Friday, February 6, 2009

Strengthening a "Weak" Arm + Rock Climbing Exercises

Guest blogger: Dr. Scott Calzaretta

Natalia has two questions. She has used the BodyRev for years and she’s now back at the gym 2x a week after a 6-month hiatus.

Question: Although Rev’ing has strengthened her arms, when she gets to the Butterfly machine, her left arm is unbelievably weaker (she’s right-handed) – what to do?

Imbalances of greater that 10% may mean something more than just weakness and should be checked by a sports medicine specialist. If there are no underlying issues, than I prefer dumbbells or cables to help focus on the weak arm and stabilizers (no cheating here). Typically, doing this with the addition of an extra set or two on the weak side can be a quick fix. If you are doing light weights, then we add more weight to the weak side and keep reps at 6-10 per set. Get help from a trainer in the gym and let them watch your form as well.

Question: Her 13 year-old “Little Sister” is Rock Climbing at the gym: what kinds of exercises will help her? What should she avoid, other than falling (they do have harnesses)?

The Perfect Pullup is a great device for rock climbing. You can work out the entire body in the comfort of your home. Grip and finger strengthening is also an area of focus. The nice part of climbing is that, for the most part, the activity itself will strengthen her naturally.

1 comment:

Up My Mind said...

Thanks Dr Scott.

I'll try your suggestion for my left arm.

Yes, the gym has harnesses and belayers. The only time she climbs without it is when she boulders, and they limit how high you can go.

I'll work with her on pull-ups. Thanks again. And thanks for your responses to the other questions. I learned some good things.