Are you skipping this classic upper body warm up exercise?

Welcome to our weekly Move of the Week series. Every Monday, we’ll be sharing with you one of our favourite exercises – how to do them, what muscles they work and why they should be a regular part of your workout regime. This week: arm rotations.

Arm rotations are one of the classic warm up exercises. Up there with opening and closing the gate or cat/cow, you probably did them in P.E. class before a match of rounders and now find them at the start of boutique gym classes. 

But do you skip over them when warming up for your own workout? Whether it’s a run or a strength session, arm rotations are brilliant to get you set up for your exercise. After all, they’re a classic for a reason.

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What are arm rotations?

Arm rotations are done by rotating your shoulders backwards and forwards with your arms swooping overhead. 

The exercise is great because it:

It is a dynamic exercise: you’ll move through full range of motion to warm up the muscles. 

It targets the upper body: the chest, shoulders and back will all be stretched.

It is a simple exercise: most people can easily do this standing stretch. 

What muscles are worked in arm rotations?

Arm rotations mainly stretch the upper body, including:

  • Pecs (chest) 
  • Delts (shoulders)
  • Lats (side of the back)
  • Upper back
  • Rectus abdominals 

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How to do arm rotations

  1. Begin standing with feet shoulder-width apart and shoulders pulled back and down. 
  2. Engage your core (think about pulling your belly button to your spine) and ground your feet to stabilise. 
  3. Raise both hands forwards with your arms straight, then take them over your head and back down to your side, making a large circle with your fingers. Try not to swing your arms but control the movement through your full range of motion.
  4. Reverse the move, taking your arms behind you and over your head. 

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Images: Stylist

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