Upper body dynamic stretches prepare you for anything from working in the garden to bodybuilding in the gym. Dynamic stretching reduces muscle stiffness, increases circulation and provides a pre-workout warm up, which reduces the chance of injury. Stretches are performed using momentum combined with form that typically simulates movements of the sport or activity you are warming up for. Start with slow and small movements increasing range of motion as the muscles warm up.
Trunk rotations warm up the core muscles simulating movements made in baseball, basketball and various combat sports. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Place your hands on hips and rotate your trunk from side to side, keeping your knees slightly bent. Continue rotating for 15 to 20 complete turns. Stretching improves balance and helps increase sports performance, notes the American College of Sports Medicine.
Arm swings stretch the arms and shoulder joints. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, back straight and your knees slightly bent. Start with your arms overhead and lower both arms through a full rotation swinging down to a forward position and ending with both arms backwards. Perform this rotation for six to 10 repetitions. Next, swing your arms out to your sides and then cross them over your chest. Repeat the crossover swing for another six to 10 repetitions.
Another dynamic stretch to work the side torso muscles is the side bend. Stand with feet a little wider than should width. Place a toning bar, light barbell or broomstick on your shoulders. Keeping your torso straight, lean to one side and then the other. Be sure to keep your back straight through the bend. Repeat for 10 repetitions on each side.
The shoulder muscles are used in various daily motions and sports activities. Shoulder circles can be done standing or seated. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, keeping your back straight and knees unlocked. Raise your left shoulder up your ear, rotate it backwards, down and the around the front back up to the ear. Repeat in smooth rotations for six to 10 repetitions. Repeat the stretch with the right shoulder.
Neck stretches help to increase circulation and release stress. Place your chin onto your chest and then lift the chin upwards as far as possible. A lateral flexion helps neck mobility and is done by lowering your ear to one shoulder and then repeating with the other ear. The last dynamic neck stretch is a rotation done by keeping your head straight and rotating the chin first right and then left. All three neck stretches should be done for six to 10 repetitions.