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14 January 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Stretching pt 15- Biceps/Triceps

In the introduction post to this series, we reviewed and answered some common questions regarding stretching, including why, when, how, etc. Click here to review it.

In this post we will be talking about how to stretch out the upper arm. This area includes the bicep muscle on the front as well as the tricep muscle on the back of the upper arm.

The Rules:

1) Stretching should NEVER hurt. The goal is to only go until you feel a pull in the muscle. It should not be to go until it hurts in one of those “no pain, no gain” efforts. It should be comfortable and repeatable, allowing you to move a little further with each repetition.2) Perform stretches when the muscles are warmed up. This can be following a workout or following work with the foam roller. Click here to review the self massage post for the upper arm (this includes pictures and video using a foam roller and tennis ball to review 3 self muscle release techniques).

2) Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat 3-4 times. You can hold longer than the 20 seconds, but the reps are key. You will always get more out of stretching frequently versus one killer session a week.

3) If hurt- be sure to stretch out the opposing muscle groups first. For the upper arm, the key to remember is that these muscles work on two joints, the elbow and the shoulder. If the bicep is hurt be sure to stretch the front of the shoulder and the tricep. If the tricep is hurt, be sure to stretch the back of the shoulder and the bicep. As the injury allows, work you’re way up to stretching the injured muscle.

How To:

In this video there are demonstrations of how to stretch out the bicep and tricep muscles.

Key Points-

1) When stretching out the bicep, the elbow must be straight and your hand should be about waist height. From here, the rotation will stretch the muscle out over the elbow joint and the front of the shoulder joint where it attaches.

2) When stretching out the tricep, start with the elbow bent and pointed up to the ceiling. From here, pull the elbow back. This will stretch the muscle out over over the elbow joint and the shoulder where it attaches.  Note: try to keep your neck relaxed versus pushing your head forward.

3) As always, we’re looking for 20-30 second holds for 4 reps.

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