Before beginning your weight lifting workout, stretching can help with flexibility and give you greater muscle strength that will aid in preventing sore muscles and prevent the risk of injuries. Stretching can also help improve posture and balance and improve your physical performance while lifting weights.
The following are some upper body pre-workout stretches you can do before lifting weights:
Even though your neck isn’t involved in weight lifting directly, it has major muscles that need to be stretched.
•Neck Extension Stretch: Clasp your hands behind your head and pull your head slowly toward your chest.
•Neck Flexor Stretch: Put your clasped hands on your forehead and pull your head slowly backward, looking up toward the ceiling. This reverses the first stretch.
•Sides of Neck: Hold the back of a chair with your right hand and lean your head left. Reverse and hold the chair with your left hand and lean your head right.
Your major shoulder muscles, the deltoids, are involved in weight lifting so it’s important to stretch them.
•Place your left arm across your chest. Using your right hand, pull slowly toward your body then do the same stretch on the opposite arm.
•Clasp your fingers together. Palms facing up, breathe slowly as you raise your arms to the ceiling, pushing and leaning back slightly.
•Grab a towel or stretch band with your left hand. Lift it above your head then hold on to the other end with your right hand, behind your back. Slowly raise your left arm to stretch your right arm, then change arms and repeat the stretch.
Bodybuilders love to work their biceps to get those bulging muscles; therefore¸ it’s important to warm up the biceps with this simple stretch.
•Stand in your doorway and extend your arm and hand straight out on the wall, then slowly turn your body toward the left, holding the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat with the opposite arm.
•Raise your right arm above your head, bend your elbow then put your right hand behind your neck. Hold on to your right elbow with your left hand, then gently press your arm back and down. Hold for 15 to 20 seconds.
•Wrist Extension Stretch: While kneeling on the floor, place the backs of both hands on the floor while pointing your fingers toward your knees. Lean back slowly with elbows straight, and hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
•Wrist Flexor Stretch: While kneeling on the floor, put both palms on the floor, pointing fingers toward you. Slowly lean back with elbows straight¸ and hold for 15 to 30 seconds, as before.
•Stand or sit and hold one arm straight out in front, fingers facing the floor and your wrist bent. Pull your fingers toward you¸ using your other arm.
This stretch will help improve your posture and prevent drooping shoulders.
•Clasp your hands behind your back, straighten your arms then breathe in as you lift your hands slowly as your chest stretches and opens up. Lower your arms while breathing out. Repeat.
The following are some lower body pre-workout stretches you can do before lifting weights:
•Lie down on your back and pull up your knees slowly toward your chest. Hold for 30 seconds.
•Lie down on your back with your knees bent. Lift and extend your right leg straight up then hold your thigh and pull your leg gently toward your chest. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat the stretch with your left leg.
•Lie down on your back and bend both knees. Cross your right leg over your left leg and pull both knees toward your chest. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat with your right leg.
•While standing, lift your right foot behind you and grab with your right hand. Pull your foot toward your butt and hold 30 seconds. Repeat with your left foot.
One important reminder: Remember to breathe when doing all of your stretches.
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