Adding upper-body strength exercises, such as weightlifting or pushups, to your workout routine feels amazing — that is, until the epic soreness kicks in and you wince reaching for your coffee the next morning. Delayed onset muscle soreness, aka "DOMS," is a common side effect of starting a new workout routine. And if you're not used to using your arms and shoulders, then it can feel more pronounced following an upper-body workout.
The funny thing is, moving through soreness is often the best way to get rid of it, explains Dariusz Stankiewicz, certified personal trainer and co-founder of Body Evolved, a boutique studio in NYC that combines physical therapy and strength coaching. Stretching can also alleviate soreness, although "there's not an actual thing that will just make it go away," he says.
That said, stretching before and after your strength-training workouts is always a good idea. "Before the workouts creates a window of opportunity for you to move through full ranges of motion [during the workout]," Stankiewicz says. "At the end, it serves as a way to restore some of these ranges of motions that might’ve tightened out as we work through our reps."
Here, Stankiewicz shares his favourite upper-body stretches to add to your routine. In addition to these moves, he also recommends foam rolling the tender area where your tricep meets your armpit. "That intersection of tissue in your armpit on the backside of it is always going to be super busy and super active, so you’ll always find soreness there," he says.
So, whether you're a Crossfitter or have a sore upper-body from your desk job, here are the stretches you need to know.