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Get Stronger! (Part 4/4)

“To keep the body in good health is a duty. Otherwise we shall not

be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” Buddha

Parts 1 & 2 in this series focussed on strengthening exercises for the lower body. Please see the December 2017 & January 2018 posts for these. Parts 3 & 4 focus on strengthening exercises for the upper body including the back, chest, shoulders and arms.


Strengthening exercises do have a risk of being too challenging and with this in mind need to approached with common-sense. The exercises I have outlined below are intended for someone who is new to upper body exercise and are safe for most people to do. That said, if you have any pain beyond mild discomfort when you do the exercises, or if that discomfort does not improve in subsequent workouts, or if there is any reason you feel you should not do them (eg. recent trauma, underlying joint problem in back or shoulder) please do not do them and see a qualified health professional for specific advice.

-Movements should be slow and controlled and returned to the start position.

-Use a weight that you can do 10 repetitions in a controlled manner.

-These exercises are done for both sides. Begin by doing 10 repetitions per set, 2 sets per work out. --

-Try 2 workouts a week.

-Add repetitions/heavier weights to your sets as your strength increases.

-You will require a weight bench and variety of dumbbells for these.


Forearms Curl

Sitting with your feet flat on the floor, rest the backs of your forearms on the front of your thighs. With weights in hand, allow your wrists to shift beyond your knees. Allow weight to slowly extend to the floor, then slowly curl your wrist to bring the weight back up to its’ start position. You should feel this in the wrist flexor muscles located in the anterior forearm.


Shoulder Flies

Standing with your feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent, grasp weights off a bench. Have the weights in your hands so your palms are facing downwards and your arms are at your side. Keeping your wrist and elbow straight and moving at your shoulder, raise the weights to the level of your chest. Slowly lower the weights to the start position. You shoulder feel this in the deltoid muscle located in the lateral shoulder.


Shoulder Press

Standing with your feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent, grasp weights off a bench with your palms facing forward. Now raise and rotate your shoulders so that the weights are nearly in line with your ears. Keeping your wrists locked, straighten your elbows and push the weights up toward the the ceiling. Slowly lower the weights so they return to the position in line with your ears. You should feel this the pectoralis and deltoid muscles located in the upper chest and around the shoulder.


Elbow Curl

Standing with your feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent, grasp weights off a bench with your palms facing forward. With the weights facing forward and your elbows tucked into your side slowly bring the weights up toward your chin. You should feel this in the brachioradialis muscle located around the elbow.


This is the conclusion of the “Get Stronger” series. The 16 exercises outlined in this series are an efficient, safe and effective way to build capacity and resilience in your body. I regularly recommend some or all of these exercises to my patients in clinical practice.

I hope you enjoyed reading. As always keep active and stay strong!

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