Stretching is important in injury prevention, recovery, and correcting imbalances. One muscle group that is often neglected being stretched is the chest. This is one of the most important areas to stretch due to it’s impact on posture. Tight chest muscles pull the shoulders forward, causing a rounded upper back, leading to pain in the shoulders, neck, and entire back. Since the body functions as a whole unit, if one area is tight or imbalanced it affects other areas of the body as well. Once we begin to develop these severe imbalances we put ourselves at risk for injury and pain. If you are working with fitness professional or personal trainer in Portland Or, let them know about your posture at work and how often you are sitting, at the computer, etc., especially on training day. This a perfect time to do some excellent chest stretching between sets. This is especially helpful when exercising the back muscles. If the chest muscles are to tight during back training day, it will hinder full range of motion.
Avoid tight chest muscles by being aware of your posture, especially while sitting. Most Americans spend much of their day seated either at a desk or in a car. In these positions we tend to slouch and let our shoulders drop forward. After extended periods of time like this our chest muscles shorten and our upper back muscles become weak and lengthened. Avoid this by sitting up straight, pulling your shoulders back and keeping your chest up.
Remembering to stretch your chest often helps prevent such imbalances. Try the standing chest stretch: stand in a doorway with your elbows bent at 90 degrees and at shoulder height. With your arms pressed against each side of the doorway, lean forward. Hold for 30 seconds. Another stretch to try is a towel chest stretch. Hold each end of a small towel and bring it overhead, elbows out to each side. Hold for 30 seconds.
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