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Developing Upper Body Strength with Gymstick

The Gymstick, crowned as the best home fitness tool in Australia in 2006, has consistently proven its worth. Voted by The Daily Telegraph and featured in women’s fitness and health magazines, it made a remarkable resurgence during the lockdown in 2020. Renowned for its versatility, Gymstick remains a popular choice in Group Fitness and Personal Training.

Versatility Beyond Upper Body Focus

While our focus today is on sculpting the upper body – arms, chest, biceps, and triceps – it’s essential to highlight Gymsticks’ holistic approach. With attachment points strategically placed, the challenge on the body’s musculature extends to maintaining a stable trunk position, activating the core even in basic exercises. The lever arch created by Gymsticks’ design enhances joint strength and stability, ensuring a comprehensive workout experience.

Elevating Movements with Eccentric Control

To complete movements, Gymstick demands more eccentric control than traditional free weights. This heightened control not only aids in maintaining tendon integrity but also reduces the risk of injury. Gymsticks unique design fosters joint proprioception, providing resistance and feedback to postural muscles during standing exercises.

Benefits Galore

  • Targeted Muscle Engagement: Gymstick strengthens large muscle groups and smaller neglected muscles around joints.
  • Variety in Resistance: Adding resistance not reliant on gravity reduces the risk of injury by pulling from below the centre of gravity.
  • Safe Explosive Power Development: A secure substitute for weight-related jumps, fostering explosive muscular power development.
  • Adjustable Resistance: Quick transitions and effortless resistance adjustments during exercise ensure a seamless workout.

Resistance Training Harmony

Elastic resistance, Gymsticks forte, parallels free-weight resistance in crucial properties. Both offer resistance, a free range of motion, variable speed, and progressive resistance. But, Gymsticks’ distinctive feature lies in its ability to load the transverse plane efficiently, providing a unique angle for rotational movements and training deceleration.

Muscle Activation and Size Increase

Studies reveal that Gymsticks resistance exercises parallel free-weight training in activating muscle fibres, increasing muscle strength and size, and decreasing body fat. This makes Gymstick an effective tool for those seeking muscle growth and overall fitness improvements. Unlike free weights, Gymsticks’ elastic resistance maintains continuous tension throughout the range of motion. The unique benefit of linear variable resistance ensures increased muscle fibre engagement as the range of motion expands.

Perfecting Posture and Joint Stability

Gymstick provides instant feedback on shoulder and hip positioning, particularly beneficial for overhead exercises. Scapula retraction and shoulder stabilisation are enhanced, promoting optimal technique and joint positioning. During shoulder presses, for example, the line of pull minimises muscle imbalances, ensuring effective recruitment of the entire shoulder complex.

Let’s explore some Gymstick exercises that specifically target and strengthen the shoulders, chest, biceps, and triceps.

  1. Standing Shoulder Press: With one band on each foot, stand with your legs at a hip distance. Holding the Gymstick at shoulder level, wider than shoulder width, take both arms straight overhead. From this base movement, you can add a lower body exercise (e.g. lunge) and/or rotational movement of the torso to progress this exercise.
Standing Shoulder Press
  1. Kneeling Triceps Extension: With both bands on one foot, step the other leg through and come into a kneeling position. Starting with the Gymstick behind your head and keeping a narrow grip on the Gymstick, extend the arms overhead. Maintain a slow controlled movement and ensure the elbows remain tucked in and facing forward. To increase the challenge of this exercise, rise to a split stance position: add a split squat or balance on the front leg and donkey kick the rear leg back while continuing the triceps extension.
Kneeling Triceps Extension
  1. Biceps Curl: Secure one band on each foot, gripping the Gymstick with an underhand grip. This exercise seamlessly combines the benefits of a biceps curl with the bonus engagement of an abdominal curl, or rotation, showcasing the effectiveness of targeting multiple muscle groups simultaneously. You can explore multiple positions (seated to standing) for the biceps curl, as well as incorporate lower body movements. For added intensity, isolate one arm for a single arm curl when the feet are aligned.
Standing Biceps Curl
Biceps Curl with Abdominal Curl
Standing Biceps Curl with Rotation
  1. Standing Upright Row: This example of a standing upright row has the bands positioned on both feet with feet evenly spread. Keeping a firm straight wrist, pull the Gymstck up to chest height, with the elbows lifting out over the stick at all times. This exercise targets the anterior deltoid, medial deltoid, and upper trapezius. Another versatile that can be performed in a split stance position will add an element of stability through the torso to stop the body from rotating with the line of pull from where the bands are attached. Many variations and extensions can be added to this simple exercise to work multiple muscle groups.
Standing Upright Row
  1. Underhand Front Raise with Rotation: Primarily this exercise strengthens the shoulder (deltoid) muscles but also works the upper chest (chest). It’s an isolation exercise for shoulder flexors and can help you build strength and definition in the front and sides of your shoulders. By adding rotation to this movement as in the example below you will also activate the internal and external obliques.
Underhand Front Raise with Rotation

Conclusion

Enhance your upper body strength journey with Gymstick – the versatile, award-winning fitness companion that surpasses expectations. Discover the powerful combination of a straightforward upper body movement with dynamic elements like lower body exercises, rotations, and targeted abdominal work, all within a range of versatile positions. Gymstick empowers you to sculpt muscles, enhance joint stability, and promote injury prevention. It’s not just a fitness tool; it’s your gateway to a comprehensive, effective, and enjoyable upper-body workout experience that goes beyond the ordinary.

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