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How To Warm Up Arms Before Workout? (4 Best Exercises)

Alex DePinto
Published by Alex DePinto
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: September 16, 2022

As a fitness instructor with over a decade of experience, I always emphasize the importance of arm workouts to all my clients.

I teamed up with my physical therapist to get the ins and outs of arm and shoulder anatomy until we came up with this ultimate list of the best arm warm-ups.

Today I'll share tips on how to warm up properly and give you four of my effective arm warm-up exercise recommendations.

Let's get started.

Quick Summary

  • Arms warm-up exercises lighten up shoulder muscles to improve upper body workouts.
  • Warming up before any exercise improves oxygen and blood flow to muscle fibers throughout the body.
  • Warming up in the afternoon might take a shorter time because your body is more awake and active than in the morning.

Steps to Warm-up Properly

A person stretching his arm

A warm-up session of around 10 minutes ought to be sufficient for most people looking to warm muscles and loosen joints.

To get your body warm and reap the most out of your arm warm-up, remember to:

  • Begin your arm circles warm-up before your upper body workout session.
  • Work for the big muscle groups, like your shoulders, to activate the cardiovascular system.
  • Start softly, then pick up the pace or intensity as you proceed.
  • Work out till you are sweating but not exhausted.

"The best warmups are the exercises similar to your routine for the day."

- Liz Letchford, Certified Athletic Trainer

4 Arm Warm Up Exercises

a woman stretching her arms

Here are the four best arm exercises that you should consider trying to warm up properly before your upper body workout gym session.

1. T Arm Exercises

With your legs behind you at a steady feet hip-width apart, balance your upper chest and midsection on an exercise ball.

With your elbows straight and thumbs pointing up, position your arms on either side of the ball.

As your upper-back muscles begin to tense, slowly raise your arms to the sides. Your body will make a "T" shape with your arms.

To get back to the starting position, lower your arms.

Do eight to ten reps.

2. Incline Push-ups

Warm up your arms and shoulders with some incline push-ups if your workout involves workouts like push-ups and shoulder presses.

Starting with your palms on a sturdy surface, such as a wall, chair, or counter, assume a high plank position with comfortable feet shoulder width.

Keep your core tight, shoulders over your wrists, and arms and legs straight.

With your elbows bent out to the side at a comfortable hand shoulder width, gently press down and lower your torso until your elbows and shoulders are in alignment.

Hold for a few seconds.

To get back to the starting position, straighten your arms. Incline push-ups also work on your lower body muscles.

Do six to ten reps of this.

3. Resistance Band Pulls

A person using a resistance band

This is the ideal warm-up for a routine that includes "pulling" exercises like rows and bicep curls.

Place a resistance band at a pole below your comfort shoulder width and height level while seated.

Face the pole and cross your right foot over your left foot in front of you as you sit with your back straight.

Hold the elastic bands in both hands with your fingers moving over the band with your arms straight out in front of you.

Pull the resistance band back with your elbows to the sides until your hands meet your chest.

To get back to the starting posture, straighten your arms. Do six to twelve reps.

4. Shoulder Pull Ups

Shoulder pulls are excellent for workouts like the overhead shoulder press that involve lifting your arms above your head and working your shoulders.

Use a resistance band with two handles for more stretch and resistance. Fasten it to a pole that is shoulder height.

Start by holding your arms straight out in front of you, elbows slightly bent. Hold each resistance band handle in your left and right arm if you're using one.

Lift your arms up and out to the side, pausing when your arms and torso are in the shape of a "Y."  Keep your core engaged and a straight back.

Avoid slouching your shoulder blades. Pull back against the resistance when you're using a resistance band.

Hold for a few seconds, then go back to where you were.

Benefits of Arm Warm-up Exercises

A person using a resistance band to stretch his arm

Here's why you should always warm up your upper arms before your exercise routine:

  • Greater flexibility: It may be simpler to move and exercise properly if you are more flexible.
  • Lower injury risk: By allowing your muscles to relax, warming up can help you sustain fewer injuries [1].
  • Improved blood flow and oxygen flow: Static stretching and jumping jacks help increase your heartbeat and blood flow.

More blood flow enables your muscles to receive the nutrition they require before engaging in more strenuous activity [2]:

  • Enhanced performance: According to studies, working out with warmed-up core muscles is more productive[3].
  • A wider range of motion: Your entire body and joints can move more thoroughly if you have a more comprehensive range of motion.
  • Less pain and tensed muscles: Warm and relaxed muscles may make it easier for you to move and cause less discomfort or stiffness [4].

How Long Should Your Warm-ups Last?

a buff male looking at his watch

Your warm-ups should last between 5 to 10 minutes.

You should work for all main muscle groups within five to ten minutes of a decent warm-up.

You can prolong it to 15 minutes or longer if you're cold or sore or have been sitting or immobilized for most of the day.

When choosing the duration of your warm-up, take your body's readiness into account as well.

The warm-up may be slightly shorter, perhaps 3 to 5 minutes, if it were the afternoon and you had already been up and moving, as opposed to the early morning, when you might want to do a lengthier warm-up (around 5 to 10 minutes).

FAQs

What Is a Pre-Activation Warm-Up?

A pre-activation warm-up is a technique that turns on a particular muscle or conditions it with a few exercises before an intense workout.

What Should I Do Before Arm Day?

You should plan your workout schedule (sets and reps) before arm day.

Should You Warm Up Your Biceps?

Yes, you should warm up your biceps. This loosens up the muscles in that area and prevents injury when lifting.

Warm Up The Right Way

Proper warm-ups improve your flexibility and range of motion for a practical and more effective gym session.

To maximize your routine from start to finish, you should consider taking a pre-workout supplement for a constant supply of energy:

These supplements are safe to use and have an excellent ingredient blend that works together to put you in beast mode for a more effective workout.


References:

  1. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/fullarticle/1107636
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4717164/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19996770
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17535144/

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