Arm & Shoulder Warm Up Exercises

Stretching the shoulders and arms before a workout can prevent injury.
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Mobility of the arms and shoulders is essential for a safe, strong workout. Before diving into a swim routine or a game of volleyball, it's smart to warm up your upper body. Any activity that uses the arms and shoulders could cause injury if those muscles aren't properly stretched out.

Shoulder Circles

Start with a simple shoulder rotation. While standing with your feet slightly apart, lift your left shoulder to your ear. Take the shoulder backwards, down, around and up in one continuous, smooth motion. Repeat the move up to 10 times, then switch directions for another 10 repetitions. Repeat the whole routine on the right shoulder. Be sure your back and chest do not move. Only your shoulders should be in motion during this stretch.

Arm Circles

With your feet shoulder-width apart, hold your arms straight out to make a ''T'' with your upper body. Make clockwise circles with your arms, starting with a small range of motion and working up to circles that use your full range of motion. Do 10 to 15 reps, and then reverse direction. For a more intense warm up, start slow and then ramp up the speed to fully engage the muscles you'll use for your workout. Do this for 10 to15 seconds.

Tricep Extensions

Triceps are the muscles on the back of your upper arm. For this exercise, grip a 2 to 10 pound weight with both hands. While either sitting or standing, start with the weight above your head. Keep your shoulders steady but bend the elbows back, lowering the weight behind your head. Lift the weight back up until the arms are fully extended to the starting position. Do three sets of 10 to 15 reps.

Bicep Warm Up

Biceps, on the front of the upper arms, can be warmed up with light dumbbells. Hold a light dumbbell in each hand, and sit backwards on a chair or use preacher bench so that you have something to rest your elbows against. Start with your arms curled in, dumbbells at shoulder height. Lower your arms until they are fully extended before bringing them back to the starting position. Perform three sets of 10 to 15 reps. This exercise may also be done with a barbell without added weight.

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