Hunched over our desks, phones, laptops, books and tablets has made us a nation with rounded shoulders, forward protruding heads (forward relative to our shoulders) and kyphotic thoracic spines (curved upper back). This results amongst other detrimental features: very tight shoulders; tight ligaments, tendons and muscles that all protect the connections between the bones comprising the shoulder joint. This results in a limited range of motion at the shoulder joints, and can put you at risk of injury during certain exercises or everyday activities.
So…the good news is that is reversible! By doing each of the following 9x exercises for 1 minute every day you will soon see drastic improvements! Let’s get started right away!
**REMEMBER: DO NOT PUSH FURTHER THAN YOU CAN GO CURRENTLY, just repeat with ease to the edge of your current range of motion and the joint will ease up over the upcoming weeks. NEVER FORCE THE STRETCH!**
1. Rolling shoulders: Whilst standing, roll your shoulders upwards, backwards and down for 30 seconds. Then roll your shoulders backwards, forwards and down for 30 seconds.
2. Resistance Band Overhead Stretches: stand with straight arms in front of you, both hands gripping the resistance band in front of you, with palms facing the floor. Keeping your arms straight, lift the band up and then over your head and then, if possible, downwards until the resistance band touches your lower back. Then reverse the motion and repeat for one minute.
3. Resistance Band External Rotation: standing, grip the resistance band with both hands with palms facing the ceiling. Then lock both elbows into your sides and bend both elbows. From here, keep the left hand where it is, and – still gripping the resistance band – move your right hand out to the side as far as you can (this will likely not be very far). Make sure that you keep the tension and grip high with the left hand so that your left arm/hand does not move when moving your right hand out to the side. Reverse and repeat for 30 seconds and the perform on the other side.
4. Kneeling Extensions: kneel on the floor with your bottom resting on your heels, and arms by your sides. Now kneel upright (by lifting your pelvis up and forward) and at the same time, swing your straight arms forwards and up (try to get the inside of your upper arms to touch your ears, but don’t force it!). Reverse and repeat for 1 minute.
6. Side Stretch: in an upright kneel position, put your left hand on your left hip and with the right hand reach over the head towards your left-hand-side. Try to imagine a glass pane directly in front and behind you, so that you go sideways (not forwards or backwards in any way). Reverse and repeat for 30 seconds, and then switch sides.
7. Unilateral Chest Stretch: starting kneeled, with your bottom resting on your heels, move your torso forwards and put your left palm on the floor. Bend your left elbow and keep your elbow directly above your left wrist. Now move your left shoulder towards the floor and feel a stretch in the left side of the chest/shoulder. Hold for 5 seconds, release and repeat. Continue for 30 seconds and then switch sides.
7. Deltoid Stretch: starting kneeled, with your bottom resting on your heels, move your torso forwards and put you left shoulder on the floor. Outstretch your left arm underneath your body, so that your left hand is level with your left shoulder. Then slightly twist your torso to the left. Feel the stretch across the back of the shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds and then switch sides.
8. Reverse Grasp Stretch: sitting sideways on a chair, clasp your hands behind your back into a single fist. Sit up tall and then gently lift your fist behind you. If you need a bit of assistance, stand and bend your torso towards your thighs so that your fist now moves above your head. Hold for 30 seconds.
9. Armpit Depression Stretch: standing, place two hands on a surface/bar/worktop in front of you and then move your feet back so that your arms are straight out in front of you and your legs straight as well. Your back and legs should be at 90 degrees to each other (an ‘r-shape’). Once comfortable, slowly push both your armpits towards the floor and feel the stretch in the back of the shoulder/upper back.
That’s it! It takes less than 10 minutes every morning – you’re going to feel great!
If you have any questions, as always, just ask.