Chinese Tai Chi Stretches and
Exercises for Warming Up

While Chinese Tai Chi is a low impact activity, doing pre Tai Chi stretches and exercises for warming up helps you get the most out of your Tai Chi practice.

The benefits of doing Tai Chi exercises and stretches include greater strength, flexibility and balance and reduced risk of injury during your Tai Chi sessions and less chance of sore muscles and joints after Tai Chi.

The particular Tai Chi warm up exercises and stretches below target major body areas such as your neck, back, shoulders and legs and only take 10-15 minutes to do. As with all warm up and stretching exercises, start gently, increase speed and/or tension gradually and never force an exercise beyond what feels comfortable.

Tai Chi Stretches and Exercises for Warming Up

1. Arm Rotations: Loosens your shoulder joints and muscles, stretches your upper back and chest, stretches your intercostal muscles (between your ribs) and expands your ribcage, all of which helps your breathing.

2. Back Twist: Loosens your spine, hips and shoulders, aligns your vertebrae, massages and invigorates your abdominal organs and enhances blood circulation.

3. Back Arch: Loosens and stretches your upper back and neck and your lower back and pelvic area.

4. Knee Circles: Loosens and limbers your knees and ankles.

5. Forward Lunge: Stretches and strengthens your thighs, knees, ankles and lower back, improves your balance and opens vital energy channels from your spine to your feet.

6. Lumbar Rub: Warms and strengthens your lower back, boosts local blood circulation; relieves and prevents lower back pain and invigorates and strengthens your kidneys, which are considered in Traditional Chinese Medicine to be your most important organs.

7. Forward-Backward Bend: Forward bends stretch your spine and the backs of your legs, calm your nervous system, bring blood to your head and face and squeeze excess fat from your belly. Backward bends stretch your abs and chest, arch your spine in the opposite direction to forward bends and stimulate your nervous system.

There are dozens more exercises on this site, many of which can be done as pre Tai Chi stretches and exercises for warming up. You know your body best though so experiment to see which ones work best for you - you'll then get more from your Tai Chi sessions.

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