The 5 Best Dynamic Arm Stretches to Improve Your Mobility and Warm Up for Exercise

Dynamic arm stretches increase blood flow to your joints and warm up your muscles for stronger, safer workouts.
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Dynamic arm stretches are the perfect way to improve your mobility and warm up your muscles for exercise.

Try them before upper-body strength workouts as well as sports like tennis, baseball, softball and golf, all of which include repetitive arm movements. Gently and dynamically stretching your arms before getting to work can help reduce the risk of elbow and shoulder injury. Plus, to excel at your arm workouts, you need to move your arms and exert strength through their full range of motion, according to the National Strength and Conditioning Association's Essentials of​ ​Strength Training and Conditioning.

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For stronger, safer arms, warm up with these six best dynamic arm stretches.

Move 1: Arm Circle

Arm circles stretch the muscles surrounding your shoulder joints, including your deltoids and rotator cuffs.

Steps:

  1. Hold both arms out to your sides at shoulder height.
  2. Moving only from your shoulders, trace small circles in the air with your hands. Start with small movements, making them bigger with each rotation until your arms move as far as they can in each direction.
  3. Do all reps, then switch the direction of your circles.

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Move 2: Scissor Stretch

This dynamic arm stretch relieves tension in the front deltoids, pecs, upper back, biceps and triceps. Consider it one of the best tennis stretches. Each movement is a lot like swinging a racket.

Steps:

  1. Hold both arms out to your sides at shoulder height.
  2. Keeping your elbows straight, move both arms straight front of your chest. Cross one arm above of the other.
  3. Move your arms back behind your shoulders as far as possible.
  4. Alternate moving back and forth, switching your top arm with each rep.

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Move 3: Overhead Dynamic Triceps Stretch

Your triceps lie on the back of your upper arms and are in charge of helping to straighten your elbows. You may have worked them before with the static, or long-holding, version of this arm stretch. But this dynamic version is ideal as an arm warm-up exercise because it keeps your arms moving and boosts blood flow to your muscles and joints.

Steps:

  1. Raise one arm above your head, then bend your elbow to lower your palm to your back.
  2. Place your other hand near your raised elbow and gently pull it toward your body and down.
  3. Pause, then release and straighten your arm back overhead.
  4. Alternate moving back and forth.
  5. Do all reps, then switch sides.

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Move 4: Dynamic Cross-Body Shoulder Stretch

Similar to the last arm stretch, this exercise also works as a static, bend-and-hold stretch. Before exercise, focus on gently moving back and forth with a more dynamic arm warm-up approach. This increases blood flow and reduces the likeliness of over-stretching.

Steps:

  1. Keeping your arm as straight as possible, cross it in front of your chest.
  2. Hook your other arm around your elbow, then gently pull your arm against your chest.
  3. Pause, then release and extend your arm out to your side and repeat.
  4. Do all reps, then switch sides.

Move 5: Wrist Flexion and Extension Drill

Use this dynamic warm-up exercise to improve wrist mobility and grip strength before hand-heavy workouts like lifting and climbing.

Steps:

  1. Hold one arm straight out in front of your body at shoulder height with your palm facing up.
  2. With your other hand, pull back on your fingers to feel a gentle stretch in your forearm.
  3. Pause, then raise your palm toward your forearm.
  4. Do all reps, then repeat with your palm facing down. You should feel a gentle stretch in the back of your forearm. Repeat.
  5. Switch arms and repeat the entire cycle.

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