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:
- In the same position as before, hold onto the underside of the chair
- Shrug straight up from the shoulder with the arm that’s holding on. Do this for 6 seconds with 20% of your force
- Relax and lean away as before. Hold this for at least 6 seconds, or longer if you feel that you’re still stretching further.
- Repeat from this stretched position as required.
Main muscles targeted: trapezius (upper fibres), levator scapula, scalenes.