Neck and shoulder stretches. One of my biggest struggles with exercise is my constant neck/shoulder tension Here's the deets on my fave neck and shoulder stretches!
Like most days it's fine, but sometimes I tweak it during a workout, or sleep on it wrong, and it can ruin everything. That sounds dramatic, but no joke, I've made soooo many emergency chiropracter appointments before I leave for a trip or go to a big event. It impacts my life that much.
Especially as women, we carry so much tension in our shoulders. That combined with sitting at a desk hunched over all day = bad news bears. Over time, the muscles across the top of your shoulders (your trapezius muscles) and the muscles across your chest (pectoral muscles) shorten to the point that your neck starts to get out of alignment.
So much of it has to do with genetic bone structure, but there are lots of ways to keep the tension to a minimum so things don't get worse. And honestly, there are so many other excuses available, this can be one less reason you aren't able to get through your workout! Here are my best stretches for lengthening the muscles in your upper body to help you get rid of all that tension.
Seated Neck Release: Side of the Neck
Sit criss cross on the floor or in a chair with your feet flat on the ground. Gently place your left hand on your knee and right hand on the top of your head. Slowly tilt your head to the right and add a gentle pressure. Breath slowly and hold for about 30 seconds.
Chin to Chest: Back of Neck/Upper Back
Sit criss cross on the floor with a tall spine or in a chair with your feet flat on the ground. From here, begin to gently tuck your chin into your chest. . Hold here for at least 30 seconds, and then slowly lift your head up. Option to interlace hands behind your head for more pressure and a deeper stretch.
Supine: Front/Side of the Neck, Chest, Shoulder & Spine
Start on your back with knees bent. Bring your arms out to the side in a large T. Use you left hand to put pressure on the bent knees and push down towards the floor on your left side. Keep both shoulders on the floor.. For a deeper stretch, turn your head to face your right hand, away from the knees. Stay here for 30 seconds then repeat on the opposite side.
Seated Heart Opener: Front of the Neck
Sit criss cross on the floor with a tall spine or in a chair with your feet flat on the ground. Begin to tilt your chin toward the sky and hold for 30 seconds. To increase the stretch, lower your hands to your side and push them into the ground while you stretch upward. This will help you stretch into your throat & front of your chest even more.
Seated Release: Side of the Neck, Shoulder, Chest
Sit criss cross on the floor or in a chair with your feet flat on the ground. Gently place your right arm, bent behind your back. Reach back and gently grab your wrist with your left hand. Sit with a tall spine and lift your chest up toward the sky. Begin to tilt your head to the left and breath, holding for about 30 seconds.