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Stretch it out: 3 key muscles you are forgetting target

There are three major muscles in the body that are commonly tight and short, find out how to stretch them out

Vahdaneh Vahid

Published: Updated:

In today’s world, you may find yourself in a seated position for most of the day as we spend long hours slumped over a desk, sitting in the car, sitting on an airplane and sitting in front of the television after work.

But what does all of this do to your body? Key muscles become short and tight as a result, this can cause pain or general discomfort to us.

Here are three major muscles in the body that are commonly tight and short, it’s time to stretch them out!

The Pectoralis Major (chest)

Stretching this area is beneficial to your posture and opens up the shoulder joints, allowing for better positioning.

You will need a gym bench and some light dumbbells for this stretch

Step 1: Lie down on your back, flat on the bench

Step 2: Bend your knees and place your feet on the bench

Step 3: Posterially tuck your pelvic under and draw in your navel.

Note: There should be no gap between your lower back and the bench once you do this.

Step 4: Slowly open up the arms horizontally, reaching them out. Keep a slight bend in the elbow turn your hands out (external rotation) which means your pinkie fingers are facing up to the ceiling. This is important to avoid any shoulder impingement.

Come as far back as you comfortably can so you feel a good stretch.

Step 5: Take some deep breaths in and out through your nose into the upper belly, so the diaphragm can expand the rib cage along with the chest.
Note: Before you sit up, make sure you bend the elbows first and bring the weights close to your chest.

Hold the stretch for 1 minute and perform 2-3 sets.


The Hamstrings (back of the thighs)

We find ourselves in a seated position for extended periods of time. The legs being constantly bent creates a lot of tightness in the hamstrings.

You will need a hand held resistance band for this stretch

Step 1: Lie flat on your back.

Step 2: Wrap the resistance band around the foot and slowly extend the leg up straight.

Step 3: Make sure there is no space between your lower back and the floor, posteriorally tuck your pelvic under and draw in your navel.

Step 4: Hold the leg out static and keep the tension slight and not too extreme once the stretch has worn off you can involve a PNF stretching technique.

Step 5: Inhale and push the leg away from the resistance band and exhale and allow the leg to come back towards you.

Repeat this several times and you will notice the flexibility will improve with each step.

Perform 2-3 minutes of PFN on each leg.


The Rectus Femoris (front of the thigh)

As we stay seated for long periods of time, we develop restrictions when we walk as the muscles in the front of the hips become tight. This stretch will help improve mobility when we are walking, jogging and running.

Depending on your height you will need either a dynamax ball or a Swiss ball for this stretch

Step 1: Bring your knee to ground and place your shin bone on top the ball.

Step 2: Bend the opposite leg at 90 degrees as if you’re in a lunge position.

Step 3: Keep thelead leg forward and maintain a neutral spine.

Step 4: Keep your hips square on.

Step 5: Breath deeply into the stretch, as you inhale and exhale slowly through your nose.

Try be sure your hips are not shifted forward which may put pressure on the lower back.

If you feel knee pain on the leg you are stretching, be sure to place more padding or matting under it.

Hold the stretch for 2-3 minutes on each leg.