Chest Stretch

Dose

Hold for 20 seconds on each side 3 times per day. Continue to use this stretch when your symptoms come one, even after you have progressed to the next exercise.

Purpose

Tension in the chest and abdominal muscles can lead to dysfunction in the shoulders, neck, and upper back. Many everyday tasks can contribute to tension in the chest, including computer work, exercises like push-ups and sit-ups, and driving. Stretching the chest regularly can help to maintain mobility and improve symptoms.

Method

Stand side on to a wall with the side you want to stretch closest to the wall. Place the close elbow on the wall just above shoulder height with the forearm pointing upwards. Take a step forward with both feet, keeping the arm on the wall. Sweep the inside foot across the outside foot to twist the trunk slightly. Then, lower your body forwards towards the wall to feel a stretch across the chest and shoulder.

In the maximally stretched position, breathe diaphragmatically to feel a stretch across the ribs. You can then reach across the body with the far hand and gently pull on the ribcage under the arm that is stretching. Adjust elbow position higher and lower as you repeat the stretch tol target different parts of the chest.

If you experience pain in the shoulder with this stretch, try squeezing the shoulder blades together as you lean towards the wall, or lowering the elbow position on the wall to shoulder height. If you still have pain, change to the Fulcrum Rotation exercise available in this prescription, as this will also stretch the chest.

Common Mistakes

• Twisting the wrong way. Make sure you take the leg that is closest to the wall across in front of the leg that is farthest from the wall so that the hips twist away from the wall.

• Turning the chest towards the wall. Thes chest should be pointing away from the elbow on the wall during this stretch for maximum effect. Try not to turn the chest towards the wall as you lean forward during the last part of this stretch. If you have trouble with this or are not feeling the stretch, try placing the elbow against a door frame and then leaning forward and away from the elbow through the door.

Progression Threshold

Progress to the next exercise when you can hold this stretch comfortably for 20 seconds.

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