Stretches for the Upper Body

Stretches are a good way to start a work out session as it prepares the body for movement, increasing flexibility and helps prevent injury. Always remain within the comfortable stretch zone even if you would like to increase your flexibility. It is safer to under stretch than to overstretch. If you feel any pain or discomfort at any stage of the stretch then stop the stretch immediately.

This page explains how to do upper body (including lower back) stretches. To stretch your lower body click here. As with all the stretches, you should aim to hold a stretch for about 20 to 30 seconds before releasing. Remember to breathe.

diagram of neck stretchingNeck Stretch
The neck stretch should be done before exercise but could also be done every day, especially if you work at a desk and computer all day:

diagram of Stretching the shoulder and backShoulder Stretch
It is important to warm up the shoulders if you are lifting, pushing or pulling anything in a workout:

diagram of stretching to warm up shoulders Shoulder and Tricep Stretch
This stretches two muscles at the same time. It stretches the posterior deltoid muscle (back head of shoulder), and the triceps muscles (back of the arm) together:

diagram of Stretching chest warm upChest Stretch
This stretch can help warm up most of the upper body in one. Use this stretch as part of a warm up routine rather than trying to increase flexibility. Start off with the hands closer to the buttocks, as it becomes easier over the weeks you can slowly try to move the hands up a little at a time:

diagram of Stretch stomach muscles with cobraCobra Stretch
This is a stretch for the front of the torso and the stomach. It will also help to loosen up the lower back as well:

diagram of Stretching lat muscles of the backUpper Back Stretch
This helps to loosen the shoulder joint as well as the wrists. It is good when training the back muscles such as a rowing movement. You can stand or sit to do this stretch:

It may be easier to arch the lower back slightly as the arms become nearly straight.

diagram of stretch spine lower backLower Back Stretch
This is a stretch for the lower back but it helps stretch all the other back muscles and the spine. It helps to prevent strain to the lower back and aids circulation:

If this is easy you can try positioning the feet further away at the start of the stretch. Take care if you have problems with your back. If in doubt, do not try this stretch.

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