Step 1

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, toes pointing forward and 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.

Step 2

Action:  Exhale, slightly lift your chest up and out while externally rotating the shoulders (turning them out) and adducting (drawing together) your shoulder blades pulling your shoulders back.  Hold for 15-30 seconds for 2-4 repetitions.

Step 3

Exercise Variation: 

  • To increase the stretch in the pectoralis minor and stretch the anterior deltoid, extend your arms behind your back, clasping your hands together (or grab a towel) and slowly pushing out through the hands and lifting up without shifting the hips forward or increasing the amount of lumbar lordosis (inward curvature of the low back).
  • To increase the stretch in the chest using a partner.  Have a partner stand behind you.  Extend your arms behind your body thumbs facing up.  Have the partner apply gentle pressure to the outside of the arms.

If adding the anterior deltoid stretch or partner assist, be sure to maintain neutral alignment.  While the chest will slightly lift up and out, do not force your chest forward.