Stretching is an important aspect of many trainers post exercise regime, with many trainers claiming to experience improved recovery and a decrease in post workout soreness by incorporating stretching at the end of a heavy lifting session. Intense stretching post workout is also commonly used by bodybuilders as a way of improving the elasticity of the muscle fascia, the tissue sack which surrounds muscles, bones and organs to provide support. By stretching the muscle fascia it is said muscle hypertrophy can take place a much greater rate, due to the decrease in constriction from the tight fascia. So, lets take a look at some arm stretches.
This stretch can be performed very effectively using a squat rack, although using a wall will suffice. If using a squat rack place a barbell across the holding pins, at shoulder height. Stand facing away from the barbell, or wall, a few feet away. Outstretch the arms behind, either grasping the barbell or placing your hands on the wall. Lean forward slightly, allowing for the palms of the hands to be flat against the wall, with the fingers facing upwards towards the ceiling, whilst ensure the arms are fully outstretched. The arms should now be stretched behind the torso, and the stretch on the biceps brachii should be felt. Experiment with the level you squat down to (whilst maintaining the stretch) to monitor the stretch experienced, ensuring an intense but non injurious stretch is being applied to the arms.
Maintain this stretch for 20 seconds.
The same style of stretch can be performed, but without holding onto a static object, such as the barbell or wall. So the arms are outstretched behind the body, with the hands clasped together, and to increase the intensity of the stretch the trainer raises the hands higher to cause a greater stretch to the arms.
The most common triceps stretch is performed by placing the hand of the stretched arm to the back of the neck, so the upper arm is stretched out above the head. The hand of the other arm can then apply some downward force to the elbow of the stretched arm to aid to the intensity of the triceps stretch. This arm stretch primarily stretches the long head of the triceps brachii.
Maintain this stretch for 20 seconds. Repeat for other arm.
Perform these stretches post workout after exercising the arms. Intense fascia stretching can be performed directly after an arm session, with the increased pump and intense stretching being very effective at stretching the fascia muscle sack. Making sure the muscle is warmed up prior to stretching is important to ensure the muscle is mobile and ready for increased flexibility. Do not bounce during these stretches, instead opt for a steady and controlled stretch, which applies a challenging stretch to the arm muscles.