Workout Details

  • Duration: 20 Minutes
  • Calorie Burn: 55-89
  • Difficulty: 1/5
  • Equipment: No Equipment
  • Training Type: Stretching/Flexibility
  • Video Player: View on YouTube
Body Focus Upper Body

Active Upper Body Stretch Workout - PNF Stretch Routine for the Upper Body

A long day in front of the computer, the aftermath of a particularly brutal upper body strength workout, or too many hours spent becoming one with the couch as you binge watch your favorite streaming shows; no matter what the reason, sometimes you could really use a long upper body stretch to loosen up those tight joints and muscles and get you back to normal. Well, if that is what you need, then this upper body stretch routine will be the perfect workout for you.



There are two different ways you can go through this routine depending on how much effort you feel like putting in. Option one is to do an active stretch by following along with the video exactly as it is demonstrated, which includes using your own musculature to pull yourself into each stretch. This has a number of benefits, which I will cover below. Option two is to do a passive stretch by removing the contracting of your own muscles to pull into each stretch. Instead, using gravity, a static object, or another limb to pull yourself into each stretch allows for a much more relaxing form of this routine. Just keep in mind that you will have to modify the stretches slightly from their original form to do them passively. You can always mix it up per stretch as well, and do a combination of both styles.

If you do decide to tackle the active version, this will be a very different experience (especially if you have never tried active stretching before). This actually is a form of PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation) stretching, which uses your own body's natural mechanisms to help facilitate a deeper and more productive stretch. Simply put, by contracting the opposite muscle you are trying to stretch, it causes the stretched muscle to more fully relax, allowing it to lengthen more than it would with a passive stretch.  But getting a deeper stretch is not the only benefit to this style of stretching. Active stretching can also help to facilitate muscle tone, and control over the increased range of motion that you are developing, as well as more readily expose any imbalances in flexibility or strength from left side to right side and front to back. This style of stretching also burns calories as you have to engage multiple muscles for long durations through this routine.

Let me know what you think in the comment section below.

Loved this routine and wished there was one for the lower body as well? We have you covered with our Lower Body Active Stretch Routine - PNF Stretch Routine for the Lower Body. Feel free to add them together for a super-effective total body stretch or split them up over the day or week.


Printable Workout
- Overhead Reach + Side Bend 
- Other Side
- Round to Open Chest
- Arm Cross Stretch 
- Other Side 
- Chest Opener (90*)
- Chest Opener (Down 45*)
- Chest Opener (Up 180 *)
- Overhead Tricep + Lean 
- Other Side 
- Rotator Cuff (Elbows to side, Open)
- Rotator Cuff (Elbows to side, Closed)
- Rotator Cuff (Elbows up in straight line, Open)
- Rotator Cuff (Elbows up in straight line, Closed)
- Rotator Cuff (Elbow straight in front of shoulder joint, Open)
- Rotator Cuff (Elbow straight in front of shoulder joint, Closed)

-- Break --

- Wrist Stretch Up
- Wrist Stretch Down


- Neck Side Stretch 
- Neck Side Stretch Chin Down 
- Neck Side Stretch Chin Up 
- Repeat this sequence on opposite side


- Neck Front Stretch Chin Up
- Neck Back Stretch Chin Down
- Arm Cross + Rotation 
- Arm Cross + Rotation