Health Benefits of Arm Stretching
We use our arms in almost all our everyday activities. From reaching overhead to stretching out to pick something, our arms work due to a combination of muscles and joints working together. The major muscle groups in our arms are the biceps, triceps, deltoids, rotator cuffs, forearms, and wrists.
Different arm stretches target these different groups and lengthen the muscles in them. This makes the muscles stronger and more flexible and therefore able to do more.
Arm stretches also reduce strain, injury and soreness after a workout. The best arm stretches can also help treat repetitive stress injuries and conditions such as frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, joint sprains and carpal tunnel syndrome. There are a number of arm stretches - the names of which are generally related to the muscle group they work out. For example bicep stretches, triceps dips, wrist extensions and many more.
Before starting any arm stretching routine, always warm up the muscles by running in place, skipping rope or doing a few sets of jumping jacks. This gets the muscles ready to stretch to their maximum without putting any undue strain on them. Hold each stretch for a minimum of 15 to 20 seconds each and repeat at least thrice for the best results. Remember to breathe normally through all your stretching exercises as this increases the circulation in the body and reduces soreness and muscle fatigue even more efficiently. Never overstretch any muscles and if there is any other type of pain besides a mild ache, stop the exercise immediately.
Types Of Arm Stretches
The best arm stretches that should be included in any routine include :
- A forearm stretch
- A triceps shoulder stretch
- An overhead triceps stretch.
These static stretches can then be combined with some dynamic stretches. Dynamic stretches combine movement with a stretching pose and are very effective in improving flexibility and range of motion in muscles and joints. Try a few dynamic stretches like arm circles, arm shaking and arm huggers to really get the blood flowing and the muscles warmed up. All these exercises can be found online or you can consult with a trainer to find out the proper method on how to do each of them.
Some important types of arm stretches include those that can prevent injury and reduce pain. Stretches such as:
- The wrist flexor stretch
- The triceps stretch
- The wrist extensor stretch
- The tennis elbow stretch
can all be used to strengthen those areas most susceptible to repetitive stress injuries and damage. There are several types of triceps stretches. The triceps is the large muscle at the back of your arms. Triceps are used in pretty much all activities and stretching them regularly keeps them supple and ready for action. You can try the overhead triceps stretch first. Here you stand straight with your chin parallel to the floor. Raise on hand and bend it over your head so that the hand can touch the spine. With your other hand, push this hand down to its furthest point where you can feel a proper stretch in your triceps muscles. Hold for at least 20 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Tennis Elbow Stretch
Arm stretches can also help treat conditions such as tennis elbow. Before a tennis elbow stretch always make sure your forearm and elbows have been warmed up.
You can do this by simply shaking your arms vigorously to increase the blood flow. One tennis elbow stretch is called the prayer stretch. Stand with your palms together in front of you as if in prayer. Fingertips should be at chin level. Lower your hands in prayer to your waistline keeping them as close to your body as possible. You will feel a stretch along the underside of your arms. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat.
Wrist Flexor Stretch
If you work at a desk all day you are prone to injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome. This occurs when there is no much stress placed on your wrist joints and hand muscles. Stretches such as the wrist extensor stretch and the wrist flexor stretch are ideal solutions to reducing the risk of this occurring.
For a wrist flexor stretch:
- Stand facing a wall. Place your palm against the wall facing upwards.
- Bend at the wrist so that your hand and fingers now face the floor.
- Press against the wall for 30 seconds till you feel a stretch on your forearm. Release and repeat on the other side.
- A popular stretch for your wrist extensor muscles involves sitting or standing with your arm stretched out in front of you.
- Place your other hand over the raised hand and push downwards.
- You should feel this stretch on your top forearm muscles.
Arm Stretches Precaution
Arm stretches come with the same precautions as any other stretches.
- Do not hold your breath, move into each exercise slowly and gently, do not overstretch, never bounce while stretching
- If at any point of time you feel any sharp pain, stop the exercise immediately
- Older people or those who suffer from conditions such as arthritis should avoid arm stretches that involve rotation movements.
- Never push your body further than it can go.
Benefits Of Arm Stretching
- An improvement to your flexibility and range of movement.
- Stretching can also reduce stress, soreness, muscle fatigue, and injury.
- There are also a number of sports such as cricket, baseball, hockey, tennis, rowing, swimming and martial arts that require an arm stretching routine as part of the warm up.
- Doing this can improve performance as well.