If you’ve mastered the Sniff Test stretch, and it doesn’t quite hit the spot there is a variation for a stretch for the Levator Scapula muscles that is quite delicious.

This one has a few more steps than the previous one, and is more effective, but people get confused so I teach both.

Equipment

None

 

Steps

  1. Sit comfortably, and upright (spine long) and decide which shoulder you want to work on first.
  2. Stabilise this shoulder by either holding it with the other hand, or hold the chair you’re sitting on, or hold a weight in that hand (like a shopping bag).  If you don’t and you are really tight the shoulder will just come with your head as you take it to the side.

3. Tuck your chin down onto your chest, and you’re aiming to have your nose pointing at the ground.  The photo is from the side as the face on wasn’t very interesting

4. Keeping the nose pointing at the ground side bend the neck so you take the opposite ear to the opposite shoulder.  You are trying not to just turn the nose towards the other shoulder, but take the ear across.  It is a bit like the sideways movement you use for the Upper Trapezius stretch.

5.  There is a slight stretch here, so wait for thirty seconds to let the muscles lengthen.

6. Then turn (rotate) your head back towards the shoulder you’re stretching. This is only moving the nose a couple of centimeters, and not pointing all the way back to the other shoulder.  Hold this for another thirty seconds.

7. Ease the stabilisation of the shoulder and bring the head back up to neutral. Try on the other side.

Why do I say to hold the static stretch for 30 seconds?  I put it like this: the first 10 seconds it feels like the muscles are shocked into wondering what this position is.  Then the next 10 seconds they start to relax into the position, and the final 10 seconds they might also be able to move a bit deeper into the movement, and accept that this is possible.

This is a bit more of a complicated stretch, but it gets to muscle fibres that the quicker/easier Sniff test stretch doesn’t quite get.  So if you can get this then it just gets more of the muscle.

Thanks for reading this my lovely Interonauts.

Tim