Flexibility/Stretching Exercises

The following exercises work to stretch the joints and muscles that are shortened and tightened when you sit or work in forward postures. Most of these can be performed at work.

Please note that these stretches must be performed slowly and carefully. They should not be painful. If they are painful, stop and consult a health professional.

Neck Stretch

  1. Tilt ear toward shoulder.
  2. Reach up and touch top of head with palm to hold in a tilted position.
  3. Hold 10 seconds. Repeat two or three times (come out of the stretch very slowly.) Reverse sides.

Pec Corner Stretch

  1. Stand at a corner about a foot away from the wall with forearms on opposite sides of the corner. One foot should be forward.
  2. Elbows should be at slightly below shoulder height.
  3. Keep abdominals tight to avoid arching back.
  4. Lean gently in towards the corner by bending front knee until a stretch is felt in front of the chest.
  5. Hold 15 seconds. Repeat two or three times.

Overhead Reach

  1. Take a deep breath and reach up over head with both arms.
  2. Hold a couple of seconds.
  3. Exhale and lower arms slowly.
  4. Repeat five times.

Shoulder Pinch 

  1. Place arms behind head, being careful not to press hand into head.
  2. Relax shoulders and squeeze shoulder blades together while keeping shoulders back and down.
  3. Hold five seconds. Repeat five times.

Chair Rotation Stretch 

  1. Sit in chair, and if you can, wrap feet around the chair's legs.
  2. Reach across body and grab back of chair.
  3. Pull gently to increase stretch in mid back.
  4. Hold five seconds. Repeat five times.

Arms Behind Back Stretch 

  1. Hold hands behind back, and grasp hands together.
  2. Pull shoulder blades back and down.
  3. Hold five seconds. Repeat five times.

Forearm Stretches

A. Wrist flex: fingers straight 

  1. Hold arm straight at waist height.
  2. With fingers of other hand, gently press down above the knuckles, bending wrist down. **(Do not hold at the fingers to push down.)** Hold for 5-10 seconds.
  3. Keep shoulder relaxed when stretching.
  4. Repeat two or three times.

B. Wrist extension: fingers pointing up 

  1. Hold arm straight at waist height with palm facing away from you and fingers pointing up.
  2. Hold onto palm of hand and stretch wrist back. ** (Do not pull on fingers.)
  3. Make sure the fingers and thumb (on the hand that is pushing the other hand back) are kept together.
  4. Hold five to 10 seconds. Repeat two or three times.

C. Wrist extension: fingers pointing down 

  • Do as above, but with fingers pointing towards the floor.
  • Hold for five to 10 seconds. Repeat two or three times.

Thoracic Spine Extension Stretch

  1. Lie on back with a pillow under knees. Place a firmly rolled towel under shoulder blades across upper back.
  2. Raise arms up as you inhale.
  3. Lower arms as you exhale, and hold a couple of seconds.
  4. Do this five times.

Prop Ups Or Press Ups 

  1. Lie on stomach and either prop up on forearms, or if wrists are not compromised, press up through hands.
  2. Let stomach sag and allow back to arch without using back muscles.
  3. If propped on elbows, hold 5-10 seconds. Repeat five times.
  4. If on hands, press up and down slowly 10 times.