Upper body exercises help with circulation, upper body pain and help to speed up the metabolism and burn calories. Never stretch to the point of pain or discomfort. Here are 11 exercises to get you started with increasing flexibility and strength in your upper body. Alternate upper body with lower body every other day. Start slowly, and you'll see results!
1. Head Tilts
To warm up the neck, do a very slow and thorough "yes" motion. You can use your hands to increase the stretch when your head is tilted forward.
2. Neck Rolls
Stand with your feet shoulder with apart and slowly roll your neck in a full circle. You'll start with your head tilted down and go from there to looking over your right shoulder, tilting your head back, and in the same way to the left.
3. Shoulder Shrugs
Lift the shoulders all the way up to your ears and back down as low as possible. After 10 repetitions, do each shoulder in opposite directions at the same time.
4. Shoulder Circles
Rotate your shoulders in the same direction in a full circle. Then after 10 repetitions, do each shoulder separately, making as full a circle as possible.
5. Arm Across the Chest
To stretch the upper arm, pull one arm across the chest using the other arm for support and increasing the stretch.
6. Wrist and Forearm Stretches
Extend one arm in front of you and press on the hand to point the fingertips toward the floor. Then turn the palm out and again press the fingertips toward the floor.
7. Bicep Curls
Now that your upper body is warmed up, you can go a little faster. For a full aerobic benefit, you can do the next 5 exercises while stepping in place. Extend your arms straight out in front of you with your palms up. Then make a fist. With both arms at once in the same direction or the opposite direction, curl straight toward the chest keeping your fist palm up. Then do the same motion with your arms shoulder height and out to the sides of your body.
8. Tricep Extensions
Extend both arms out to the side and make a fist. Rotate your arms inward so that the palms face outward. Curl the arms toward your chest and imagine isolating the tricep muscle.
9. Arm Raises
Start with your arms by your side. Raise them straight up in front of you until you are reaching the sky. Keep your arms aligned with your ears. Do the same, raising the arms to the side and all the way up to the sky. You can also do one arm in the opposite direction of the other for a windmill effect.
10. The Boxer
Extend one arm across the chest and out in front of you in a slow, boxing motion, turning slightly in the upper back. Do the same motion with the other side at a fairly quick pace.
11. Side Bends
Reach one arm over the opposite ear as the other arm goes down the leg. Do the same with the other arm. Avoid bouncing and only go as far as it takes to feel a nice stretch.