5 Exercises for Warming Up Your Upper Body
This full-body exercise is a great warmup that utilizes every inch of your body. You begin by lowering your torso, putting your hands on the ground. Using your hands, walking them out until you are in a straight arm plank. Feel free to add a push-up if you want to step it up. Then, climb your feet until you’re in the starting position. Not only are you utilizing your core, you are warming up those wrists. This is a nice dynamic warmup for nearly any work out but especially for chest and/ or arms. If you don’t have a lot of space, instead of walking your feet in, just walk your hands back to the starting position. This lacks some of the full-body effect but it’s not a make or break issue.
It has an interesting name but it will make sense after you perform it a handful of times. The main point is this is a great back warm-up. To start, think of the “cat” as what a scared cat. On a mat or the floor, get on your hands and knees – or what they call a quadruped position. Pushing up through your palms, tighten your core and round your back. You should feel your shoulder blades pulling away from your spine as you bring your chin to your chest. Repeating these two motions will help bring fluidity to your spine and assist in core stabilization and activation.
This is all about activating the thoracic spine (the middle of your spine) and promoting mobility utilizing a dynamic exercise. There a several variations on performing this exercise. I am going to review the easiest version of this. If you think it is too easy or you’re not getting the mobility you are looking for, look for a future article on the different variations for T-Spine Mobility. For this exercise, you will start in a quadruped position. As previously mentioned, you may hear this referred to as a table pose or simply just your hands and knees.
Pick one hand and gently grab the side or back of your head corresponding to the chosen hand. You will want a bent elbow parallel to your shoulder. Turning your head away from the placed hand, pull you elbow underneath you, turning with your head. Your planted hand and knees stay stationary as you twist your back. You will want to dip that bent elbow towards your center, holding that position for a second or two. Bring your elbow back up, turning your head and twisting your spine with it. Your elbow should be in the air, opening up your chest. Repeat the whole thing for several repetitions.
Hand Push/ Chest Activation
This exercise can be down sitting or standing and involves activating your chest muscles. This is a great warmup exercise before a chest-heavy routine. Take a small ball, preferably one that has a little squish to it. Put the ball between for palms on hold them out in front of your chest. Push your palms together, squishing the ball between them. You will want to utilize your mind-muscles connection and squeeze your pecs while pressing your palms. Using your chest is the key to this exercise. While squeezing your palms, you can extend your arms away from you and move them up or down or retract them back towards your body. Keep those pecs active throughout. If you don't have a ball, you can use just your palms, although be mindful of your wrists.
Using a band, grab each end of the band until you have to fight against the tension to keep your arms at your sides. Start with your hands down and the band across your waist or abs. Lift your arms slowly over your head, maintaining the tension on the band. Once your arms are above your shoulders, bring your arms back even slower than before. Bring your shoulders back as you lower the band behind you. Go until your arms can move or they suddenly drop all the way behind you. Bring your arms and the band back up over your head and repeat.
No matter what your routine is, you should properly warmup your muscles to ensure a safe and effective exercise. No warmup should leave you already exhausted but you should have a more labored breath and your heart should be pumping a little above your resting heart rate. Whatever you do to get your mind and body ready for exercise, do it. Stay awesome and thanks for reading, friends.