Long time, no post! So here is the final part to my dynamic stretching trilogy – stretching out and warming up your arms! I feel like arms can be overlooked pre-workout. It seems like people always just stretch out their quads and hamstrings (myself included) and then go! That being said, there also isn’t as much research into stretching your arms, as again, people tend to not focus on them as much. Here are just a few that target the main upper extremity muscle groups you will be working.
1) Inchworm push-ups: This is a double-whammy! Not only does it warm up your pecs, biceps, and triceps (as well as your shoulder), but you are also firing your core (or should be) and getting a hamstring stretch in with it! You can also do this post-ankle injury to help promote more dorsiflexion mobility. All you do is flex (bend) forward at the hips and reach your hands to the ground. If you cannot reach, bend knees slightly until you can touch the ground. SLOWLY walk hands out a few inches at a time (hence, INCHWORM) until you reach a push-up position. From here, complete the push-up, then “inch” your way back and stand up. (Also, sorry my push-ups are sub-par — currently not supposed to be doing any upper body work outs, oops).
2) Pec swing: This helps to target your pectoral muscle(s) flexibility and can be specifically performed before you bench press or perform a push-up test to help loosen up those muscles. Either flex trunk forward while sitting or do while standing. Horizontally abduct arms (bring them out to the side) to ~90, then horizontally adduct (bring them back in to your chest). *Progress with chest on exercise ball using both or one leg to balance. This progression will help to engage your core. AND if you want to do this less as a warm-up and more as an exercise – try it with weights! Balancing on the exercise ball can get pretty interesting…
3) Tricep swing: This helps to focus on your triceps flexibility. Sit upright with elbow extended at 90 degrees of flexion. Raise arm to 180 degrees while fully flexing elbow. Return to beginning position. Make it harder by sitting on an exercise ball or standing on a bosu ball to help engage and warm up your core!
4) Shoulder rolls: This is just nice to loosen up your traps before you lift. Just remember with some lifts, you don’t want to pull that upper trap and compensate for the motion you are actually trying to accomplish (For example, shoulder flexion — don’t lean and shrug that shoulder if you can’t get the weight up! Respect your body and lower the weight until you get the proper form correct!)
PLEASE be mindful of your body when performing any upper body activity. It is so easy to get what is known as an “impingement” because of improperly balanced muscles in your shoulder region. If it hurts, stop and consult someone about it (preferably a physical therapist, but I am biased, but also honest).
Hope you all have a wonderful day! 🙂
“The only thing that stands between you and your dream is the will to try and the belief that it is actually possible.”