You may be asking, “What does a chest stretch have to do with the neck and shoulders?” The chest muscles are often neglected when it comes to stretching to maintain proper head and shoulder posture. As people work with their hands in front of them, such as, when working on a computer, sewing, reading, etc., they often leave their shoulders in a forward rotated position due to the tension that builds up in the chest muscles. The result is a slouching posture that leaves the head in a forward position and puts extra stress and strain on the neck and upper back. By stretching the chest muscles throughout the day you counteract this tension and helps you position your shoulders in a neutral position supporting a proper posture. When performing this stretch you should feel the stretch across the chest and front of the shoulders. It is important that when performing stretches that the individual does not have pain or numbness, but a mild stretching sensation in the muscles of the targeted area. Please consult with a doctor if you have any questions about this exercise.
– First find a doorway or corner that you can place your forearms and hands in a vertical position
– Make sure that your elbows are not higher than shoulder height when forearms and hands are placed on doorway or wall.
– From this position gently lean into the doorway or corner until you feel a good stretch across the chest and shoulders, remember no pain
– Hold this position for 10 seconds and repeat 3 times
When should you perform the chest stretch?
If you have a slouching posture or anytime you work for a long period of time with your hands in front of you. If you work in front of a computer this stretch should be performed about every hour.
When should I avoid performing the chest stretch?
If you experience pain in the shoulder or chest when performing the stretch. Consult with a doctor if you experience any of these issues when performing the stretch.