Upper / Lower Back – Shoulder / Latissimus / Lower Trap
General guidelines: To re-educate chronically tight muscles it is imperative that while stretching there is adequate blood flow going to the deep part of the muscle which is generally where the worst part of the strain is. Ideally, THE STRETCH SHOULD BE DONE WITHIN 5 MINUTES AFTER EXERCISE OR ACTIVITY. Even 5-10 minutes of steady activity around the house or office will help warm up the muscle so that you can get the maximum benefit of the stretch to the deep part of the muscle before it has a chance to cool down. This will insure that as the muscle cools down it doesn’t keep returning to the same set point over and over. It is ok to stretch before getting out of bed in the morning. This is a great way to loosen up and get the day started but it is not as effective for re-educating muscles as doing it after activity.
FREQUENCY : THE FIRST 2 WEEKS STRETCH FOR 10 SECONDS AND THEN REPEAT ONCE.
It’s important to get your body used to the feeling of the stretches and to get into the habit of doing it daily. As you get more comfortable with it, I would encourage you to stretch it longer (up to 30 seconds) if you have the time and/or it feels helpful. Most people won’t stretch indefinitely twice daily so after two weeks going to once daily is common.
Directions: KNEELING: Keep arms outstretched with head between arms and let your butt drop down onto the heels. You can also spread your legs apart some and this can increase the amount of stretch. STANDING: THE KITCHEN SINK is one of the best places to do it this way because it gives your hands something to grab onto but you can use a counter/chair or even your desk at work (seated or standing). Keep your arms and legs straight if you can while you lean back towards your butt. Drop your head between your elbows. You may feel this stretch in multiple places so GO GENTLY AT FIRST and as you get more comfortable with it you can lean your body to the right or left to target specific areas in the shoulders and upper back.