4 Upper Body Stretches for Muscle Recovery : It is important to use flexibility exercises before and after your workouts to help your upper body muscles recover. In fitness, your upper body is considered your neck, shoulders, upper back, and arms. Stretching these muscle groups is beneficial not only to prevent injury but to promote muscle recovery as well.
Oftentimes people forget or rush through a good post-workout stretch. Proper stretching is just as important to your body as the workout itself. This is because your muscles need time to prepare for the work they are about to do and also because they need time to recover from the exercise.
The following four flexibility exercises are suitable upper-body stretches that you can do to promote healthy muscle recovery. Take your time to work through each stretch following your workout to make the most of your recovery time. Make sure that you complete each of these flexibility exercises on both sides of your body and repeat as needed.
Stretch Your Upper Trapezius
The trapezius muscle, commonly called the traps, is the triangular-shaped muscle that begins at your neck, stretches across your shoulders, then continues to your mid-back. If your shoulders feel tight across your back, then you would probably benefit from stretching this muscle.
Here’s how to stretch your trapezius muscle to relieve upper back and shoulder tightness:
- Start in a relaxed standing, kneeling, or sitting position and lengthen your spine to make yourself tall.
- Take your right arm and stretch it up over your head so that your hand can reach your left ear.
- Allow your head to slowly fall towards your right shoulder. Don’t pull on your head, just allow the weight of your head to gently pull that trapezius muscle into a good stretch.
- You should feel the stretch from the base of your head at the very top of your neck and it will extend down to the tip of your shoulder.
- Hold the stretch for about half a minute then guide your head back up with the supporting hand on your head. Repeat this stretch on your left side.
Stretch Your Posterior Cuff
Also known as the cross-body stretch, stretching your posterior cuff helps stretch your posterior shoulder muscles. These are the muscles in your shoulder area. The following flexibility exercise will help stretch the posterior deltoid, supraspinatus, infraspinatus, and rhomboid.
- Start in a relaxed standing position and stand up straight with your shoulder blades pulled back.
- Lift your right arm straight out to the side so that it is parallel with the ground.
- Guide your right arm across your body from the shoulder and keep your arm straight.
- Tuck your left arm under the right arm and hold your right warm with your left hand near the elbow.
- You do not want to force the elbow completely straight or rotate your upper body.
- Hold this stretch for about 30 seconds then slowly release your arms down to your side before repeating the stretch on your other side.
Stretch Your Triceps
A good stretch for the back of your arms, the tricep stretch targets the tricep brachii muscles that run across the backs of your upper arms. The tricep runs from your elbow to your shoulder.
- Start in a gentle standing position with your feet about hip-width distance apart.
- Reach your right arm up to the sky, then bend at the elbow to bring your right hand towards the middle of your back.
- Next, take your left hand and gently guide your right elbow towards your body’s centerline.
- Hold the stretch for about 20 to 30 seconds, then release both arms down to your side.
- Repeat the stretch on the opposite side.
Stretch Your Pectorals
A really great stretch that helps with muscle recovery and your posture is to stretch your pectoralis minor muscle. This stretch is done with the help of a doorway or sturdy wall.
- Start by facing the wall in a relaxed stance. Keep your feet about hip-width distance apart with a slight bend in the knees.
- Bring your right arm up and place your forearm on the doorway. Your upper arm should be parallel with the floor.
- Slowly lean your body towards the opening of the doorway and gently rotate your upper body away from the arm you are stretching. You will feel the stretch in your upper chest.
- Hold this stretch for up to 30 seconds then slowly release your arm down.
- Repeat the stretch on the other side of your body.
Upper Body Flexibility Exercises Are Great for Muscle Recovery
Stretching is a very important step in preparing your body for exercise. It is just as important for post-workout recovery, too. If you use the above stretches then you will be able to better prepare your muscles for recovery and prevent possible damage.
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4 Upper Body Stretches for Muscle Recovery
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