For many of us the shoulders are the spot that seems to take most of the day’s tension.
There are many different reasons this happens - perhaps the way you sit, the way your shoulders round forward or perhaps it is that stiff upper back.
Whatever the reason - sometimes you just need a little cue to help switch off those tight traps and give you some respite from the constant tension..
One way you can do this is by getting your lats involved.
Not sure what they are?
Let’s have a quick look.
The trapezius muscle is named after the way it looks - and it is the upper fibers that we often blame for a lot of the shoulder tension we feel.
Under the traps is another muscle we need to consider - and it is called the levator scapulae. Just as the name suggests it causes an elevation of the shoulder - which is why your shoulders seem to be up around your ears when you are stressed.
So if we know these muscles want to lift and pull the shoulder blade up and inward - then we know that by activating a muscle (like the Lats) that does the opposite - the brain and nervous system will down regulate the amount of tension in the opposing muscles - the traps and levator scap.
Basically - tighten one muscle and the other ones get looser.
Which brings us to the Lats or the latisimus dorsi.
These are the big muscles that run down the outer edge of you back and rib cage - the ones that give the swimmers and weight lifters their V shape.
So - by activating these several time throughout the day using this simple little cue - you could find your neck and shoulders feeling a whole lot better.
Give this a try.
Stand up and place your arms by your side with your palms facing in towards the outside of your thighs.
Stay standing tall as you try to push your arms downward is if you are trying to touch the floor with your little fingers.
Hold this pressure for about 20 seconds and release.
Do 2-3 times and feel the difference this makes to your shoulder tension.
It can really help break the cycle of tightness. However if it keeps recurring - then perhaps you may need to address a few of those other factors we mentioned earlier.
Enjoy the feeling of moving better.