DDo you ever feel like you resemble that rubber band ball? Are you all bent inward and your neck and shoulders are wrapped in a tight, ropey mess?
Staring at a screen and staying in one position for long periods of time without a break makes this feeling of pain very common.
“When we’re tight from lack of movement, your muscles can feel tight or stiff and you can experience poor posture,” Kelsey Decker, NSCA-CPT, StretchLab’s education coordinator, previously told Well+Good. This poor posture can only compound the tightness in a feedback loop of contraction.
Unfortunately, not everyone has someone to rub shoulders with when they need it. That’s why a new shoulder mobilizing and neck relieving stretch series from Brian Spencer of East River Pilates—who describes the neck and shoulders as “two sources of chronic tension”—is called for.
Surprisingly, one of the keys to lubricating this area is actually opening up your chest.
“Our pecs get really tight when we sit at our computers,” says Spencer. “Pulling our heads forward and pulling our shoulders together.” This shortens your chest muscles, which pulls you inward more.
To combat this, Spencer starts by lying face down on the mat and doing some stretches. You place your hands near your shoulders with bent elbows and dip and twist to create space.
Moving to a sitting position, it’s time to work on the neck. Massage increases blood flow to the affected area, which relaxes the muscles. You’re your own best masseuse for this series, because as you press along the muscles of your neck, you may feel spots of tension — where Spencer suggests you stay for a while.
“It won’t feel very comfortable at the time, but it’ll feel really great afterwards,” Spencer says. What peace.