Friday, February 8, 2008

Upper Back Stretching

Today we'll focus on the upper back musculature in regards to stretching. The upper back is loaded with a variety of muscles which help the scapula, shoulders and arms complete the many complicated movements we perform with our arms each day. Several of the muscles also connect to the spine in the neck, base of the skull and between the shoulder blades.

Due to the complexity and multi-layered nature of the muscles in this area, it is often a region with many injury and soreness problems (second only to the lower back in injury statistics).

Rather than go into a lengthy discussion about each muscles specific function and movement, I will provide a variety of stretching exercises for this entire region of the back which are effective and important to perform to warm up for any type of exercise or activity involving the arms or upper back.
Horizontal adduction stretch

Overhead Triceps and Lat stretch

Scapular Retraction stretch

Overhead Shoulder stretch

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Chest Stretching - Pectorals

Today we'll adress stretching the chest muscles or pectorals (Sorry, couldn't help but put a picture of Arnold in today as he shows off his freakish chest). The anterior or front chest muscles we are addressing today consist of the Anterior Deltoid, Pectoralis Minor and Pectoralis Major.

These muscles serve to help with shoulder flexion (pushing the arm forward) and horizontal adduction (pulling your arms together in front of your body).
There are several simple, yet effective stretches which can be done to help stretch the upper, middle and lower part of these muscle groups as indicated below. As with all stretches, go slowly and try to hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds.
Corner Stretch

Doorway Stretch

Hands behind back stretch