Stretch/MET: neck and top of shoulder (chair stretch)

Stretch for the neck and tops of shoulders

This exercise targets the muscles along the top of the shoulder and into the side of the neck. A lot of people suffer from tightness through this area, often associated with stress or sitting at a desk. Even with good desk ergonomics, tension can still remain in these muscles, but fortunately this is an easy and effective stretch that can be done at work.

Sitting on a chair where you can hold on underneath, let your shoulder drop and lean away. Typically holding this for roughly 5 seconds is sufficient. Make sure you let your head flop away for a stronger stretch. The stretch can be upgraded to a Muscle Energy Technique:

  1. In the same position as before, hold onto the underside of the chair
  2. Shrug straight up from the shoulder with the arm that’s holding on. Do this for 6 seconds with 20% of your force
  3. Relax and lean away as before. Hold this for at least 6 seconds, or longer if you feel that you’re still stretching further.
  4. Repeat from this stretched position as required.

Main muscles targeted: trapezius (upper fibres), levator scapula, scalenes.


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