When it comes to upper arm workouts, you’ve got your Holy Trinity: push-ups, tricep dips and bicep curls. But depending on where you’re at in your fitness, these may not work for you.
We break down four ways to upgrade or adjust your arm workouts for better results.
The Weightless Bicep Curl
Before you hit the racks, it’s important for you to master the bicep curl without weights. Sure, they look easy, but doing it wrong means you’re putting yourself at risk for injuries. “Secondly, it will develop the muscle without causing too much stress or pain on the bicep,” says Matt Curran, head trainer at Body20 EMS Studio in Sandton.
Your move: Tuck one end of a resistance band under your feet, and slip your hands (palms up) under the other end. Now, do your curl, making sure you check your form in the mirror. Not sure how to do it? Get the June copy of Women’s Health, on shelf now for step-by-step info.
To Level Up
The Horizontal TRX Chin Up
It’s something to try after you’ve mastered the bicep curl, and want to challenge your core a bit more, and even work your way up to a pull-up. Be warned: hanging from those ropes is a challenge. “This movement will create more stability in your trunk and lower back. It’s a great way to master the pull up progression,” says Curran.
Your move: Rest your feet against the wall or on the floor. Start by grabbing the TRX bands, palm side facing up, and your arms extended. Your body should form a diagonal line with the floor. Pull yourself up by curling your hand towards you. Tough? We thought so.
For Level 3 Gains
Assisted Chin Up
Ready for the next round? Try a chin up. It’ll be hard at first – get yourself ready by acing pull-ups. When you get there, try this move. “This can be performed with the assistance of a resistance band , hooked under your knees, or by getting your training partner to assist you,” says Curran.
Your move: Grab the pull-up bar, with palms facing you and your arms a little closer than shoulder-width apart. Keeping your torso straight, pull yourself up on the bar until your chin touches.
If You’re Injured
Studios like Body20 offer EMS training, which is basically electrical stimuli that increases muscle contraction without the need for weights, which would add strain to joints and ligaments. “It is also important to note that Body20 EMS training does not only isolate the bicep but trains the antagonistic muscle, the triceps, at the same time offering a far more functional training experience in less time,” says Curran.
Your move: Book a session at Body20 to get some electric gains.