The Best Stretches to Ease Upper-Body Muscle Soreness During the 30-Day Push-Up Challenge

You can try these arm, shoulder and chest stretches any time your upper body feels sore.
Image Credit: LIVESTRONG.com Creative

The 30-Day Push-Up Challenge helps you master your form, discover new variations and build up to doing 60 push-ups in one day. Click here for all the details on the challenge.

Biceps and triceps, high-intensity and recovery, warm-up and cooldown: You need opposites for a balanced workout routine. So if you've been busting out a bunch of reps for our 30-Day Push-Up Challenge, you need to stretch the muscles you've been strengthening.

By Week 3, you'll certainly need it. Just look at the line-up for the next seven days:

  • Challenge Day 15:​ rest
  • Challenge Day 16:​ 31 push-ups
  • Challenge Day 17:​ 33 push-ups
  • Challenge Day 18:​ 35 push-ups
  • Challenge Day 19:​ 37 push-ups
  • Challenge Day 21:​ 39 push-ups
  • Challenge Day 21:​ 41 push-ups

If your arms, shoulders and/or chest muscles need a little relief, below, Maillard Howell, personal trainer, CrossFit level 2 coach and owner of Dean CrossFit in Brooklyn, NY, demonstrates some of the best upper-body stretches you can do to ease muscle soreness after doing daily push-ups.

Move 1: Wrist Stretch

Move 1: Wrist Stretch
Image Credit: @monica_dzik/LIVESTRONG.com
Time 15 Sec
Type Flexibility
Body Part Arms
  1. Grab the fingers of your right hand with your left hand.
  2. Extend your right arm straight, palm facing out and fingers pointing down, then gently pull back on your fingers.
  3. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
  4. Flip your palm to face you.
  5. Gently pull and hold in this position for another 15 to 30 seconds.
  6. Repeat on the other wrist.

Tip

You can also do this stretch with your fingers pointing up.

Move 2: Wall Chest Stretch

Move 2: Wall Chest Stretch
Image Credit: @monica_dzik/LIVESTRONG.com
Time 30 Sec
Type Flexibility
Body Part Chest
  1. Stand about a foot away from a wall, pole or other immovable surface.
  2. Place your right hand on the wall (or grab the pole) and twist away, keeping your hand in place.
  3. Keep twisting away from the wall until you feel the stretch through your chest and into your shoulder.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds.
  5. Repeat on the other side.

Move 3: Chest and Shoulder Stretch

Move 3: Chest and Shoulder Stretch
Image Credit: @monica_dzik/LIVESTRONG.com
Time 30 Sec
Type Flexibility
Body Part [ "Shoulders", "Chest" ]
  1. Grab your hands behind your back.
  2. Keep your arms straight (but don't lock your elbows) as you lift your hands up until you feel a gentle stretch in your chest and shoulders.
  3. Play around with the position and height of your hands until you feel the stretch where you feel the soreness.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds.

Move 4: Cross-Body Shoulder Stretch

Move 4: Cross-Body Shoulder Stretch
Image Credit: @monica_dzik/LIVESTRONG.com
Time 30 Sec
Type Flexibility
Body Part Shoulders
  1. Pull your right arm across your chest and hold it in place with your left hand.
  2. Use your left hand to gently pull it closer to your chest and further to the left.
  3. Hold for 30 seconds before switching sides.

Move 5: Triceps Stretch

Move 5: Triceps Stretch
Image Credit: @monica_dzik/LIVESTRONG.com
Time 30 Sec
Type Flexibility
Body Part Arms
  1. Raise your right arm overhead and bend at the elbow so that your right hand touches your back.
  2. Use your left hand to pull your elbow further to the left so that you feel a stretch in the back of your right upper arm (triceps).
  3. Hold for 30 seconds before switching sides.

Move 6: Wrist Mobility

Move 6: Wrist Mobility
Image Credit: @monica_dzik/LIVESTRONG.com
Time 30 Sec
Type Flexibility
Body Part Arms
  1. Hold your hands out in front of you and roll your wrists in circles that move out to the side.
  2. Switch to make circles going inward.
  3. Flex and extend your wrists.
  4. Keep moving your wrists around in ways that feel good and put them through their full range of motion.

Move 7: Foam Rolling

Move 7: Foam Rolling
Image Credit: @monica_dzik/LIVESTRONG.com
Activity Mobility Workout
Region Upper Body

Though some people may consider the foam roller more of a modern torture device than a recovery tool, as long as you're feeling discomfort and not pain, this humble piece of equipment can help ease muscle soreness and prep you for your next batch of push-ups.

Place the body part where you’re feeling sore — upper back, chest, obliques — on the roller and apply gentle pressure as you roll it out, staying put on any spot that feels particularly tender.

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