We all have no doubt experienced sharp muscle knots between our shoulder blades after a long workout, whether on a bike outdoors or indoor trainer. Forget biking - just typing away on your laptop for too long can lead to a rounded shoulder posture with head bent forward and resulting neck and upper back pain.
On October 7, NovaCare therapists demonstrated some exercises to alleviate that pain, stretch open the chest cavity and improve pedaling posture. Here are the exercises they demonstrated:
Foam Roller Swimmers
- Lying down with your back on top of a full or half foam roll, bend your knees with feet flat on the ground and arms at your side. Then alternate reaching your arms overhead (backstrokes), keeping your arms in line with your body and abdominals tight.
Foam Roller Angels
- Assume same starting position as above and position your spine in neutral. Then slide both arms, palms up, to shoulder level and return them to your side.
Scap Protraction/Retraction on Foam Roller
- Assume same position as above except with both arms pointed vertically to the ceiling. Push your arms up as far as you can, pause, then retract your shoulder blades together, pinching the roller. Keep your head on the roller, propping it with a folded towel for support if needed.
Foam Roller Xs
- Assume same position as above except cross your hans across your abdomen so that your hands are reaching toward your opposite pockets, palms down. In the same motion, uncross both arms and lift them overhead to form a "V." Slowly return both arms to the starting position.
Pec Doorway Stretch: Bilateral-
Begin standing 1-2 feet behind a doorway. Bend your elbows at 90 degrees and raise both arms parallel to the ground. Place your forearms on either side of the doorway. Step forward with one foot so that it is on the other side of the doorway. Shift your weight onto the front foot until you feel a stretch in your chest.
Pec Doorway Stretch: Unilateral - Begin standing as in the bilateral exercise, bending only one elbow and placing its forearm against the doorway. Step forward and lean as noted above.
Pec Doorway Stretch: Unilateral Arm High - Begin standing as in the bilateral exercise. Raise your arm above your head keeping the elbow straight. Place your hand against the doorway. Step forward and lean as noted above.
Cat Camel - Begin on your hands and knees with hands below shoulders and knees below hips. Arch your back upward as much as you can while dropping your head to your chest. Return to starting position and immediately arch the lower portion of your spine so that the stomach drops toward the floor while simultaneously raising your head. Inhale with head extending up, exhale when dropping head to your chest.
Thoracic Rotation - Start kneeling with one knee on pad and other leg out in front with that foot flat on the floor. With arms parallel to the floor, bring both hands together against the wall. (see illustration). Slowly rotate your body and armaway from the wall until the back of that hand touches the wall. Return to starting position. Alternate with the other knee on the pad and other leg extended in front of you.
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