- Exercise & Fitness
Arm Stretches and Dynamic Warm Up Exercises
Last week, Sally, a good friend of mine, was complaining about her sore back. She said that it felt like someone had swung a bat between her shoulder blades. Instead of encouraging her to take a self-defense course and stay out of dark alleys, I asked her if she had worked out lately. Lingering like a gibbon, having difficulty extending her arms, she said she had gone to the gym and the pain had started throbbing later that evening. The cause of Sally’s soreness was clear. She had neglected to do proper warm up exercises before her workout. This article will outline a few simple arm stretches and dynamic warm up exercises to follow so that you don’t end up in the same predicament as my friend.
Easy arm stretches
It is important to spend a few minutes stretching your arms before you do any heavy weightlifting. As you get older, it becomes even more necessary to stretch since your muscles and ligaments will become less resilient with age. People who skip this step will have trouble extending their arms and have achy biceps afterwards – especially near the joints, around the elbow area. Below are a few dynamic warm up exercises and arm stretches you can do for your biceps, triceps and other muscles:
This is probably the most effective way to stretch your biceps. Find a wall or a sturdy object that doesn’t move, such as one of the weight machines in the gym or a sturdy pole. A wall usually works best. Facing the wall, extend your arm fully and place your palm against the wall. Put your other hand on the wall for support. Lean forward slowly, turn your head away from the arm that you are stretching and feel the stretch along your bicep. Hold it for at least 10 seconds and do the other arm. Don’t bounce or do it too quickly since you could aggravate the muscle. Repeat the stretch three times for each arm. To target all areas of the bicep, you can try adjusting your hand’s positioning against the wall.
Your triceps can get sore after a workout as well so it is important not to forget about them. They are easy to stretch too. All you need is your body – no walls or stabilizers in the room are required. First, stand up straight. Next, simply put your arm over and behind your head placing your palm between your shoulder blades. Lastly, with your other hand, pull down and across gently on your elbow. Lean ever so slightly in the same direction that you are pulling. You’ll feel a stretch along your triceps and the side of your back. Hold for at least 10 seconds then do the other arm. Repeat three times for each arm.
Forearm and wrist warm ups
The last two stretches will help stretch your forearms somewhat, but there are other things you can do to concentrate on them. You can do this by standing straight, extending your arms out directly in front of you and positioning your hands up at 90 degrees. Putting your palms against a wall can help add some resistance too.
This type of stretch can warm up your wrists as well. After you have repeated this a few times, try rotating your wrists back and forth in the air to loosen them up. This is especially useful if you’re going to be lifting weights – as your wrists will be active for a good portion of the workout.
More arm stretches and dynamic warm up exercises
Another great stretch to try can be done by using a doorway. At the doorway with your arms extended to your lower sides, place your palms on opposite sides of the doorframe (thumbs-up). Lean forward slightly. Your palms will support you and prevent you from falling on your face. You should feel the stretch in your biceps, chest, shoulders and upper back.
To stretch out your shoulders more, you can gently pull your extended arm in towards your chest by applying pressure with other hand on your elbow. Switch arms and repeat.
If you take the time to do these dynamic warm up exercises before a rigorous workout then it should prevent unnecessary pain in your muscles afterward. The arm stretches will improve your overall flexibility and your body will recuperate much faster after exercising.