Versatility and mobility of our arms is truly praiseworthy as every ligament, joint and muscle moves in diverse directions for smoothly performing an array of tasks. Hence, our arms deserve due respect for which stretching becomes particularly significant.Stretches help to lessen stress or tension build-up, elongate muscles, enhance strength as well as suppleness of muscles and aids in averting any injury like pull and tear, as well as lesser post-workout muscle soreness.
None other than the esteemed American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) vouches for the multiple benefits of stretching and recommends targeting the key muscle groups twice or thrice on a weekly basis. The best time to perform stretches is after completing your workouts.
Best Ways to Stretch Arm Muscles
Biceps is the muscle located in the front of the upper arm while the triceps muscle is situated at the back of the upper arm. Outlined herewith are some beneficial stretches that target these duo key muscle groups of the upper arm that flex and extend till the elbow joint.
1. Biceps Stretches
Try these stretches for adding length to the biceps muscle that would ultimately help to make them stronger. Bicep stretching should be an indispensable prelude to all workouts targeting the upper body.
2. Wall Biceps Stretches
Initiate the stretch by placing your right palm against a wall and keep the hand straight. One then rotates the body away from the wall to as much extent doable while the palm stays in contact with the wall.In this position the knees are then bent and the pose held for thirty seconds. One can essentially feel a stretch along the biceps right up to the shoulders. Repeat the same steps using the left palm on the wall.
Raise your right hand in front of you at the level of your shoulders. The palm should be facing the ground and the thumb tucked up. While maintaining this stance, the entire back of the hand is placed on the side of a doorframe. Now move (turn) your body away from it as you sense a stretch in the biceps muscle. Hold for thirty seconds and bring that hand down to the side and redo the above steps on the other hand as well.
4. Rear Biceps Stretches
Stand erect with feet placed shoulder width apart. Both the hands should then be brought behind your back and the fingers interlocked. Next, the arms are straightened while the clasped hands are rotated outwards and downwards till the palms face the floor. The arms are raised upwards behind you till an apparent stretch is felt in the biceps. Maintain an upright body throughout the exercise. This pose is held for ten to twenty seconds before reverting to initial stance.
5. Triceps Stretches
There is a common tendency to overlook stretching the tricep brachii, situated on the backside of your upper arm which helps in extending the elbow and moving the shoulder.
6. Conventional Triceps Stretches
Start by bending one arm behind the back as though one were trying to touch the shoulder blades with that hand. Concurrently, the opposite hand is used for gently grasping and pulling into that elbow till a nice stretch is felt in the triceps muscle. The stretch is held for thirty seconds sans any jarring movements.
Ensure that the elbow is pointed straight up and behind your head to reap optimal benefits of this stretch. Avoid overstretching or leaning forwards/backwards while performing the stretch. Repeat above steps with the other hand as well.
A towel can be used in this stretch for people suffering from any type of shoulder instability and also helps to ensure that the body is kept straight. One end of the towel is pulled by the lowered arm while the other end is held tight by the hand whose elbow is pointed upwards.
One senses a stretch in the triceps as the towel is pulled tightly between the duo arms that are positioned behind you. Hold pose for thirty seconds and swap arms.
7. Wall Triceps Stretches
Reach your right elbow up on the wall while that hand rests behind the head. One is essentially standing sideways to the wall with the right arm folded in a ‘V’ and the hand touches the backside of the head. Now lean over the right elbow with body weight on it as one senses a stretch in the triceps muscle. Hold each side twice for fifteen counts each. A beneficial stretch for the triceps which should be performed slowly as it could be injurious otherwise.
7. Single-Armed Triceps Kickbacks
Although a light-weight dumbbell is used in this stretch, but any bottle or can is also an able substitute. One can even make a fist while performing this stretch. It is crucial that one firstly gets accustomed to performing the move.
Start by staggering the feet till the right leg moves forward. Place the right hand over the right thigh and bring the left arm up parallel (to approximately ninety degrees). One then extends the left elbow till the arm is in a straight line. Now bring the weight-clutched hand back to starting pose.
One is essentially focusing on contracting or tightening the triceps muscles through these moves. Exhale as you push the weight out to make the hand straight and inhale while bringing the weight down. Avoid rocking the arm while moving the dumbbell/weight up and down. All movements must ideally occur at the elbow joint, similar to a hinge on a door. Perform ten repetitions and repeat steps on the other side as well.
8. Cross Body Triceps Stretches
Commence by being seated or standing and hoist right arm ahead of oneself, parallel to the ground. The left hand is then placed on the right elbow which is then used for pulling the right arm athwart the body, in the direction of the left shoulder. The right arm ought to be pulled closer to the shoulder till as much extent doable. The pose is held for thirty seconds and then repeated on the other hand. This form of stretching helps in loosening and lengthening the triceps.