3 Ways to Warm Up the Upper Body

Prepare your upper-body for your next workout with these three fundamental warm-up movements.

Overhead Squat

Upper-body warm-ups are as important as lower-body warm-ups for improving overall athletic performance. They improve flexibility and help prevent injuries during training. Here are some tools to help you get loose before training.

Perform each of these movements for one to three sets as part of your upper body warm-up. Each can be done for 10 to 20 repetitions, depending on your fitness level.

Overhead Squats

Overhead Squats loosen up the hips, knees, and ankles while developing shoulder mobility. The empty bar is plenty of weight. It's not unusual for weightlifters and other power athletes to use this as a strength exercise and work up to heavy weights, but that's not necessary as part of a warm-up. Check out a video of proper Squat form.

  • Stand up with barbell on back of shoulders with grip wider than shoulder-width
  • Press barbell overhead and lock out elbows
  • With the bar overhead, place feet hip-width apart and keep weight on heels
  • From this position, move barbell slightly back so that it is in line with hips
  • Keeping your elbows locked out, push hips back and squat down as far as is comfortable
  • Reverse direction and repeat for the desired number of repetitions

Stability Ball Walk Outs

Commonly used for core training, the stability ball is also great for warming up the upper body. Walk-outs help warm up the shoulders, arms, upper back and chest.

  • Begin on hands and knees with ball underneath body
  • Keeping arms straight, walk forward on hands, allowing ball to roll underneath until you are in push-up position
  • Walk backwards; repeat for desired number of repetitions

Hand Step Ups

For this drill you need stairs or the kind of step used in group exercise classes. To perform:

  • Begin in push-up position with step in front
  • Keeping elbows straight, place right hand on step
  • Place left hand on step
  • Then, place right hand back on ground, and follow with left
  • Keeping elbows straight, place left hand on step
  • Place right hand on step
  • Walk back down using left hand first, then right
  • Repeat for desired number of repetitions

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