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Shoulder & Chest Stretches
Shoulder and chest stretches are designed to increase flexibility and strength in your upper arms and body. If you are an athlete who engages in throwing sports such as baseball or football, shoulder and chest stretches are an excellent way to preserve your arms and avoid injuries. According to the MayoClinic.com, shoulder exercises that are properly performed can help improve your shoulder's range of motion.
The wide-arm chest stretch will help loosen up your shoulder as well as your chest muscles. Stand up with your back straight and your feet shoulder-width apart. From here, lift your arms up until they are at the height of your shoulders with your palms facing forward. From this position, push your arms backwards until you feel a tight stretch in your chest and back. Hold this position for five seconds before returning to the starting position. Do three sets of 10 before taking a break.
Anterior Shoulder Stretch
This shoulder stretch focuses on your front shoulder and deltoid muscles. Stand straight with your knees slightly bent and your legs shoulder-width apart. Grab your right elbow with your left hand and bring your arm across your body. Pull tight on your arm until you feel a stretch in your front shoulder as well as your chest. According to Natural Physiques, it is important to perform this stretching exercise without rotating your torso. Movement in your torso and lower back could cause you to pull a muscle.
Posterior Shoulder Stretch
This shoulder stretch is performed with a piece of rope or a towel and focuses on your back and shoulder muscles. If you are using a towel, take your right arm and let the towel fall down your back while keeping your hand over your head. Reach behind you with your left arm and grab the bottom of the towel. Now that both of your hands are holding the towel, pull up on the towel with your right arm until you feel a stretch in your left shoulder and back muscles. Rotate your left and right hands during this exercise to work both shoulders and all of your back muscles.
- Shoulder stretch as part of a Thai body massage. image by Deborah Benbrook from Fotolia.com