Below I have detailed a simple upper body stretching routine. This can be used alongside our Lower Body Stretching Routine to improve all round flexibility and conditioning.

I would suggest utilising this routine after a warm shower/bath or post-workout. Hold each stretch for 20-30 seconds. You may repeat each stretch, completing two rounds overall, if you so wish.

 

If you are aware of any injury/condition a progressive stretching routine may aggravate, please seek medical advice before performing the below.

 

Stretching Cat:

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Assume a four point crawl position. From here arch the back by pushing the abdomen towards the ground and raise the head up/backwards. Do this until you feel a stretch through the abdominal muscles.

If this aggravates a back/stomach injury please avoid and/or proceed with caution.

 

Prone Abdominal Stretch:

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Assume the top of a press up position and then allow your leg legs to lay flat on the ground. From here walk the hands back slowly towards the body until you feel a stretch through the abs. Keep the upper thighs/hips on the ground throughout.

If this aggravates a back/stomach injury please avoid and/or proceed with caution.

 

Angry Cat:

Assume a four point crawl position and draw the belly button in to the spine. From here round the back upwards, with the head looking at the floor below your chest, until you feel a stretch across the back. Walk the hands in towards the legs to increase the stretch.

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Standing Back Stretch:

From a standing position let the torso hang forwards by bending at the hip, allowing the spine/back to flex. Keep the legs straight and allow the spine/back to flex until a stretch is felt through the back, hips and glutes/hamstrings.

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Kneeling Back Stretch:

Assume a four point crawl position. From here take the right hand and draw it under the body until the outside of the right elbow is touching your left hand/wrist. Now place the left hand on the top of the right and sit your bum down towards the feet until you feel a stretch through the right side and base of the back.

Repeat on the other side.

 

Scapula/Delt Stretch (a):

Assume a standing position and draw the right arm across the body so it is horizontal, and place the left palm at the base of the elbow. Keep the right arm straight whilst retracting the left shoulder (pulling the right arm towards the chest) to increase the stretch. Keep the right palm facing behind the body throughout.

Repeat on the other side.

 

Scapula/Delt Stretch (b):

Assume a standing position and draw the right arm across the body so it is horizontal, and place the left palm at the base of the elbow. Keep the right arm straight whilst retracting the left shoulder (pulling the right arm toward s the chest) to increase the stretch. Keep the right palm facing away from the body with the thumb down throughout the stretch.

Repeat on the other side.

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Scapula/Delt Stretch (c):

Assume a standing position and draw the right arm across the body. Grip the elbow with the left hand in front of the upper abs (selecting an overhand grip this time). Apply pressure across/towards the body with the left hand until you feel a stretch through the back/shoulders/traps. Keep the palm facing behind you and thumb upwards throughout.

Repeat on the other side.

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Hanging Back Stretch:

Place both hands on the arm of a sofa or back of a stable chair. With your feet shoulder width apart allow the knees to bend slightly- enough to allow for a small arch in the back. From here push the chest towards the floor (and sit back) until you feel a stretch through the lats.

You may also complete this with one arm by gripping a door frame and applying pressure backwards in addition to the gravitational downwards hang. Repeat on both sides.

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Standing Traps Stretch (a):

Assume a standing position with your arms by your side. With your right hand grip the top of the opposite side of your head and gently add pressure to stretch the left trapezius and shoulder.

Repeat on the other side.

 

Standing Traps Stretch (b):

Assume a standing position with your arms by your side. Aim to touch your chin to your sternum (breast bone/plate) and allow the upper spine to flex and shoulders to round slightly- doing so until you feel a stretch through the entire trapezius (from the base of the head to around halfway down the spinal column).

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Seated Traps Stretch:

Sit in a wooden dining chair with the pelvis titled forwards enough to allow for good posture to be assumed. With the chest proud and shoulders held back slightly grip under the edge of the chair seat with your right hand, whilst keeping the arm straight (elbow extended). Now lean away from your right hand and tilt the head to the left until you feel a stretch through the neck/traps.

Repeat on the other side.

 

Tricep (and Lat) Stretch:

Assume a standing position and extend your right arm directly upright- from here flex the elbow and try to touch your fingertips to the left rear deltoid muscle. Now grip the right elbow with your left hand and apply pressure by gently pulling the elbow across the rear of the body. Do this until you feel a stretch through the tricep and back muscles. You may lean the torso to the left to increase the stretch.

Repeat on the other side.

 

Bicep Stretch:

Stand at a right angle to a wall/closed door. From here extend the right arm horizontally outwards from the shoulder and place your palm on the wall- fingertips pointing downwards. Attempt to get the hand flat against the wall whilst keeping the arm fully extended, but if a stretch is felt strongly before this do not enforce it as you may damage to elbow/bicep and wrist joint.

Repeat on the other side.

 

Forearm Stretch:

Assume a standing position and extend both arms out in front of you in a horizontal plane. With your right palm facing away from the body, and fingertips pointing upwards, grip the fingers/top of the hand and apply pressure back towards the body. Try to keep the elbow straight and apply enough pressure to feel a stretch through the forearm.

Repeat on the other side.

 

Shoulder Stretch:

Assume a standing position by an open doorway. Place the right arm on the door frame; keeping the upper arm horizontal to the ground and forearm (elbow to fingertips) flat on the door frame. Step through the door ensuring the chest stays pointing forwards as if you were walking through the door and straight on (don’t let the left shoulder start to round the door and point towards the right). You should feel a stretch through the upper chest and shoulders, and may turn away from the right shoulder to increase this.

Repeat on both sides.

 

Chest Stretch:

Assume a standing position beside an open door. Place the base of your right hand on the door frame and step through the door, keeping the arm fully extended throughout. Turn your torso to the left to increase the stretch (and ensure the left shoulder does not turn towards the right).

Repeat on both sides.

 

Partner Assisted Chest Stretch:

Assume a standing position and place your hands on your lower back, with your fingertips touching upon the lower spine, and thumbs hooked over/on top of your hips. Allow your partner to place their hands on the outside of your elbows and apply pressure inwards across the spine. Let them know when you want them to stop applying more pressure, and get them to hold the enforced stretch for 20-30 seconds.

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This is a great stretching routine to incorporate in to your training regimen to allow for improved performance, reduced likelihood of injury and to generally improve overall conditioning for sport, lifting and day-to-day activities.

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