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Upper body warm-up cools back and shoulder pain

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Back when humans were climbing mountains, chopping wood and fighting for survival, our muscles experienced a full range of motion. That kept our upper backs, shoulders and chest muscles in supple balance.

Now, we sit all day, work at desks or drive cars with our arms locked in place for most of the day. And that’s why many of us feel tightness and discomfort in our upper back, shoulders and chest. Today, we can fix that.

The three, simple upper body warm-up exercises in today’s video article will help restore that range of motion, improve blood flow and open up your stiff muscles and joints. All you’ll need is a pole, rod or stick. Let’s go…

In today’s video my friend Tema Esberg from Potentia Personal Training is going to show you three great dynamic upper body warm-ups targeting the upper body. These are the perfect, total upper body warm-up for workout routines focusing on the shoulders, chest and upper back.

For these exercises, you will be using a pole, stick or rod. You can use a broom handle, curtain rod or shower rod. It should be long enough that you can hold it near its ends with arms extended.

Overhead shoulder stretch

Stand with feet wider than shoulder’s width for balance and hold the pole in front of you with both hands, palms down and extended out as far as comfortable.

Slowly raise the pole above and over your head and behind your back. This is easy for some and difficult for other, who may have shoulder or upper back injuries or tightness. As such, if you find this too difficult or even painful, you want to decrease the width of your hands bringing them closer together.

The goal is to keep your arms straight throughout the movement. If your arms are too narrow or wide you won’t be able to do the exercise well. It may take a moment or two to experiment with grip widths until you find your sweet spot.

Do 5 over and back repetitions, slowly.

Reverse overhead shoulder stretch

This warm up is the reverse of the previous in more than one way. The obvious is that you begin at the previous end point, which is behind your back at the waist. The other reversal is your grip. You will begin with the pole behind your waist with your hands holding it palms up but as you move over your head your hands will end up palms down in the front position.

Because of how our anatomy works, you will feel locked at the end position. This is ok, as long as you only go as far as “feels good.” Remember, these are warm-ups and not competitions.

Follow along with Tema for a set of five.

The paddle

The third dynamic warm up in this series is the paddle. It simulates the motion of rowing a boat at one side of the body and then the other, like in a canoe or kayak.  This will help the shoulders as well as the obliques, or sides of the torso.

Hold the pole a bit wide than shoulder’s width and raise both arms, straight, up above your head. Now lower your left hand down to the left side, as if rowing, and the rotate the action by raising the right arms and lowering it on the right side.

Follow Tema for a set of five reps of left/right paddles.

Enjoy the process of warming up in a dynamic way, and isolating specific body parts as you do so. These three upper body dynamic warm-ups are a great way to start a workout or when done by themselves for freedom of movement in the shoulders, upper back and chest.

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