The front of my shoulders and chest feel tight. Should I stretch them?
Life tends to be more forward - sitting at desks, in cars, and looking at technology all bring our shoulders and head forward. When this happens regularly, the front of the shoulders and pectoral muscles get tight and the mid back muscles get weak. People commonly feel they want to stretch the chest, shoulders, and neck. Stretching these areas may provide temporary relief but it's not the only answer. In order to prevent the shoulders and chest from getting tight, you need to strengthen the mid back muscles: the muscles in between your shoulder blades and the erector muscles that surround the spine allowing for upright posture. When the mid back muscles are strong, it is easier to have ideal posture allowing the chest to remain open and the shoulders to sit comfortably in the socket, eliminating the tight chest and shoulder feeling. Here are two simple exercises to strengthen your mid back muscles and stretch your chest muscle:
Rocket: Lay on your stomach with your arms long by your side. Lift your hands off of the mat and reach your fingers long towards your feet so you feel the muscles underneath your shoulder blades ( Latissimus muscles) activate. Draw your shoulder blades slightly toward one another so your chest is open then lift your upper back and hold the position for 30 seconds. You can rest for 30 seconds and repeat up to three times. Doing this once for 30 seconds a day can improve your mid back strength and posture.
Wall stretch: Stand in a doorway and put your forearm against the door frame. Keep the front of your shoulder moving backwards toward the back of your body and turn your body away from the door frame until you feel a stretch in your chest and the front of your shoulder. Hold for 20 seconds each side and repeat one time if desired.
Upright posture for life!!