How do you feel about arm day?
Do you look forward to it? Or does arm day got you like UGH…
Do you dread it? Think it’s a waste of time? If you tend to skip arm day…why? What’s your reason?
Working out our upper body is about more than just looking good. Having toned arms and shoulders is a bonus, but did you know there are real health benefits to having upper body strength?
Check out some of the top reasons for building and maintaining a strong upper body:
Injury and Aging: Celebrity trainer Jillian Michaels shared that, “If your upper body strength deteriorates as you age, you are more prone to injuries, disease and a diminished quality of life.” We naturally tend to lose muscle as we age. This is called sarcopenia and begins as early as your 20s. You can lose up to 40 percent of your muscle mass by the time you reach your 60s.
By continuing to work on upper body strength we can combat some of this muscle loss, avoid injuries, and ensure we are able to perform everyday activities such as reaching, pulling, pushing and lifting. Having a strong upper body also improves your flexibility, mobility and range of motion….all things super important to runners who want to run for life.
Posture and Form: With the amount of time we spend hunched over phones, computers, desks and behind the wheel of our cars, most of us suffer from some imbalances relating to our posture. Consistent strength training can help us overcome these imbalances.
As distance runners, we can especially benefit from a strong upper body because our shoulders tend to slump and hunch as we get fatigued. Drooped posture will ultimately slow us down and could result in pain and injury.
Trim down and boost your metabolism: Having trouble trimming down? In addition to high intensity exercise, strength training is an excellent way to get rid of that stubborn, excess body fat, because working your muscles is the key to firing up your metabolism.
Our muscles follow the “use it or lose it” principle. This means that more muscle mass you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate and the more calories you burn throughout the day…even when you’re not working out. Strength training causes you to continue burning more calories for up to 72 hours after the exercise is over through a phenomenon called after-burn. Burn calories AFTER working out? Sign me up! 🙂
What more motivation do you need? Let’s get to work!
Day 10 exercises: 2 sets of 10
- Front and Side Arm Raises
- Incline Push Ups
- Rolling Forearm Side Plank
- Tricep Dip with Leg Lifted
- Plank Challenge Day 10 – Plank Jacks (:45 3X)
Day 11 Plank Challenge – Plank Jacks: You know how to do these! They are fun, a great full body workout, and will get that heart pumping. Give it your all!
Bonus: Ab & Squat Challenge – Day 11: Numbers are going up! Break it into sets and add it to your daily rounds to make it easier to get it done.
- 40 Sit Ups (2 sets of 20)
- 50 Crunches (2 sets of 25)
- 65 Squats (2 sets of 30 + 5 at the end)
Extra Credit: #OneMoreRound! Throw in another round of our Day 11 exercises and feel the burn in those arms! Come on….it’ll only take a few minutes!
Speed Work: Did you do your speed work this week? Don’t care about getting faster? That’s cool…there’s absolutely nothing wrong with your pace….no matter what your pace is.
But did you know that speed work also helps you go longer too? Yep. Speed work improves your running economy. Shorter, faster repeats train your body to burn less fuel while going further. It’s like getting better gas mileage for your legs.
Jeff Gaudette, a two time Division-I All-American in Cross Country at Brown University, says that inattention to speed development, “impairs your ability to generate explosive muscle power, which results in the decline of running efficiency and economy and, eventually, form starts to break down. This loss of speed is even more pronounced with age, as studies show speed is the first of your abilities to deteriorate as you get older.”
Yes, it’s uncomfortable. Yes, it hurts. Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable.
Running is hard. Running faster is even harder.
Bart Yasso, marathon winner and five time Ironman said, “The only way to advance in our sport is to go to the uncomfortable zone. Embrace the pain, and you will be rewarded at the finish line.”
“Advancing” means different things to all of us. Whatever it means to you…embrace that goal. Push through the pain…because the pain won’t last…but quitting will.