Dynamic arm stretches involve gentle bouncing or swinging movements meant to force your elbow, shoulder or wrist joints past their normal ranges of motion, according to The Stretching Institute. They are appropriate warm-up exercises for sports such as baseball, racquetball, softball, tennis and volleyball, which each require repetitive arm movements. Using improper technique increases your risk for injury, so perform dynamic arm stretches under the supervision of a trained professional, and only after establishing a foundation of general flexibility. Discontinue the stretches if they cause pain.
Arm circles stretch the muscles surrounding your shoulder joints, preparing them for sport-specific movements such as the baseball or golf swing, overhand throwing or swimming strokes. Hold both arms at shoulder height, extended sideways, away from your shoulders. Make 10 small backward circles, then 10 small forward circles. Repeat multiple times, increasing the size of the circles each set until your hands pass your hips and overhead with each rotation.
Dr. Mike Marshall, a former Major League Baseball pitcher, designed this exercise to warm up the arms prior to baseball games and practices. Strap wrist weights on both arms or hold dumbbells in both hands. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold your arms at your sides with your palms facing forward. Swing both arms forward and upward to shoulder height simultaneously. Pronate your forearms, turning your thumbs downward, as your arms approach shoulder height, then let them drop back down and swing behind your back. Turn your forearms back to the starting position and repeat continuously for 16 total repetitions.
This scissor stretch lengthens the muscles that pull your arms toward the center of your body and those that flex your elbow joints. Start in the same position as arm circles, with your arms extended away from your shoulders. Move both arms horizontally in front of your chest, crossing your left arm over your right, then reverse back to the starting position and beyond, moving your arms behind your shoulders. Move both arms back in front of your chest, this time crossing your right arm over your left, then spread your arms out again. Continue alternating like this for your desired number of repetitions.
The triceps lie on the back of your upper arms and facilitate elbow-joint extension ranges of motion. This exercise stretches the triceps dynamically. Lift your left arm above your head, then bend your elbow, bringing your forearm and hand behind your head. Place your right hand behind your left elbow and pull backward until you feel a gentle stretch through your triceps. Hold for one to two seconds, then release and extend your arm overhead. Immediately bend your elbow again and pull backward again with your right hand, stretching the triceps slightly farther than the first time. Continue this cycle multiple times. Perform the stretch with your right arm as well.
- The Stretching Institute: Warm-Up Exercises and Stretches
- Sports Fitness Advisor: Golf Stretching Program
- Dr. Mike Marshall: Coaching Baseball Pitchers
- Sports Fitness Advisor: Dynamic Stretches and Stretching Routine
- "Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning"; Thomas R. Baechle and Roger W. Earle; 2000