Before you begin any exercise programme check with your doctor if you suffer from heart disease, high blood pressure, joint problems, back problems, obesity, a serious illness, or are convalescing
The following exercises concentrate on strengthening and maintaining suppleness in the shoulders, arms and wrists to be able to perform everyday upper body activities such as lifting and carrying. For some of the exercises you will need 2 small hand weights, or tin cans, or small plastic bottles filled with water or sand. Also a small soft ball (tennis) and 12 inch stick or ruler.
To strengthen front arm muscle/biceps
Sit or stand feet shoulder width apart and tuck elbows tightly into your waist. . With palms uppermost hold hand weights or small, filled plastic bottles out in front of you at waist level. Keep elbows tucked in tight throughout the exercise and simply lift weights to shoulders and lower back down 10 times with control.
The triceps muscles at the back of your arms work with the biceps muscles in the front of arms to produce strength and movement. Arms are prone to flabbiness as the years advance especially if you have had a dramatic weight loss through dieting. If not exercised regularly the triceps can become floppy.
To firm up backs of upper arm/triceps muscle
Sit or stand holding weights or bottles as before, pull in tummy to maintain good posture. Bend elbows hold weights up at chest level, pull shoulders back together and tuck elbows into waist. Hold upper arms in this position throughout exercise. Now straighten lower arm only, take them down and back behind your body (turn fists backwards at the same time). Now bend your elbows and bring weights back up to chest level again. If you keep upper arms steady with elbows tucked in throughout the exercise you’ll feel those back arm muscles working as you exercise! Repeat 10 times to strengthen triceps and tighten up those flabby “Batwings”!
To tone up arms and expand chest
Stand or sit. Raise arms up to shoulder level in front of chest, touch fingertips together, palms down and elbows bent. Part fingertips, push arms and shoulders back once with strong firm movement expanding chest. Now open arms wide and fling hands back once (palms down) working upper back, bringing shoulder blades together and expanding chest. Repeat routine 10 times
Bend elbows again and push back once, now fling arms open turning palms uppermost and push hands back once repeat routine 10 times.
To stretch out triceps muscles
Sit or stand. Bend your right elbow, take right arm up and place your right hand behind you on your upper back. Take your left hand across your chest and push your right upper arm and shoulder back as far as possible. Hold for 10 seconds. Now repeat with the left arm and hold for 10 secs.
To strengthen wrists, arms and chest
Sit or stand, bend your elbows but bring arms up to shoulder level, palms together in prayer position. Keep fingertips touching but open out palms of hands. Now close palms by pushing wrists together hard. Continue opening and closing 10 times. A small but effective exercise.
To work upper arms and chest muscles
Stand or sit. Raise arms up to shoulder level. Bend elbows and turning hands grasp opposite arms firmly at wrist level. With short, firm movements “push up” imaginary cuffs from each wrist. Feel the chest muscle jump and underarm muscle work. Repeat 10 times. An effective isometric exercise
To strengthen wrists and keep fingers supple
Sit or stand. Holding two tennis/soft balls, tuck your elbows into your waist with lower arms out in front, and palms uppermost. Keep your arms and wrists still. Squeeze and release the balls 10 times, as tightly as possible.
To strengthen wrists
Sit or stand. For this exercise you will need a stick or ruler (approx. 1 inch thick). Tie a piece of string 2 – 3 feet long securely in the middle of it. Attach a small heavy object (a filled plastic bottle or stone) to the end of the string. Hold the stick at both ends with palms of hands facing downwards. Wind up the string with a twisting action. Reverse the action by holding the stick palms upwards and unwind with control. Repeat 5 times.
To strengthen wrists and arms
Stand at least a foot away from a wall with outstretched arms. Have your feet apart and arms at shoulder level with hands flat on wall and fingers inclined inwards. Pull in your tummy, keep your head, neck and back straight, bend your elbows out and lower yourself towards the wall. Take your body weight on your wrists and hands. If possible keep your heels down; you can stretch out your calf muscles at the same time! (Don’t allow your body to sag). Push back upright and repeat 10 times.
To strengthen your wrists and arms
Sit forward in an armchair. Extend your legs straight out in front with heels to the ground and toes pointing upwards. Place your hands, with fingers facing forward, flat onto the arms of the chair. Incline your chest forward (this corrects your centre of gravity) and try lifting your bottom off the seat. Take body weight on your hands. Keep your legs straight and continue to lift and lower back down 10 times. (If this is difficult sit back into chair, and with bent knees repeat lifting and lowering, until your wrists become stronger.)