The Truth About Tight Muscles and What To Do About Them
If you struggle with a lack of mobility due to stiff spots, then the first priority in your fitness routine should be to address this limiting issue. Whether or not you have an interest in eventually progressing to handstands, muscle-ups, or more, you need to focus on making sure your body is prepared to move into these ranges of motion.
Fortunately, when Coach Christopher Sommer put together the GymnasticBodies Curriculum, he included many different exercises and movements that are specifically tailored to increase your mobility and stretch your tight muscles. The Thoracic Bridge Stretch Course, in particular, can help those of you with stiff shoulders and upper bodies. By regularly committing to a stretching and flexibility routine, you will ultimately increase your quality of life.
Stretching Tight Muscles
When you properly stretch a muscle that is commonly tight, you can help decrease symptoms that might be caused by excess muscular tension. This in part is also due to fascia, which is the connective tissue between our skin and muscles. If your fascia is healthy, then it should move fluidly and without issue. However, if you exercise improperly, lead a sedentary lifestyle, or eat a poor diet, then your fascia can be dehydrated, brittle, and stuck.
Ultimately, what all of this means is that it is in your best interest to regularly include stretching and flexibility work into your weekly program. Not only will this help ease chronically stiff muscles, but it will also help increase your range of motion for a wide variety of athletic and everyday movements. Think handstands (arms overhead), straddle-ups (legs wide), and Jefferson Curls (pike flexibility), just to name a few.
Shoulder Stretches: Relief for Tight Muscles
Here are two great shoulder stretches straight from our Thoracic Bridge Course that will help reduce tension and increase your flexibility.
Table Rocks are an excellent dynamic flexibility exercise that will help lengthen the tight muscles in your arms, chest, and upper back. Specifically, this movement stretches your shoulder extension range of motion, and this requires your biceps, pec minor, and lats to be able to move freely.
Seal rocks from our Online Courses are one of the best exercises you can do for your back.
From a seated position, reach your arms behind you with your elbows straight. Bend your legs so that your feet are flat on the ground, and then lift your hips up into the air as high as you can. Your goal should be to get your shoulders, hips, and knees in one straight horizontal line. Pause briefly at the top, then lower slowly with control. Repeat this movement for reps, emphasizing a nice deep stretch in your shoulders at the top.
Seal Rocks is another dynamic stretch that will decrease your shoulder tension and increase your quality of life. This exercise targets your shoulder flexion, or overhead, range of motion, as well as your thoracic, or upper back, extension. Basically, this is the perfect flexibility drill to combat the negative effects of sitting at a desk all day.
Start kneeling on the ground with your lower legs tucked under your hips and your chest resting on your knees. Reach your arms out overhead in front of your body, and reach your chest closer to the floor. Then move forwards and up to shift the stretch into your spine, stretching through your hip flexors and upper back. Pause briefly in each position, then smoothly move back and forth for reps.
If you experience discomfort due to tight muscles, then be sure to try the GymnasticBodies Stretch Series in order to improve your quality of life.