What do skipping your warm-down routine and "forgetting" to floss have in common? They're both tempting. And although skipping your stretches may sound enticing, even your biceps deserve a proper warm-up and cooldown, especially if you're hoping to gain muscle strength or size.
After a training session or on your rest day, try a few of these best biceps stretches to promote recovery, help prevent injury and get the most out of your workouts.
1. Seated Bent-Knee Biceps Stretch
- Sit on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
- Place your palms on the ground behind you, fingers pointing away from your body.
- Distribute your weight evenly between your feet, butt and arms.
- Without moving your hands, slowly slide your butt forward toward your feet until you feel a stretch in your biceps.
- Hold for about 15 seconds, then release.
As you do this stretch, keep your back flat and maintain a neutral neck.
2. Biceps Wall Stretch
- Stand in front of a wall and place your hand against the wall at shoulder height, palm flat against the wall.
- Maintaining contact between the wall and your hand, slowly turn your body away from the wall.
- Twist gently until you feel a slight pull in your chest, shoulder and biceps.
- Hold, then repeat on the other side.
To target different parts of your biceps, move your hand higher or lower on the wall, repeating the other steps of the stretch above.
3. Standing Biceps Stretch
- Stand with your hands clasped behind your back.
- With straight arms, gently raise your hands away from your body.
- Keep raising your arms until you feel a stretch in your arms and chest. Only go as far as it comfortable — this stretch shouldn't cause pain.
Not feeling this one in your biceps? Try turning your clasped hands downward, palms facing the floor.
Can't grasp your hands? Use a towel and hold one end with each hand.
4. Wrist-Rotation Biceps Stretch
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and let your arms hang down at your sides, palms facing your body.
- Slowly lift your arms back behind you, pointing your thumbs toward the ground. Stop when you feel a gentle stretch in your biceps.
- Return to the starting position.
- Then, rotate your wrists so your palms face forward.
- Slowly rotate your palms toward the ceiling and lift your arms to shoulder height. Your thumbs should point behind your body.
- Pause when you feel a stretch in your biceps.
- Hold for several seconds, then release.
5. Doorway Stretch for Biceps
- Stand in a doorway.
- Place your right palm on the door frame at waist height, holding the frame gently and elbow bent to 90 degrees.
- Take one large step forward with your left leg.
- Bend your knee and shift your body weight forward until you feel a stretch in your biceps and shoulder.
- Rock back and forth gently to continue to stretch your biceps.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
3 Benefits of Biceps Stretches
1. Reduced Injury Risk
There's a reason you should never neglect your warm-up or cooldown routine: injury! Stretching your biceps after a tough arm workout can help promote blood flow to your muscles, reducing your risk of injury and boosting recovery, according to Carolina Araujo, CPT, a California-based strength coach.
2. Improved Range of Motion
Without regular stretching, your muscles become short and tight, according to Harvard Health Publishing. This can limit your range of motion, making it harder to bend and extend your arms to their fullest. Regularly stretching your biceps can help you move to your fullest range.
3. Better Workout Results
The better your range of motion, the more benefit you get from your workouts.
"When you do arm exercises, like biceps curls, to their fullest range of motion, you activate more of your muscle," Araujo says. "In the long run, this helps you build more strength."
How to Safely Stretch Your Biceps
To get the most from your stretches while reducing the risk of injury, it's best to not jump in cold. Do some light aerobic activity, such as walking, biking or jumping jacks, for 3 to 5 minutes before stretching.
A dynamic warm-up increases blood flow to your muscles, which aids in the flexibility gains you get from stretching and contributes to injury prevention. Or better yet, do these after an upper-body workout.
Aim to hold each stretch for about 30 seconds, but be safe and listen to your body. Stretch only until you feel a gentle pull in the muscle — never stretch to the point of pain — and never bounce your stretches, which can injure the muscle.
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