How many of you keep hearing that you need to get your shoulders back? I bet that you’re trying every time you ride. But somehow, it just doesn’t stick. Along with using your muscles to pull your shoulders back, you also need to stretch the muscles that are pulling them up and forward to begin with because those muscles, the pecs, are too tight.
When the shoulders are pulled up and forward, usually with a rounded upper spine, this is a defensive posture. It can be caused by gravity, but it also indicates anxiety, fear, worry, lack of confidence.
Here are some ways to stretch those pectoral muscles so that getting your shoulders back isn’t quite so hard:
- Stand in a doorway with your arms straight out to the side, touching the doorjamb. Lean through the doorway and stretch the pecs.
- Stand facing a wall, bringing one arm up nearly to shoulder height, straight or bent at the elbow. Turn away from that arm and toward the center of the room. Repeat on other side.
- Clasp your hands together, stretch up tall and, with straight arms, raise your wrists as high as you can. Over-arch the upper spine and lift the breastbone. Let go of your hands and let your arms drop, keeping the shoulder blades squeezed together. Let your shoulders relax down and slightly forward, but keep the shoulder blades squeezed together. Tuck the pelvis.
- Lie on the floor face up on a rolled-up towel along your spine. Let your shoulders relax toward the floor or have a friend gently add some pressure to help your shoulders go to the floor
Remember to hold a stretch for at least 30 seconds and try to continue to stretch for 60 seconds. Also remember to breathe and relax into the stretch. Stretching is easier if you breathe and relax. If you can’t relax (or even breathe), you’re trying too hard. Back off a little and try to find a happy medium between complete comfort and complete agony! Find a way to make this fun! Read something or reward yourself with something.