The Art of Stretching – Additional Images to Show You Exactly Which Muscle You Are Stretching (Part 1)

In this article we will present you illustrations of stretching poses and provide you instructions and commentaries.

Check the part 2 as well, which is going to finish the exercise drawings, discuss smart stretching and provide general guidelines on how and when to stretch.

1. Pushing Against a Corner

Muscles highlighted: Pectoralis major
Muscles highlighted: Pectoralis major

 

Instruction:

Stand in front of a wall, its corner more precisely, and raise your arms out in the form of a cross (90 degrees abduction). Lean forward and bring the torso slowly closer to the corner.

Commentary:

This stretching exercise is pretty simple and it involves both pectoralis majors and the anterior portion of the deltoids and the arms.

In case you flex your elbows and you push through the elbows, the arm flexors won’t undergo any stretching.

Many people make the following mistake while doing this exercise: they remain with the feet stationary allowing the torso to fall forward.

You should do this exercise properly by moving forward slowly with small steps and by bringing at the same time the entire body closer to the corner with the arms lifted, or else you would be forcing the pectoralis muscles to contract so that they maintain the posture, when what you needed to do was to relax them so that they are adequately stretched.

2. Traction With Back to Bar

 

Muscles highlighted: Pectoralis major and Subscapularis
Muscles highlighted: Pectoralis major and Subscapularis

Instruction:

Standing, hold the bar behind your back with a pronated grip (palms facing backwards) and gradually let the body fall both forward and downward.

Commentary:

This pronated grip we mentioned is important because it allows you to avoid having the movement obstructed by the elbow flexors, like the biceps brachii.

If you opt for the supine grip, you will also stretch these muscles, which is something that you must do extremely carefully.

This is a stretch where you also work the deltoids and other minor muscles of the shoulder, especially in the anterior region of the shoulder.

You should remember that if the bar is placed too low, the movement of the torso needs to be accompanied by a progressive bending of the knees, allowing a better extension of the arms.

3. Hyperextension of Shoulders

 

Muscles highlighted: Pectoralis major and Subscapularis
Muscles highlighted: Pectoralis major and Subscapularis

Instruction:

Stand and hold a wooden bar behind your body with a pronated grip (palms facing backward). Gradually lift the arms in extension until you are able to feel the stretch in the pectoral area.

Commentary:

Due to the pronated grip, you will prevent the movement from being slowed by elbow flexors, which would obtrude more intensely if you held the bar with a supinated grip.

This is an exercise that resembles the Traction With Back to Bar, but now the movement of your own muscles, instead the gravity, is the one that creates the traction of the arms.

In a similar way, the position and the movement also work the shoulder, particularly the anterior part of the deltoid.

Just like when it comes to other stretching exercises, the individual that performs the stretch must refrain from bouncing in a try to reach further limits.

4. Arms Behind the Head Extension With Assistance

Muscles highlighted: Pectoralis major
Muscles highlighted: Pectoralis major

Instruction:

Sit on the ground or on the bench and place your hands behind your head in a pronated grip, your elbows being at the height of your head.

The person who assists you should stand behind you and grab a hold of both of your hands and pull them at the same time upward and backward, keeping your back still against their legs or the rear.

Commentary:

A pronated grip is being used for this exercise.

Just like all stretching exercises for pairs, this one also must include precise force applied by the partner. It is also important that the assistant observes the person and their reaction pretty closely and assesses the limitations of mobility with great caution.

The right way to assist in this exercise is to grab hold of the arms only, not the elbows, in the lower triceps region more precisely.

In case you assist with this stretching exercise performance you should know that you should not push the knee into the back, as it will force arching of the back.

Continue on page 2…
More in Exercises
brain
How to Engage Your Brain for Your Best Workout Ever

No one understands the full extent of stress better than soldiers. Studies performed at the U.S. military’s Survival Evasion Resistance

Close