Are You Slouching?
If you are reading this, you are probably looking down, slouched over and straining your back, neck and shoulders. Am I right?
Most people do when they are on their cellphone, iPad or laptop. It's natural to slouch, however, we aren't using our skeletal system correctly as it is designed. Physical Therapist and Chiropractors see patients all the time for problems associated with computer/desk work etc. When you lean your head and shoulders forward you are putting significant strain on your upper, middle and lower back as well as your neck muscles. Your head weighs approximately 10 lbs and as you tilt it forward your body compensates to hold it up.
Strengthen your upper back, shoulders and neck with these stretches above. Do them daily several times to re-train your body correctly so it feels more natural to sit/stand up straight.
Pigeon with a Half Knot
Between playing tennis and my gym workouts I need to do this stretch at least once a week to stay flexible. It's a great hip exercise to stretch the glute muscles and lower back. Hold the stretch 1-3 minutes and then switch sides.
Best Ab Move to Get You in Shape
Build functional core strength by doing side planks. According to Men's Fitness (UK) and Shape magazines this year, this is one of the BEST moves to shrink and tighten your mid-section to really get to your obliques and your quadratus lumborum, which is a small but very significant muscle of the low back that if weakened can cause chronic back pain. You may start on your elbow and build up your strength to do a full side plank. Hold as long as you can without dropping your hips. Repeat on the other side.
This roller stretch hurts to start with on your glutes but it is excellent to work out the soreness. Bend and crossover the leg of the side you are working to get a deeper stretch. Roll back & forth until it eases. Also, hold static on top of the sore spot for a bit. It will feel better soon - I promise!
Better Sore Than Sorry!
Regular gym training, Power Yoga and competitive tennis all equal one thing - SORE MUSCLES! Making time with the foam roller and stretching is a MUST do. It's a definite LOVE/HATE relationship but it's the only way to go!