DHave you ever felt like one of those rubber bands? Like you’re all twisted inward and your neck and shoulders are entwined in a tight, corded mess?
Staring at screens and staying in the same position for a long time without a break makes this painful sensation all too common.
“When we’re tight from lack of movement, your muscles can feel tense or stiff and you can have poor posture,” Kelsey Decker, NSCA-CPT, education coordinator for StretchLab, already said good + good. This bad posture can only worsen tightness in a compression feedback loop.
Unfortunately, not everyone has someone around to rub their shoulders on demand. This is why a new series of stretches mobilizing the shoulders and relieving the neck of Brian Spencer of East River Pilates– who describes the neck and shoulders as “two chronic sources of tension” – is just the thing.
Surprisingly, a key to lubricating this area is to actually open up your chest.
“Our pecs get really tight when we sit in front of our computers,” says Spencer. “Our head pulls forward and our shoulders pull together.” This shortens your chest muscles, which pulls you inward even more.
To combat this, Spencer starts with some stretches lying face down on the mat. You will place your hands close to your shoulders with elbows bent, then dip and twist to create space.
Moving into a seated position, it’s time to work on the neck. Massage increases blood flow to the worked area, which relaxes the muscles. You’re your best masseuse for this series, because when you press your neck muscles, you can feel the tension points, which Spencer advises you to stay for a while.
“It won’t be super comfortable during, but it will be really nice afterwards,” says Spencer. What a relief.