Release Tense Shoulders (With A Standing Roll Down)

upper body Dec 05, 2015

The most common complaint from people I'm working with is that their shoulders are extremely tense. This is often due to many hours of computer work, and rounded shoulders. However, bad posture (standing, walking, exercising, driving), is a main contributor of tension in the shoulders. Nervousness (driving), anxiety (stressful job or bad news), high levels of responsibility and the like can contribute to these muscles getting tight.

Remember: the brain-body connection means that any thought you're thinking results in a physical manifestation in the body. Tense thoughts - tense body. (Not a good tagline for your life!)

Specifically, we're talking about the upper fibers of the trapezius muscle. You know, the one that can feel like a rock. (Ouch.) This also limits your ability to take a deep breath and throws your shoulder mechanics off. If you go and do a yoga practice at the end of the day, or lift some weights, your shoulder blades might be up to an inch higher on your back than they should be, which puts your shoulder joint at risk when you flow through chaturanga, or do some free weight rows.

The funny thing is that we have become so used to this tension, that we're not aware of it anymore. We have lost the ability to shake the tension off before it starts to really bother us.

Try this super-easy awareness exercise to drop tension from your shoulders. It's about breaking the pattern that leads to tension. All it takes is to remind yourself several times throughout the day to release the tension. Soon it will have become second nature, leading to less build up and more relaxed shoulders 24/7.

Additionally, this Standing Roll Down will stretch all your back muscles, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. It brings length into the complete back side of your body.


Movement Tweaks

  • Inhale to prepare.
  • On the exhalation roll down only as far as you're comfortable. If you feel a twinge in your back, stop before the pain kicks in. Any bracing of your muscles will achieve the opposite, more tightness.
  • Don't try to reach your toes. This will only engage and tighten the muscle you're trying to release. Again exactly the opposite of what we're trying to achieve. Bend your knees a bit, to take tension out of your legs and spine.
  • No zombie arms. Shake and dangle your arms.
  • Scoop your abdominals on the roll up, to keep your spine long and protected.
  • No shoulder rolls.

What did you think?

Now that your shoulders feel better, make sure that you don't allow the tension to accumulate too much again. Before you sit down at your desk, or when you're done with computer work for the day, do one of these standing roll downs to release the tension from your neck and shoulders, so you can enjoy the rest of your day and evening.

 Make life move better,





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