The “Brachium” Training

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Brachium or to be known as the whole human arm is basically vital to anyone. It doesn’t take a lot of time for these small groups of muscles to be worked and equally as important as any other parts, especially for runners who require shoulder strength regardless if you swing your arms a lot or less. The movement of shoulders will put a lot of strain on the shoulder joints. Together with a strong balanced bicep and triceps, you will get an upright tall comfortable run for hours.

FACT OF THE MONTH

The shoulder joint has the greatest range of motion from all other joints in our body thus it is quite vulnerable to weak or overuse injuries. It is also quite complicated too being at an axis of many tendons, bones and muscles from most upper body connected in some ways. It is always a good idea to start with light or no weight for some shoulder exercises and strengthening it slowly if you’re a complete beginner.

Benefit Of Shoulders, Biceps & Triceps Exercises Using Machines

Unlike chest, back and lower body, smaller muscles are harder to control (balance) with free weights hence with machines and controlled movement, is much easier to deal with for a start. Shoulders, biceps and triceps are the assisting secondary muscles for main upper body muscles and you may not be able to target the bigger upper body muscles with weak small muscles

How To Start

If you have never done strength training before, you may feel soreness after the first session. It is normal and should subside in a few days. Take it really easy on your first attempt and increase the intensity gradually by adding more repetitions every other week.

Rules Of Thumb

  • Intensity
    Always use the RPE scale (rate of perceived exertion) from 1-10, one being the easiest and 10 being the hardest. Keep the scale at 5-7 on your first few sessions always and progress to 8 or max gradually as you get stronger.
    Focus on 8-12 repetitions (reps) to near fatigue of 3 sets per exercise for general fitness and increase to 15-25 reps to near fatigue to train on muscular endurance for running benefit after a few week
  • Frequency
    Twice a week is a good start with some rest days in between strength training. You may do three sessions a week with a day of rest in between after a few weeks.
  • Caution
    Stay away from strength training 2-3 days to your key races so that your muscles are not sore and fresh for the race. Focus on stretching instead.

Medical Clearance/advice

Regardless of age, you should get a doctors clearance before embarking on the exercises shown here, especially if you are a smoker, have generic heart problems, high blood pressure or any serious injuries of past or present.  Chances of minor injuries and minor muscle pulls are possible from any form of exercises and extra care should be taken to understand the exercise shown here with proper warm up.

 

Bicep Curl Machine

Adjust the seat for underarms to rest on the pad, straighten the back and curl up slowly at 3 seconds while flexing/activating the bicep muscles and release slower at 4 seconds. Repeat right before your arms straighten.

TIP OF THE MONTH

As you advance and your muscles become stronger, shoulder exercises should be done with free weights whenever possible because the ‘fixed’ movement in some machines may not move with your natural shoulder range of motion. Also, the minimum weight of most machines is too heavy for a beginner.


Shoulder Press Cable

Always start with very lightweight. Seat with your back supported on the bench. Start with hands at ears level and push up to almost but not straight and release slowly while resisting weights down. Do not over exert shoulders.


Triceps Extension Machine

Rest arms on the pad, ‘extend’ or ‘push’ weights forward while activating triceps muscles, extend arms almost straight with controlled movement and retract slowly as though resisting weight from returning to start. Keep your back straight at all times.


Shoulder Lateral Raise Machine

Seat with your back supported on the bench. Raise pads with your upper arms parallel to floor but not too high. Release slowly to start position. Keep your torso straight at all times.


Triceps Pushdown Cable

Stand facing and away from the cable with your feet at shoulder width apart and a little arch at the lower back, start at 90 degrees elbow, push down to almost straight and flex triceps muscles and release slowly as weights retract back to start position.


Biceps hammer curl cable

Stand one foot forward with upright posture. Curl up while flexing bicep muscles and release slowly. Repeat right before your arms straighten.