Beautiful Biceps

Muscle of the Month: Biceps brachii

Bicep- Ottawa massage blogBiceps are one of the most recognizable muscles. Long before the bulging biceps of Popeye, the bicep has been a symbol of strength.

Though not one of the major muscle groups of the upper body, the bicep still plays a role in elbow and shoulder movements. The bicep helps with lifting and pulling, which are essential motions for all of us.

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How-to: Tone your arms at home

As the temperature rises, so do the sleeves. But are your arms ready for the summer? Be it to look good in that summer dress, hit the golf course stronger, or just to live healthier, adding a targeted arm workout to your regime can help you achieve your goals. Read on for a quick arm workout you can do from the comfort of your own home.

Each section has a band exercise and a body-weight exercise. The band exercises target specific parts of the muscles, while the body-weight exercises work the arm as a whole with added core strengthening.


Band exercise

Front raises, lateral raises, rear delt raises: Begin this shoulder series by standing in the centre of your band. Hold the ends of the bands loosely in each hand. With bands in hand, bring your arms forward to 90 degrees and hold. Release back to neutral. Continue exercise by bringing arms to sides and raise to 90 degrees, release back to neutral. Finally, extend arms back as far as possible and release to neutral. Repeat this series 10 times for 3 sets. This exercise works all the deltoid fibres to sculpt a strong shoulder.ottawa_massage_blog_shoulders series


Plank to push-up: Start in a push-up position, arms extendeded fully under shoulders, body flat and resting on tip toes. From this position, bend each arm, one at a time, until you arrive in a plank position on your elbows. Do the same motion to return to push-up position. Repeat by starting with the other arm leading. Do as many as you can in 45 seconds, rest for 15 seconds. Repeat for 3 rounds. Not only do your shoulders get a great workout, so do your abdominals. Perform on your knees if too challenging on toes.

ottawa massage blog - push up to plank


Band exercise

Extensions: Tie your band around a sturdy object that is higher than your head, such as the top of a support beam, a stairway banister or a handle. In the photo below, the band was knotted in the centre and wedged into the top door crack. Begin the exercise with arms at 90 degrees. Slowly extend arms from the elbow, until fully extended. Return to start position. Do this exercise for 12 reps for 3 sets. This exercise isolates your triceps.Ottawa massage blog - tricep extensions


Dips: Prop yourself up on your hands on the edge of a chair. Have your legs extended out fully in front of you. Slowly lower yourself down so that your elbows bend. Once at 90 degrees, press yourself back up to the starting position. Repeat as often as you can in 45 seconds, rest for 15 seconds, for 3 rounds. Not only are you working your triceps here against your own body weight, you are also engaging your core.

Ottawa massage blog - tricep dip


Band exercise

Curls: Tie your band around a sturdy object close to the ground (heavy table leg, support beam). In the photo below, a knot was tied in the centre of the band and it was wedged into the base of a door. Hold the bands loosely in hands with arms resting around 90 degrees. Perform the exercise by slowly bringing the hands towards the shoulders, bending at the elbow. Release back to the starting position. Repeat 12 times for 3 sets. This exercise isolates the biceps. Ottawa massage blog - bicep curls


Bicep push-ups: This exercise is an adaptation of the push-up.  In the push-up position, bring your hands out wider than your shoulders, and rotate out so your thumbs point forward. Lower down to the ground, hugging your elbows close to the body. Repeat as many times you can over a 45-seconds-on, 15-seconds-rest round. Do 3 rounds. This exercise is working your biceps, shoulders, pecs and core. Perform on your knees if too challenging on toes.

ottawa massage blog - bicep pushup

Check in with your RMT to ensure you are performing each exercise correctly, and that they are safe for your body.