By now, you probably already know how important it is to warm up before any kind of workout. The best warmups prep your body and nervous system to handle different moves and loads, and skipping them can lead to soreness or injury. But it can be tough to figure out exactly what moves to do to get your body warm, especially when it comes to upper-body work. How do you get your arms ready for push-ups without just . . . doing push-ups?
"The best warmup moves are movements that look similar to your workout for the day," BOC-certified athletic trainer Liz Letchford, MS, told POPSUGAR. So, thinking about the actual moves you're going to do will help you figure out how to prep for them. If those are "pulling" exercises, like pull-ups, rows, or bicep curls, you'll need to warm up your core and lats. Push-ups? "You'll want to get especially connected to your scapular stabilizers, core, and hips," Liz said.
Liz says that active range-of-motion exercises are more effective than static stretching since you're activating and stretching the muscle while getting it warmed up. (Here's a 10-minute, full-body active warmup to get you started.) And it's just as important to get your joints ready to work, too. Liz recommends doing controlled articular rotations (CARs) before every workout: moves like arm circles and forearm rotations that activate your joints and improve range of motion.
All in all, aim to warm up for eight to 10 minutes before your upper-body workout. Start by getting your blood flowing with some cardio like jumping jacks, jogging, cycling, or a brisk walk; then, get into your upper body. Look through the gallery for moves that will get your arms, shoulders, and back ready to work.