Arm circles are small, repetitive arm movements that can help tone and stretch the muscles of your arms and shoulders, including your trapezius and deltoids. They don't require any equipment and are easy to do, making them an ideal choice for exercise beginners. This exercise offers several benefits to your shoulders and can get you on the path toward a healthy, toned body.
Arm Circle Basics
To do an arm circle, stand up straight with your arms extended out on either side of your body. Slowly move your arms in circles without rotating your wrists or elbows. As you become accustomed to the motion, pick up the pace for a more intense workout, while still focusing on maintaining proper form. If you'd like to increase the intensity even more, try holding a hand weights that still allows you to comfortably do eight to 10 arm circles.
Stretching the Shoulders
In a world where many people spend their days hunched over a computer, shoulder pain is a common problem. Regularly stretching your shoulder muscles loosens up the muscles, preventing painful muscle knots. Shoulder circles loosen your shoulder muscles and increase blood circulation to the area, which can help you recover more quickly from injuries, build muscle more effectively and improve your overall physical health.
Toning the Shoulders
Arm circles are a calisthenic exercise that force your trapezius, deltoids and the muscles of your upper arms to contract and relax. This can hel improves muscle tone and can help you build muscle over time. If you're also engaging in fat-burning exercises such as regular running or cycling, your arms will look thinner and more muscular. Adding weights to your arm circle routine can increase the speed at which you build muscle. The strength-building benefits of arm circles aren't just superficial, either. As you build strength, you may also find that you have less difficulty with lifting, posture and other daily movements.
Relieving Joint Pain
The shoulder joint is made up of the humerus and scapula, as well as several different muscles and ligaments. Arm circles help move this joint through its full range of motion. This can help alleviate joint pain in people experiencing joint problems, and, if you've never had joint pain, can help you avoid developing it. If you feel joint pain while doing arm circles, stop the exercise and consult your doctor before continuing.
- Southern California Orthopedic Institute: Anatomy of the Shoulder
- Responsible Sports: ASA Softball: Ace Coaching Manual - Therapy
- Stretching Anatomy; Arnold G. Nelson et al.
- PhysioAdvisor.com: Shoulder Stretches
- Joint Structure and Function; Pam Levangie et al.
Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.