When I create my exercise programs, I think about all the ways I use a particular body part and how I want it to be used. In this case, my arms, I want to lift and reach things. My arms need to be strong so I can carry a ton of bags of groceries up the three flights of stairs to my apartment. I need to be able to lift things down from high places because I am short.
To do that – I need good range of motion (ROM) in my shoulders. I need to be able to move my arm in all directions. I need strength in my biceps and triceps (the muscles of my upper arm).
I, also, want to prevent injuries such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Tennis elbow. Both are injuries caused by repeated motion. They are both preventable.
I made up my exercises based on techniques I learned when I was in college and when I worked with home clients. None of these require anything but a little time.
Chair swimming – I played with this exercise for months before I got it the way I wanted it. Sit far enough in the front of the chair (doesn’t have to be the edge) that you don’t hit your elbows on the back of the chair. Lift your arms until they are parallel with the ground and bend your elbows until your hands almost touch your shoulder. You should look like you have chicken wings. The motion is similar to doing a front crawl in the pool. Moving just your shoulders, rotate the elbows in a circle, one side and then the other, keeping the hand close to the shoulder if you can. Feel free to make the motion as large or as small as desired. Don’t forget to reverse it and go towards the back.
Hand Lifts – Arms parallel to the ground, similar to the chair swimming except that your forearm sits perpendicular to the upper arm (like a corner). Keep your hands locked and fingers together. Lift with the upper arm until the fingers touch. Return to the base position. Repeat.
Arm Lifts – Stick your arms out in front of you, as if you were pretending to be a mummy. Lift one until your side, shoulder and arm form a straight line. Return to position and repeat. Do the same with the other side.
I start a new exercise with a set of ten. I like to vary the speed in which I do the exercises. Doing them slow works the muscles a little more while doing them fast works the joints more. When they become too easy then I increase the set number by five.
Don’t do anything that hurts and if you have a medical issue that could be made worse with these exercises then please consult your doctor. As I have said before, I am not a licensed physician and this is a routine I do for myself.