Biceps, Triceps and You

Five Ways to Keep Upper Arm Muscles Healthy & Strong

If the word “bicep” conjures images of over-muscled guys pumping iron in sweat-stained t-shirts, you’re only getting part of the picture—and a small part at that. Despite all the bulging biceps and triceps showcased on video, magazines and websites, scarce attention is paid to the critical function these elbow-flexor muscles play in the lives of ordinary people.

Biceps are the large muscles in the front of your upper arm. Triceps run along the back. Together, they let you extend and contract your forearm. Triceps also support the shoulder in its enormous range of motion. So from carting groceries to swinging your grandkids, they allow you to do the heavy lifting of work and play—quite literally helping you embrace life.

“From carting groceries to swinging your grandkids, biceps and triceps allow you to do the heavy lifting of work and play.”

And though their role doesn’t diminish as we age, the muscles themselves do. By the time most sedentary adults reach age 50, they’ve lost 10 to 20 percent of the muscle mass in their upper extremities. And it only gets worse over time. As many people enter their 80s, they’ve lost at least 40 percent of their arm muscles. That makes it tough to push yourself out of an armchair, let alone swing a tennis racquet.

“Sensible bicep and triceps training isn’t about ‘bulking up’ and ‘hulking out.’”

Fortunately, strength training can restore lost muscle and prevent age-related loss. Still, if you haven’t done a pushup since high school, the prospect of grabbing a pair of dumbbells and ripping through a set of curls can be intimidating. Worse, it can be dangerous. Older adults with significant muscle loss are more prone to shoulder injuries. However, with the right training and equipment, you can restore strength in these vital muscles, safely and effectively.

  1. Create an Individualized Training ProgramStrong arms begin with strong training. Find a fitness coach or personal trainer who specializes in working with adults over 50. They are best qualified to design a workout routine that build arms and other muscle groups without injury.
  2. Use Safe, Air-Powered EquipmentStrength training machines that use air-powered resistance ensure virtually injury-free workouts. Welcyon’s computerized equipment offers the additional benefit of progressively increasing intensity as you grow stronger.
  3. Maintain Proper FormKeeping your elbows in the right place is key for training biceps and triceps. Good machines are designed to encourage good form. But it takes a well-trained coach to make subtle adjustments and provide expert instruction.
  4. Keep Them BalancedWhether you’re fly fishing or hanging laundry, your biceps and triceps work in concert together. So you should train them that way, too. Make sure your workout routine engages both biceps and triceps during the same session. This ensures complimentary development of each muscle group.
  5. Warm Up & Cool DownTen minutes of vigorous cardio exercise—just enough to build a little heat and sweat—is a great way to prepare your muscles for strength training. Skipping this step could lead to strain or injury. After your workout, it’s important to cool down with some gentle stretching.

Remember, sensible bicep and triceps training isn’t about “bulking up” and “hulking out.” With safe, consistent workouts, you’ll tone up, build strength, and keep your arms wide open for a lifetime of enriching experiences and activities.

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Claims of increased strength are based on an analysis of 716 members who exercised for two years. Results will vary based on each individual’s level of participation. Wellness claims are based on evidence in health and exercise science literature.
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