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Autumn Stretch: Triceps brachii

Autumn brings crisp air, scarves, socks and leaves piling up on your front lawn. Raking gives us the perfect opportunity to get outside, get some fresh air, and get in a workout — all at the same time, not to mention that your yard will look great when you’re done. Grab a rake, a bottle of water, and have at those leaves. Raking is considered moderate physical activity that helps build upper-body strength, as well as core strength.

As with any physical activity, you should warm up your muscles before you start working them. Try walking around the yard, doing some arm circles forwards and backwards. Then you can follow your raking with this gentle stretch to your tricep muscles.

The triceps, also triceps brachii (Latin for “three-headed muscle of the arm”), is a large muscle on the back of the upper arm. It is the muscle responsible for extension of the elbow joint (straightening of the arm).

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To stretch the triceps:

Step 1: Start either seated in a comfortable position or standing with your feet hip-width apart. Take a deep breath in and roll your shoulders up to your ears, then down and back (depress and retract the scapulae). Reach your right arm up keeping your shoulder down (away from your ears). Bending at the elbow, let your right hand drop to the middle of your back, palm facing your back. Reach your left hand up and place your palm on your right elbow, applying light pressure to deepen the stretch.

Step 2: Hold the stretch position for a minimum of 30 seconds for 2-4 repetitions and alternating side; try to stretch a little deeper each repetition.

NOTE: If you are feeling extra stiff try taking a warm epsom salts bath or shower to warm up your muscles prior to these stretches. Move in and out of each stretch carefully. All stretches should be PAIN FREE. If you feel pain during any of these stretches please STOP performing the exercise.