Upper Body Stretches
Elsewhere on the site we have shown how to stretch after a run - focusing on the lower areas of the body. In this article we look at the upper part of the body as it can feel tense and achy post-run. After a run, the three core areas of your upper body - shoulders, back and chest can be tackled simultaneously in a series of simple stretches ...
You should feel this stretch at the top of your shoulders.
Stand straight with your hips facing forward and your legs hip-width apart. Position your arm across your upper body with your palm facing your chest and place your opposite hand on your elbow. Push your elbow towards your chest until you feel a comfortable stretch and hold for 15 seconds. Repeat this with the opposite arm.
You should feel this stretch in the upper region of your back.
Stand straight with your hips facing forward and your legs hip-width apart. Extend your arms to the front at shoulder level with your fingers interlaced and your palms facing outwards. Stretch your arms forward until you feel some resistance and hold for 15 seconds.
You should feel this stretch in your chest and upper arms.
Stand straight with your hips facing forward and your legs hip-width apart. Place your hands in the hollow of your lower back, fingers pointing downwards. Pull your elbows together and force out your chest, as you start to feel resistance hold for 15 seconds.
Personal trainer Patricia McCrellis says: "These simple stretches are great for loosening up after a strenuous run as they return your muscles to their pre-exercise state. However, if you are experiencing real pain and stiffness in your back and shoulders after running then it might be worthwhile investing in a foam roller."
If you have a troublesome muscle knot then applying direct pressure with a foam roller is a great way of easing the pain and applying a stretch to the area. For a simple back stretch try lying on the floor with the roller placed under your mid back, with your hips raised from the floor and begin to roll up and down slowly until a 'tender point' is located - when you reach this point stop rolling and hold until the pain decreases by around 70%.
Thanks to Patricia McCrellis who offered advice on this article. For more information about her personal training services contact her on: firstname.lastname@example.org