Simple upper body stretches to loosen you up!

We run well when our upper bodies are relaxed. However a hard run can cause even the best runners to tighten up by tensing the shoulders, pulling in the arms and even hunching over slightly in the upper back.

Help your body to recover from this and encourage it towards relaxed upright running by stretching to loosen off any tight muscles in your arms or upper back.

Here are three stretches you can include in your post-run routine. Aim to hold them for 8-10 seconds, with a feeling of mild discomfort, but ease off if it starts to hurt.

They are all simple standing up stretches, which are easy to do anywhere, so no excuses! Begin loosening yourself up by rolling your shoulders forwards and backwards after a run, and then move on to these stretches.


Repetitive arm movements in our running can make for tight triceps. So it is great to give them a stretch at the end of a run to help them recover and return to normal.

Put one arm up above your head and bend at the elbow to reach down behind your head. Use the other hand to put a slight pressure on the arm to feel the stretch on the back of your arm in the tricep area.

Do not press on the elbow joint itself. Repeat for the other arm.

upper body stretches

triceps stretch

Upper back stretch

We all know that in a run we want to be upright and not hunched, but it is very difficult to avoid this entirely, especially when tired.

Stretch out that back after a run with this simple stretch. It also works if your back is tight from sitting staring at a computer too!

Grip your arms in front of your body as shown here. Look very slightly down, but make sure there is no pressure on your neck and feel the stretch across the top of your back.

upper body stretches

upper back stretch

Chest Stretch

If you have had a difficult run which has caused your arms to creep upwards and your shoulders and upper body to tighten, then you can also relieve that with this easy chest stretch.

Clasp your hands behind you and thrust your chest forwards looking very slightly up. You should feel this across the front of your chest.

upper body stretches

chest stretch

Don’t forget also to stretch your legs (the main muscles you have used for running) – see my previous articles: quick leg stretches, and lying down leg stretches.

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