Weekly Fitness Challenge: When work or family life take priority over personal fitness goals, it’s time to get creative with simple exercises that slide seamlessly into your day.
It’s not clear how guys’ biceps got their nicknames — guns, pipes, pythons, take your pick — but it’s abundantly clear that the upper arm muscles between your shoulder and elbow get a lot of attention.
A common symbol of physical strength, biceps are indispensable for any task that involves lifting or pulling: Picking up heavy grocery bags, tug-of-wars, mowing and raking the lawn, romantic rowboat rides, saving damsels in distress…you get the idea.
If you want to fulfill your daily duties with ease, impress your significant other, and amuse your buddies with lines like, “Better call a plumber, ’cause these pipes are gonna burst,” then these two exercises will pump up your pythons in no time:
1. Concentration Curl
These moves can be done while seated just about anywhere: In front of the TV, in the rec room, even at the kitchen table…
The easy 3-step method:
- Sit down on a sturdy, comfortable chair. Put your feet flat on the floor and spread your knees to form a “V”. Pull your shoulders back and push your chest out.
- Grasp a weight in your right hand. Small dumbbells are ideal, but you can also use a jug of milk or a bottle of liquid laundry detergent (get creative!), use anything that can be gripped securely with your clenched fist facing toward you with the weight a few inches from your face.
- Place your right elbow on the inside of your right knee. Slowly lower the weight towards the floor, and then slowly bring it back up toward your face. Alternate between sets, by placing your left elbow on the inside of your left knee.
Tip: Use 3 counts in your movement up, hold for 1 count, and use 3 counts in your movement back down. The longer the movement takes, the more intense the exercise. Go for three sets of 10 or 12 a couple times a week and you’ll soon see results. The more you do, the firmer your bicep will get.
Better for waiting in line at the grocery store, this bicep-builder typically involves heavier weights owing to the standing position.
The easy 3-step method:
- Standing straight with your feet shoulder-width apart, let your arms hang by your sides with your fists facing inwards. Try not to let the weights touch your legs.
- Slowly curl the weights up toward your shoulders, to the point where they are nearly touching them.
- Hold the curl at its highest point for a few seconds, and then slowly lower the weights back down to your sides.
Tip: Again, three sets twice a week will work wonders, especially with a couple sets of the seated curl thrown in.
Adam Bisby is a Toronto-based freelance journalist and father of two who has been covering men’s health for more than 20 years. As well as researching and blogging for Don’t Change Much since 2015, Adam’s award-winning work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and National Post newspapers, in magazines such as Explore, Reader’s Digest and Canadian Family, and on websites including MSN and Toronto.com. Visit Adam’s website for more information on what he does.