Did you know that you can combine shoulder stretch and back stretches as part of your cool down.
This not only increases your range of movement, but stretching helps to reduce your risk of injury.
Developmental movements like the shoulder stretch and back stretches are particularly effective because they work at stretching several muscle groups at once, more accurately reflecting the demands you place on your body in training and competition.
When included in your cool down, stretches also help you to prepare for your next workout, by flushing waste product like lactic acid from your muscles, and reducing the incidence of DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness).
The combined shoulder and back stretch is one you can easily do at work, and is thus not just for athletes, but also for those who spend too long sitting staring at a computer screen!
- The beginning position is seated, feet shoulder width apart
- Contract your abs, then gently lean forward from the hips, taking your hands down to the floor
- Relax your head down, and reach out with your fingertips to work the back. Hold for 30 seconds, relax and repeat
If you want to engage the shoulders still further :
- Begin as before, but with the legs much wider apart
- As you lean forward, bring your arms inside your legs, then slide your arms around the back of your calves and grab your ankles
- Gently pull with your hands to open the shoulders and work the upper back. Hold for 30 seconds, relax and repeat
That should help relax the muscles nicely - but check out our other stretching exercises to ensure you cover all your major muscle groups.