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3 Vital Stretches To Improve Your Posture & Overall Health

The Importance Of Stretching The Suboccipitals, Pec Minor & Pec Major Muscles

Posted by Fitness_Oriented - June 9th, 2015

What’s going on Herman Nation!?  Jeff Oriente here again from the YouTube channel “Fitness Oriented” and I’m here to “Orient Your Fitness In The Right Direction!”


Today, I’ve got some GREAT ADVICE to give to you on three important stretches that virtually everyone should be doing to improve their posture and health in general.


I assume that, RIGHT NOW, as YOU are reading this, you are sitting in a position similar to THIS…


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That’s right.  Whatever device you are using right now to read this, I AM BETTING, that you are LOOKING DOWN at it, with your head forward, and your shoulders rounded.


The thing with this position is that, being in it for too often can cause major problems in your body over time.


Did you know that your head weighs about 10lbs?  This is not too much weight if your head is being held in a normal position.  A normal position is where your ears are directly in alignment with your shoulders.


HOWEVER, for every inch your head moves forward, that is 10 additional pounds your neck must hold.  In the picture above, their necks must be holding about 40lbs total!  It’s no wonder so many people have neck pain and headaches in our society!


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Having your neck in a constant forward position with your shoulders rounded can lead to a host of issues.


These issues can include strained muscles, pinched nerves that can send shooting pain down to your hands (that’s right, symptoms of Carpal Tunnel can originate from your neck), headaches, arthritis, neck pain, back pain, shoulder pain, as well as injuries in all of those areas.


Now that you know why having that bad posture I explained above is so horrible for you, let me talk about 3 important stretches you can be doing every day to help yourself out!


How & Why To Stretch Your Suboccipital Muscles

Your Suboccipital muscles consist of four tiny muscles located at the back of your neck.  Although these muscles are small, they play an essential role in stabilizing and controlling your head on your neck. 


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The issue with bad forward head posture position is that it can tighten up your Suboccipital muscles.  When these muscles become tight, that only promotes more forward head posture, along with neck pain and headaches.


So besides correcting bad posture and the position you are in throughout the day, there is a simple exercise you can do to stretch your Suboccipital muscles. 


The exercise to stretch your Suboccipital muscles is called the Chin Tuck, which I demonstrate in my video below.



How & Why To Stretch The Pec Major & Pec Minor Muscles

Your Pectoralis Major muscle is your largest chest muscle and the one most of you are likely familiar with.


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The issue with being in a posture where your head is forward and your shoulders are rounded is that this muscle can become tight.


When this muscle gets tight, it can round your shoulders even more, which can lead to a host of issues.


HOWEVER, there is another chest muscle besides the Pec Major that often causes many problems in people…


This is your Pectoralis Minor muscle.


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Your Pectoralis Minor muscle is smaller than the Pec Major.  Although it is small, it is still a powerful muscle.  Due to us having bad rounded shoulder posture, this muscle is prone to getting tight.  When this muscle gets tight, it can tilt your shoulder blades forward and round your shoulders, which can lead to many problems over time.


In the video below, I will teach you how to stretch BOTH the Pec Major and Pec Minor.




In Conclusion

In our modern lifestyle, many of us spend the day in poor postural positions, where we are sitting down with our head forward and shoulders rounded. 


Being in this position constantly, can cause certain muscles to tighten up, which can lead to all sorts of problems in our body. 


By being more aware of our posture both in and out of the gym, as well as engaging in flexibility exercises, we can be proactive in preventing many problems associated with bad posture.  This will ultimately allow us to lead healthier and happier lives. 



If this article helped you and you'd like to learn more ways to maximize your results, SIGN-UP for the Platinum Membership today! 

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MEMBER COMMENTS

AnabolicAliens

College is evil, always hunched over and starting at computers! Mobility is so important.

Scott_Herman

yeah man, sounds like my daily life now.. haha

JoeHurricane

My head weighs more than 10lbs because my brain is so big lolol

Seriosuly though, nice article @fitness_oriented! Stretching is also important, I learnt recently, to avoid having shortened muscles. Apparently the pecs are one of the most succeptible to being shortened because people don't stretch the pec minor enough, so I'm sure this article will help a lot of people out!

Fitness_Oriented

Thank you Joe!  The Pec Minor sure does cause a lot of problems in people...particularly with shoulder impingement and the rotator cuff.  I hope the article helps a lot of people out!

NutritionMax

Good stuff man. Mobility for the win!

Scott_Herman

All about that mobility!  Especially in the hips!

NutritionMax

When I started doing certain stuff for my tight tips literally a year ago, I've been doing it almost everyday since then, everything improved, squat and deadlift form.

Fitness_Oriented

Glad you liked it!  Mobility is extremely important!

NilsFearons

Stretching is so important for me I have set reminders on my phone to make sure I do it because if I don't the next day I'm screwed!

