increasing activity and energy levels.
For seniors, this is especially significant. In fact, research shows a 20-40% loss of muscle strength in both men and women by the age of seventy-five, so it’s of particular importance for seniors to exercise regularly and address weak areas.1
The insidious process of muscle loss, also known as sarcopenia, makes everyday tasks seem more and more difficult, creating feelings of discouragement and a sense that you’re “not up to it.” This reduction in activity not only deprives your bones and muscles of the stimulation they need to stave off bone loss, but it can also give rise to bone-damaging depression.
Because both bone density and muscle strength and tone tend to decrease with age, it’s all the more important to follow the alkalizing, clinical nutrition plan described in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program in addition to targeted exercises like today’s move.
So what better way to get started on staving off sarcopenia than with this Weekend Challenge? And there are three more challenges below that make great follow-ups to this one.
You’ll need two weights, such as small dumbbells or bottles of water.
- Hold one weight in each hand.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent.
- Bring the weights up over your head. This is the starting position.
- Now lower the weights behind your head by bending your elbows.
- From this position, straighten your elbows again to bring your arms back to the starting position.
- Repeat steps 4 and 5 ten times, or for as long as many reps as you are comfortable. You can repeat this set of 10 several times if you like, or intersperse them throughout your regular workout.
We suggest you continue with the following Weekend Challenges that target the same area:
At the Save Institute, we know it’s much easier to stay motivated if bone-building exercises are accessible, simple, and don’t require special equipment or even a lot of space. So we are committed to bringing you these kinds of exercises, and if there’s one you can’t do for whatever reason, stay tuned – there’s always another exercise right around the corner (or already on the Save Our Bones website) that may be a perfect fit for you.
Take Exercising For Your Bones to the Next Level!
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So enjoy your upper body strength and renewed confidence this spring! And for Savers in the Southern Hemisphere, welcome autumn with stronger triceps and a commitment to keep exercising even as the weather turns cooler.
Have a great weekend!
1 Doherty, T.J. “Invited review: Aging and sarcopenia.” Journal of Applied Physiology. October 2003. 95(4): 1717-27. Web. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12970377