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Upper body strength powers triathlon performance

Written by Matt Westenburg

With more than 18 years of experience as a certified public accountant, Matt has helped companies develop & validate business models, raise capital and provide management expertise. He enjoys working with entrepreneurs who are passionate about achieving their goals and bettering the community. He was voted the Silicon Prairie “Service Provider of the Year” and has been recognized multiple times for his contributions to the local entrepreneurial community.

It’s easy to scoff at the meatheads with huge biceps but there are some real benefits to having good upper body strength. A strong upper body increases your confidence in a couple ways. There’s no doubt that your arms and shoulders will look good but you’ll also feel more confident in yourself and your abilities. For example, you’ll never have to ask for help opening that stubborn jar of pickles. Triathletes will find upper body strength training especially useful in improving their race performance.

What is your “upper body”?

Upper body is a general term that describes the muscles in your hands, lower arm, upper arm, shoulder, chest and back. Combined, these muscle groups help you do everything from using a pencil to giving your kids a piggyback ride. It’s important to target each of these muscles with different strengthening exercises.

Upper body strength for everyday activities

As you age, your upper body strength can naturally deteriorate. This makes you more likely to suffer from various injuries. Everyday activities like pouring a glass of milk, reaching for your car keys and carrying your groceries are controlled by the muscles in your upper body. People who prioritize strength training will have an easier time managing these activities and notice an improved quality of life.

Triathletes depend on upper body strength

The muscles in your upper body support good posture and form. This is especially important for triathletes. Most triathletes understand the importance of upper body strength for the swimming portion of the race. Your biceps and pectoral muscles power each stroke. What some people don’t realize is that every aspect of your triathlon training depends on upper body muscles.

Cyclists are bent over the handlebars of their bikes, which puts a lot of force on their arms and shoulders. Back and shoulder muscles help provide stability during hill climbs.

People who run distance will notice their shoulders start to hunch when they get tired. This slows you down. Strong shoulders keep you running upright with good form. The muscle groups in your back and shoulders help power your arm swings for more speed.

Cyclists are bent over the handlebars of their bikes, which puts a lot of force on their arms and shoulders. Back and shoulder muscles help provide stability during hill climbs. You’ll have a more comfortable ride and a better performance once you strengthen your upper body.

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