We do a number of activities in our daily lives that tighten our chest muscles and pull our shoulders forward. From that long drive to work “hunched” over the steering wheel, to typing on our computers for work or school, to physical activities such as tennis, our chest muscles are working overtime. As these chest muscles tighten, they begin to pull the shoulders forward which can cause the upper back muscles to be overstretched (and feel uncomfortable), impede shoulder function, and could prevent us from breathing fully (due to the improper posture) which could possibly cause feelings of fatigue.
Today’s stretch is one you can do at home or even at work to begin opening up the shoulders and chest area and start to bring balance to the chest and back. All you need is a wall!
Before we begin, I want to emphasize that you please listen to your body and move slowly! You should feel tension, but not pain. Begin by facing the wall, and extend your right arm out from your body like a T. Keeping a slight bend in the elbow, place the palm of the right hand on the wall.
Begin by facing the wall, and extend your right arm out from your body like a T. Keeping a slight bend in the elbow, place the palm of the right hand on the wall.
From here, start to turn your body to the left, attempting to get the right shoulder on the wall. This may be plenty! If you feel you can go further, continue to turn the body away from the wall (towards the left shoulder) until you feel tension. Hold this for 30 seconds and then switch sides.
Next, face the wall again, extend the right arm out like a T and then bend the elbow until it looks like a cactus arm (or half a goal post). Once the palm and elbow are touching the wall, start to turn the body to the left. Once again trying to get the right shoulder on the wall. Stay here if you are feeling tension. Otherwise, continue to turn the body towards the left until you feel the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds and then switch sides.