Arm Circles (How To, Muscles Worked)


Arm Circles

Arm Circles are a super simple upper-body warmup exercise that helps loosen up the shoulders, chest and upper back.

In this guide, I’m going to explain how to do Arm Circles.


How To Do Arm Circles


Equipment Needed

  • None

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Start in a standing position, feet hip-width apart, arms hanging freely to the sides.
  • Begin moving the arms in a circular motion – first reaching the hands behind the body, then up overhead, straight out in front and finally back to the starting position.
  • Count each complete circle as one rep.
  • Once all reps are completed, reverse directions and do the same number of revolutions going the opposite way.

Coaching Points

This is a simple, but very effective way to quickly start to warm up the upper body. Unfortunately, its simplicity often makes Arm Circles undervalued and overlooked. This can lead to poor, half-hearted reps.

Make sure to really reach for a full range of motion with each rotation. As the shoulders begin to loosen up the range of motion for each rep should slightly increase.

I often like to pair Arm Circles up with Cross-Body Arm Swings. To do Cross-Body Swings, reach your arms out to your sides and as far back as possible. Swing your arms in as if you’re giving yourself a big hug. Then swing them back out and repeat.


Muscles Worked


Arm Circles primarily emphasize the shoulders, but will also affect the chest, upper back, biceps and triceps.


More Links and Info


For more warm-up movements head over to the Warm-Up Section of the Exercise Library.

Ryan Horton

Horton Barbell was created by Ryan Horton who has served as a Sports Performance Coach for almost 20 years. My mission is to create a training resource to help as many coaches and athletes as possible maximize athletic potential.

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