Training Tips Tuesday #41: Don't Ignore About Your Upper Body While Stretching

After my massage on Sunday, I realized how much I’d been ignoring my upper body when it came to stretching and foam rolling. I’ve already talked about how important upper body strength training is for running but along with that, you need to be stretching and foam rolling too. Even if your upper body doesn’t feel tight or sore.

As soon as my massage therapist start working on my upper body, she commented on how my shoulders were rolled forward. And then, after she had me flip over and was working on my shoulder and upper back, she found some tight spots deeper in my muscles. I didn’t even feel tight or sore! And, of course, I haven’t been doing much stretching (or any foam rolling) on my upper body.

Want some ideas for stretching your upper body? I have a list of some that you can do at work! I know that this is making me think more about stretching and foam rolling my upper body (especially after my strength training days) to keep my running form work correctly.

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5 Awesome Upper Body Stretches for Runners

You might think about stretching out your lower body after a run but have you thought about stretching your upper body? You might not think much about your upper body while running but it makes it so much easier to have proper form while running if the muscles below and above the waist work effectively together. And making sure you stretch your upper body is a huge part of that (along with strength training)!

Neck Stretch

  • Start standing or sitting tall, and place one hand on your lower back, the other hand on the opposite side of your head.

  • Pull your head toward your shoulder, looking straight ahead, until you feel a stretch in your neck.

  • Hold for at least 30 seconds and then repeat on the other side.

Cross-Body Shoulder Stretch

  • Start standing or sitting tall. Grab one arm above your elbow with your opposite hand, and pull it across your body toward your chest until you feel a stretch in your shoulder.

  • Make sure to keep your elbow below shoulder height.

  • Hold for at least 30 seconds and then repeat on the other side.

Chest Stretch

  • Start standing tall, fingers interlocked behind you near your butt.

  • Keeping your back straight and shoulder blades together, push your arms up until you feel the stretch in your pecs.

  • Hold for at least 30 seconds.

Reclined Spinal Twist

  • Lie faceup with your arms out to your sides.

  • Keeping one leg extended, pull the other knee into your chest, and let it slowly drop over the extended leg.

  • Keep your shoulders flat on the floor as you feel a stretch in your back.

  • Hold for at least 30 seconds, and then repeat on the other side.

Downward Facing Dog

  • Start on your hands and knees in tabletop. Align your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips.

  • Tuck your toes under, press into the hands and lift your hips to the ceiling.

  • Using straight (but not locked) arms, press your hips up and back reaching the chest towards your thighs. Lift up through the tailbone to keep the spine straight and long.

  • Press your heels into the floor, feeling a stretch in the back of the legs. You can either keep your legs straight or have a slight bend.

  • Let your head and neck hang freely from the shoulders or look up at your belly button.

  • Breathe and hold for 4-8 breaths, then release into tabletop.



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