A word on stretches…
A stretch is designed to lengthen muscle tissue to allow for a greater range of motion. In order to do this, the holds for a stretch need to be a minimum of 2 minutes. Holding for only 20-30 seconds will not get the job done.
Upper Trap Stretch
Sit on the edge of a chair and grip the seat with one of your arms to anchor the shoulder down on that side. Tilt your ear towards your shoulder away from the side gripping the chair. You should feel a comfortable stretch on the side of the neck, maintain this for the allotted hold time and then repeat on the other side.
Suggested program: Hold for a 1 minute stretch and complete 2, complete 1 time per day on each side
Open book stretch
Lying down on your side, bring your knees up to your chest as much as is comfortable to target the right area for this stretch. You may use a pillow under your head to keep your neck in neutral alignment. Straighten both arms out in front of you with palms together. Maintain both knees together the entire time. Rotate the top arm and head to the opposite side until you feel a stretch. Hold for a count and then return to the starting position.
Suggested program: Hold each rep for 30 seconds focusing on deep breaths and sinking deeper into the stretch, perform 4 reps on each side 1-2 times per day.
Corner Pec stretch
Using a corner or a doorway place both arms up at about a 90 degree angle from the body. Think about pulling your shoulder blades back and gently lean your body forward until a stretch is felt in the front of your chest. You may adjust the height of the arms up or down a little from the starting position to find different muscles that are tighter and require more attention.
Suggested program: Hold this stretch for 2 minutes. Perform this 1-2 times per day.