3 upper body stretches for warming up before exercise

Warming up your body before exercise is vital. You can find the reasons why here. Below you’ll find three upper body stretches you can do before exercising. They focus on pectoral, abdominals, and trapezius muscles.

Remember to raise your body temperature before you stretch to aid with flexibility. If you’re in the water, keep your body temperature up between stretches.

Don’t overstretch, your muscles should not be shaking. Hold each pre-workout stretch for 10 – 15 seconds. If you are looking for leg stretches you can check out our leg stretch videos here, or for arm stretches check out our videos here.

Upper body stretches 1 – pectorals

The pectoralis major muscle is the thick, fan-shaped muscle on your chest often referred to as your pecs. You want to ensure your pecs are well warmed up before exercising to avoid injury so here’s what you can do.

  1. Stand with your feet hip-distance apart. Place your hands into the base of your back and draw your elbows towards each other.
  2. Keep your knees soft, your abdominals tight and your toes pointing forwards through the stretch.

Upper body stretches 2 – abdominals

The abdominal muscles are probably the most well-known muscle group. Well-defined ‘abs’ are often referred to as a ‘six-pack’ and are the holy grail for many gym bunnies. Your abdominals work hard during exercises such as swimming, so warm them up before putting them through their paces. Here’s our stretch for warming up the abs.

  1. Stand with your feet hip-distance apart. Stretch your arms above your head and hold, keeping your abdominals tight.
  2. Keep your knees soft and your toes pointing forwards throughout the stretch.

Upper body stretches 3 – trapezius

The trapezii are large triangular muscles extending over the back of your neck and shoulders. They move the head and shoulder blade. Whatever exercise you choose to do it is vital you warm these muscles up to avoid injury. Here’s our trapezius stretch.

  1. Standing with your feet hip-distance apart, reach both arms in front of you and interlock your fingers.
  2. Turn your palms away from your body and push outwards, feeling the stretch in your arms and the upper part of your back.
  3. Keep your knees soft, your abdominals tight and your toes pointing forward throughout the stretch.