Starting Position: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, toes pointing forward or turned slightly outwards, with arms by your sides. Stiffen your abdominal muscles (“brace”) to stabilize your spine, then depress and retract your scapulae (pull shoulders down and back) without arching your low back.
Slowly draw your right ear toward your right shoulder stopping when you feel the stretch. Be sure to maintain body alignment keeping your shoulders down and back. Hold the stretch for 5-10 seconds. Slowly return to starting position. Repeat on the left side. Perform a total of 2-4 repetitions.
Exercise Variation: (1) Increase the stretch by brining your hand to the top of your head and gently applying a light pressure with your fingertips. (2) To stretch the sternocleidomastoid, after laterally flexing the neck, slowly lift you chin upwards.
Perform the exercise slow and controlled. Be careful not to push to forcefully when using your hand to increase the stretch. A light pressure is all that is needed.