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Upper Body Warm-up Routine

When working out, often times warming up gets overlooked because it is not typically viewed as fun or important. However, just because warming up may not be the "sexy" part of the workout, it is probably "THE MOST" important part of any workout!

Why is warming up so important you ask? The benefits of a warm-up include:

  • Elevated heart rate and respiratory rate

  • Dynamically warms-up your muscles and joints

  • Activates the nervous system

  • Addresses areas of weakness

Ultimately all of these benefits lead to increased performance during your workout! So if you are looking to crush a workout, do not skip out on your warm-up because your performance will actually suffer. Warming up prepares your body for the upcoming task, so it is better able to handle the demands of your workout. Another great benefit of a customized warm-up is that it can address your specific areas of weakness, so that way your body is working more efficiently and effectively during the workout, which will lead to greater gains!

In this blog, we will lay out a great upper body warm-up routine that will address many important areas for improved performance during an upper body focused workout. When we are focusing on the upper body, there are a few key areas that we want to make sure we address to help us get the most benefit out of our workout:

  1. Shoulder and thoracic mobility

  2. Scapular stability

  3. Rotator cuff activation

The following 4 exercises will specifically target these areas to ensure that your upper body is ready for the task at hand.

PVC Pass Thrus

PVC Pass Thrus are a great exercise to dynamically warm-up your shoulders. This movement takes the shoulders through a large range of motion and also provides a dynamic stretch for your pecs. Typically, we all have increased tightness in our pecs from prolonged sitting and increased technology use. This is a great exercise to help counteract this increase in pec tightness and also get the shoulders moving through their full range of motion to prepare for the movements ahead.

KB Lat Pullover

A Lat pullover is probably an exercise that you are familiar with; however, it is often performed lying down on the ground or even flat on a bench. Performing a lat pullover with your mid back supported on the side of the bench allows for an increase in range of motion and also helps improve thoracic mobility. This exercise improves lat flexibility and thoracic extension with the overhead movement and then targets eccentric lat strength when returning the KB to the starting position. Again, this is a great movement to incorporate into a warm-up prior to an upper body workout as it improves shoulder and thoracic mobility and initiates lat activation.

1/2 Kneeling Face Pull

The face pull is another exercise that you may be familiar with. The benefit of the face pull is that it helps with scapular stability. Scapular stability is important because our scapulas (shoulder blades) are the base in which our shoulder joints move on. And as with everything in life, it is important to have a strong base. If the base is not solid, then it can allow for break downs and inefficiency elsewhere in the system. By performing this exercise in a 1/2 kneeling position as opposed to the traditional standing position, it adds an element of core stability. And speaking of having a strong and stable base, we also need a strong and stable core for all movements!

Bell Up KB Floor Press

This exercise is great for rotator cuff activation and shoulder stability. The rotator cuff is a group of 4 muscles that provide stability to our shoulder joint. Their job specifically is to help keep the ball of the shoulder joint centered in the socket, so that it can move smoothly and efficiently. The rotator cuff muscles are the main stabilizing component of the shoulder joint, so it is very important to have a strong rotator cuff and to make sure that you activate them prior to a workout. This allows the rotator cuff to provide you with the stability you need for your main lifts during the workout.

Wrapping It Up

If performance and gains are your goal in the gym, then do NOT underestimate the importance of a proper warm-up. Sure, these movements may not be as fun as repping out a bunch of weight on a bench press or jerking a ton of weight overhead, but if you want to be able to do these movements better and see greater gains then a proper warm-up is a MUST! Not only is warming up going to help you see an improvement in your performance, it is also going to help increase your longevity and decrease your risk for injury. Taking care of our bodies and providing them with what they need (and they need a good warm-up) is going to be key to us being able to sustain longevity in a sport and maintain an active lifestyle.

We hope that you find these exercises add value to your workouts and if you are dealing with pain or an injury that is keeping you from living life to the fullest, reach out to us today to see how we can help. You can call/text 515-985-9038 or email

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