Upper Body Dynamic Stretches

Written by vanessa newman
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Upper Body Dynamic Stretches
Dynamic stretches prepare the body for powerful movements. (stretching image by Steve Lovegrove from Fotolia.com)

You want to stretch dynamically before participating in sports such as running, basketball, tennis, and volleyball. A dynamic stretch, unlike a static stretch, is a moving one. Dynamic stretching prepares your muscles and joints for powerful and quick action which can prevent injuries like muscle tears. You can do dynamic stretches without aids or with the help of a stability ball, light weights or even a hula hoop.

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Wrist Rotations

To rotate the wrists, you need to circle the wrists in isolation from the rest of the arms. Circle both wrists clockwise and counterclockwise. You can do these stretches before swinging a racket or a golf club to prepare the body for these same movements during a game.

Arm Swings

To perform wide arm swings, stand with your arms out wide. Then cross the arms in front of your body with one arm over the top of the other. Then take them out wide again and cross with the opposite arm on top. Perform arm swings with fluidity and consistency. Doing these exercises for 20 to 30 seconds will warm up the upper back, arm, and shoulder muscles.

You can also do vertical arm swings where one arm swings in front of your body while the other arm goes behind the body. Then the arms switch positions. Repeat several times. The motion is similar to what you would do with your arms while cross-country skiing or ice skating.

Arm Circles

To perform arm circles, move the arms in either small or large circular motions clockwise and counterclockwise. The arms can be raised out at your sides or straight out in front of you. These stretches are for your shoulders.

Trunk Twists

A trunk twist is a rotation at the waist from side to side. Stand with legs at least shoulder-width apart (or sit on a stability ball). You can place your hands on your hips or the let the arms hang at your sides. Turn the upper body to your right and left while minimally moving the lower body. Repeat these motions for 20 to 30 seconds.

Trunk Side Bends

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart with arms hanging at your side. Now lean with your whole upper body to the right side as if you were trying to reach your hand toward the floor. Repeat this motion on this side for 20 to 30 seconds before switching sides.

Upper Body Undulations

Standing or sitting on a ball, stretch your arms over your head, move your whole upper body in an undulating (circular or figure eight) motion clockwise and then counterclockwise for 20 to 30 seconds. The goal is to loosen up and relax the spine. You can do this with a hula hoop as well.

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