Foam Roller chest stretch
This is one of my all time favourite stretches to do after a work out or after a day at the computer.
Its a great way to stretch and lengthen tight pec muscles which can get short from poor posture. Most of us are guilty from slouching in a chair or rounding over a computer, car wheel, kitchen sink etc. we rarely stand or sit as we should, in an upright position.
Sore neck or aching shoulders can be a side effect of having tight pecs. Our pectoral muscles will pull our shoulders forward if they are tight. Rounded shoulders create even tighter pecs and even weaker back muscles that would normally help to pull your shoulders back. Even with back strengthening exercises it is difficult to correct this posture unless you relax the tight pecs and allow your back muscles to pull your shoulders back. Normally with prolonged rounded posture you will start to crane your neck forwards so that you can look straight ahead rather than at the floor which is where your shoulders have started to direct your gaze to. Try it now whilst reading this: exaggerate rounding your shoulders forward and down and where does you head go?… it looks down! So to look ahead you will know have to create a big arch in the back of your neck which will overtime get tight and start to ache.
How to achieve a great chest stretch
Stretching your pecs can be a great starting point for correcting this posture. If you don’t have a foam roller you can roll a towel up and place this underneath your back instead. Start by reaching your arms out to the side keeping them straight with your palms facing up. This is a much gentler stretch and would be good if you have incredibly tight pecs. If however you don’t feel much with this stretch then bend your elbows to 90 degrees and keep them in line with your shoulders and try to drop your hands and elbows at the same time towards the ground without flaring your ribcage or arching your back.
To begin with you may find that your arms won’t touch the ground and you will feel an intense stretch whilst they are floating. Eventually over time and with repeated practice you should find your pecs relaxing and your hands and elbows will touch the floor. You could also place some small 1kg weights in your hands to give your stretch a helping hand. Hold this stretch for a good 1-2 minutes and try and do this 2-3 times a day if you are really tight.
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