HMTraining

great video sir! A manual PT I work with showed me an advanced chin tuck. He's really big on muscle energy techniques and manual manipulations. But as far as the exercise, he had me lay supine, perform a regular chin tuck to engage the deep cervical flexors. To isolate, he had me try to slightly try to lift the top of my forehead off the mat. I can chin tuck all day, but this was very challenging!

Scott_Herman

Sounds like a good video bro!

Fitness_Oriented

Thank you for liking the video!  And....perhaps that advanced chin tuck you mention would make a good video as well!

crood

Always glad about good posts for correctional stretches, or posture corrections.  I have a few correction to deal with on my own, due to a slight scoliosis (bend in the spine), and lots of computer work. Great Article ! :)

crood

I had actually just today at an appointment with an orthopaedic doctor. The problem is i don't really know which side is the more "tight" one (other than my whole front being too much contracted compared to the back, hence the kyphosis). Since i have 2 bends + a slight tiwst in my spine, one to the left and one to the right. Although on the right side the back is having a stronger bulge than on the right, as the right ripcage is more twisted towards that direction. I noticed my obligues are more weak on the left side. On top of that i have a former Sport injury, which is a partially ripped pectoralis major on the left. Thus you see i am not quite certain which side to stretch to where lol =) Good news is he says i can keep training, and also barbell loads on the back are no issue unless i tilt forwards. And need to train my postural muscles on the back all together. He couldn't give me much advice on streetches as he said that's more the job of a physio therapeut. If you have any hints they are welcome. (also maybe on my profile or as PM to not cluster your article here too much ^^) Cheers! - crood  - 

Fitness_Oriented

I can give you some advice from what I know.


The first thing I'd recommend is fixing your posture in general by not bending towards the down side of the scoliosis.  So if you are sitting and your left shoulder is down, that is considered the down side.  That means making sure you aren't holding your bag or luggage on that side, as that will make the Scoliosis worse.  Also, make sure when you are sitting that your armrest on that side is not lowered, as if you have to lean with your arm down on that side, that can make the Scoliosis worse.


If you're not sure which side you are more limited on, try standing up and and with your arms straight at your side, sidebend exactly sideways to your left.  Then sidebend exactly sideways to your right.  If you are more limited on your left side, that is likely a left sided scoliosis you have and you are more limited there because your spine is curving left.  If you are more limited on your right side, that is likely a right sided scoliosis and you are more limited because your spine is curving right.


Whichever side you are more limited on, you will want to get a pillow and fold it in half.  Then put it on the highest point of your Scoliosis on the more limited side as you lay sideways on the pillow on that side on your bed.  Have your legs dangling off the bed and you will get a powerful stretch.  


Hopefully that helps you even though it was all in writing!  


crood

i am trying already the bag on the opposite side thing. As it normally carries easier on the left than the right so i am forcing myselt to carry it on the right. Its a bit hard for me to find right stretches for my spine though, i can't really say which side is the weaker. Due to 2 bends (one to left one to the right) the sides kinda separate x-wise. So is upper right and lower left in disadvantage as i can feel. Visually i do not tilt to any side, as the 2 bends even it out. But the additional twist in the spine leads to the ripcage being more pertruding on the right side of my back visually clearly to see. This really leaves me a bit confused in regards of: to which side should i stretch or what should i stretch how.

Jakeroden29

Learned quite a bit from this, It's easy to forget the science behind our anatomy so this is a good refresher! it really is important to push your muscles to their max otherwise your progress is going to be really slow, but don't damage yourself along the way, basically if you don't give your body a reason to grow then it won't! it's simple always make sure you take yourself to failure, keep your workouts short but intense, and stay consistent guys! if you don't keep track of what you do and don't get a good routine going, then your not going to get very far, I know a lot of guys have trouble getting a good program going, I follow a very strict routine I found over at aestheticreview.com and I've made crazy gains in just a couple months, it was like a night and day difference to what I was doing before, anyways good luck guys and as long as you don't give up you will be the biggest guy on the block!

Scott_Herman

Great post bro!  You are totally right!

Fitness_Oriented

I'm glad you liked the post!  Knowing the anatomy of the body is a crucial baseline for anyone working out, as having that foundation will allow you to structure you workouts and exercises much more effectively and efficiently.

Scott_Herman

Another amazing article Jeff!  People are going to really benifit from this!

Fitness_Oriented

I hope so Scott!  I have plenty more where this came from!

Scott_Herman

That's what I like to hear @fitness_oriented!!

Fox84

cool article, this just reminds me that i need to also focus more on stretching, i really have not gotten into a good stretch routine, gonna do some stretches tonight

Fitness_Oriented

Do the stretches in the article I just replied to you on and the stretches in this article.....and I think that is a decent routine to have right there!  Of course, there are many other stretches to do....but this can be a starting point for you.

Fox84

thanks i will, i will also show my wife since she works in front of a computer all day, this is a good overall stretching routine, thanks again

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