Don’t forget about your upper body when warming up and cooling down. Here are a few ideas to mix up your regimen.

Stretching has its benefits, especially when done correctly. To get the most out of your workout, start with dynamic stretches and finish with static stretches.

Dynamic stretches are meant to increase blood flow and prime muscles for exercise by taking the body through exaggerated movement patterns.

Static stretches are meant to lengthen and restore muscles to their full length after they have been put under a load.

DYNAMIC STRETCHES (Pre-workout)

Shoulder Rolls- Draw circles with your shoulders lifting up, then back and down.

Bent Over Hugs- Bend forward at the waist, swing your arms around and give yourself a hug. Alternate which arm is on top each time.

Arm Circles- Stand tall, lift your arms parallel to the ground, and draw circles with your hands, keeping your arms straight, but not locked. Then switch directions.

Over and Unders- Stand tall, arms straight out in front of you, and swing and cross one arm over the other, alternating your top arm.

Cat-Cow Stretch- On all 4’s arch your spine up like a cat, pulling your chin into your chest, then drop your spine down like a cow, pulling your head up to look forward. Alternate between those two positions with your breath.

STATIC STRETCHES (Post-workout)

Shoulder to Floor Stretch- On all 4’s thread your right arm between your left arm and left knee, dropping shoulder to the ground. Then reach left arm as far forward as possible. Repeat on other side.

Shoulder Stretch- Interlock fingers behind the back, lifting hands as high as you can. If you want to get deeper into the stretch, hinge forward at the waist to let gravity assist you.

Up and Over Stretch- Llift one arm up and over the shoulder, the other reaches under, and you attempt to clasp hands, or just reach as close as you can behind the back. If you can’t reach, but would like a deeper stretch, try grabbing a towel to have something to pull against. Repeat on other side.

Triceps Stretch- Lift one arm up overhead, bend at the elbow and grab that elbow with the other hand pulling the elbow backward. Repeat on other side.

Corner Stretch- Face a corner of the room, and lift hands to eye level, palms facing forward. Place each palm on a perpendicular wall, and lean chest in.

Eagle Stretch- Take the right hand under the left, and cross over, twisting arms, and touching the right fingertips to the palm of the left hand. Lift elbows up and away from the body, and hold (For you yogi’s out there this is the same as the arms in eagle pose). Repeat on other side.

Forearm Stretch- Place palms together and lift elbows high, then rotate hands so the finger point up, forward, and then down.

Prayer Stretch- Place palms together behind the back.

Cross Body Stretch- Straighten left arm, and pull it into the chest with the right arm. Repeat on other side.

Becca Capell
iFit Head Trainer