Office Hacks (Part 2): Release and Stretch January 21 2015

In this installment, we are going to teach you how to release your tight muscles as well as how to stretch them. 

Things that you need for doing self release work:

  • Foam roller
  • Lacrosse ball (anything harder than a tennis ball can be used.)

 Before we begin, let’s try to mobilize our thoracic spine first. It is a crucial mobility drill as this helps free up our scapulothoracic joint, which is crucial for healthy hips and shoulders. For that, we are going to need a foam roller.

  • Ensure that your butt is resting on the floor. If you have difficulty resting the head on the floor, it is okay to rest it on a pillow or cushion first.
  • Take deep breaths to allow the body to relax even more.
  • You may feel uncomfortable in the beginning, so try to get into position and progress slowly.
  • Start with the foam roller higher up (just under the trapezius area) and work your way down from there.

The main muscles we are going to release are:

1. Trapezius (shoulders)

  • This will help in alleviating neck stiffness and shoulder aches.

2. Pectorialis (chest)

  • This will improve hunching. 

3. Glutes (buttocks)

  • This to loosen up the butt muscles that will in turn make the lower back less stiff.

4. Quadriceps

  • To loosen up the hips from the front, as tight quadriceps and the underlying hip flexor muscles can pull the hips into anterior tilt.

The main muscles we are going to stretch are:

  1. Trapezius (side of the neck)

  1. Levator Scapulae (back of the neck)

3. Pectorialis (chest)

4. Latissimus Dorsi (lats)

5. Glutes (buttocks)

6. Hamstrings

Things to note when you are stretching:

- Ease into the stretch, and avoid aggressive stretching
- Do not stretch beyond the point of mild discomfort, as this may cause the muscle to tighten up even further
- Breathe throughout the stretch to enable the body to relax further
- Maintain the stretches for 1 to 2 minutes, up to 3 times per side

In our next and final installment, we will be showing you simple exercises to strengthen the weak muscles that may be the root cause of your pain and discomfort.

By Tan Chee Chong

*Location credit to Ziklag Fitness.