Joel Peterson, Personal Trainer

The Benefits of Stretching Part II

JOEL PETERSON – Level 5 Personal Trainer Apple Athletic Club

Last week I introduced you to the Basics of Stretching and Range of Motion Techniques. Please refer back to the previous article for instructions on proper technique, safety and benefits. This week I will expand some great stretches for the upper-body which will round out your routine.

Remember to NEVER GO BEYOND MILD DISCOMFORT. YOU CAN OVER-EXTEND AND CAUSE DAMAGE TO YOUR TISSUE, SO AS IN ALL EXERCISES, WORK OUT SMART. I’m constantly telling my clients “More is not Better! Smarter is Better!” Ok, let’s get it on.


Arm Circles

      1. Stand up and extend your arms straight out by the sides. The arms should be parallel to the floor and perpendicular (90-degree angle) to your torso. This will be your starting position.
      1. Slowly start to make circles of about 1 foot in diameter with each outstretched arm. Breathe normally as you perform the movement.
      1. Continue the circular motion of the outstretched arms for about ten seconds. Then reverse the movement, going the opposite direction.

Arm Circles

Tip: Ten second movements equal one set and each circle equals one repetition.

Variations: As you get stronger you can use some light resistance

Chest and Front of Shoulder Stretch

      1. Start off by standing with your legs together, holding a bodybar or a broomstick.
      2. Take a slightly wider than shoulder width grip on the pole and hold it in front of you with your palms facing down.
      3. Carefully lift the pole up and behind your head.


Remain aware of your lower body alignment. Keep your stomach muscles tucked in and your lower back muscles contracted to avoid arching your lower back.

Chin To Chest Stretch

      1. Get into a seated position on the floor.
      2. Place both hands at the rear of your head, fingers interlocked, thumbs pointing down and elbows pointing straight ahead. Slowly pull your head down to your chest. Hold for 20-30 seconds.


Child’s Pose

      1. Get on your hands and knees, walk your hands in front of you.
      2. Lower your buttocks down to sit on your heels. Let your arms drag along the floor as you sit back to stretch your entire spine.
      3. Once you settle onto your heels, bring your hands next to your feet and relax. “Breathe” into your back. Rest your forehead on the floor. Avoid this position if you have knee problems.


Dynamic Back Stretch

      1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. This will be your starting position.
      2. Keeping your arms straight, swing them straight up in front of you 5-10 times, increasing the range of motion each time until your arms are above your head.


These stretching movements, along with last week’s, will give you a good start on increasing your flexibility and range of motion. I will periodically add more movements for you to further advance your flexibility and range of motion.

You are What You Eat

Before I end our session today I want to give you another reminder of the importance of healthy eating habits. I’m sure you’ve heard that old saying, and it’s as true today as it ever was. There is no way around these simple facts:

      • It may not be as convenient as you would like.
      • It may be more costly in the short term, both in dollars and cents and in the amount of time required to obtain and prepare healthy foods.
      • Make no mistake — there are no short-cuts when it comes to this single most important thing you can do for your health, eat healthy!

In today’s world, the need for speed has taken over our lives. Fast and processed foods are what most working people and families seek out for the sake of convenience and speed. Then when years of bad food choices take their toll on health, people want to feel better by tomorrow. They want to be at their ideal weight by next week. And as luck would have it, there is an endless supply of drugs and fake foods available promising to do just that. Unfortunately, nearly all of these “magic pills” and diets can worsen your health even more in the long run.

Ultimately, the simplest and most effective way to achieve good health and a long life is to focus on the nutrition you are putting in your body on a daily basis.

FITNESS FACT: Visualization can help to improve your workout. By visualizing yourself completing the exercise before you actually perform it, then you will be able to perform the exercise with more intensity and effectiveness.

Back to the main Let’s Get Healthy Together page.