This is Brent, President of B2C Fitness. In this video, we're going to do our static,
self-administered, levator scapulae stretch. Now our levator scapulae is one of
those muscles that gets over active and adaptively shortens in those people with
upper body dysfunction.
As well as those individuals with cervical posture dysfunction or forward
head tilt. Now before we do this stretch, it involves the neck, and anytime we do a
stretch for the neck, we need to be a little bit more cautious. There's some
very delicate structures that can be affected in the neck stretch. Things
like our brachial plexus, we have these little vertebral foramen that can impinge
down on nerves.
We have these transverse foramen that house something called a vertebral artery,
that can also get pinched down on and affect blood flow to the brain. That
would not be a positive thing at all, but what I'm about to show you guys is
totally safe, providing you remember one thing. This stretch is not going to take
the amount of force to lengthen a muscle that you would use on some of the bigger
structures and bigger joints in our body. If we put the calf stretch on one
end, taking a whole lot of force, you know and then the hip takes a little less force,
of course, when we're dealing with the shoulder, we need to be a little bit more
delicate, cervical stretches would be like way over here. They only
take a really small amount of force to create a lengthening of that structure.
I'm gonna have my friend Laura come out and help me demonstrate this exercise.
Now, our levator scapulae goes from the superior angle of our scapula to the
transverse processes, those processes that stick out of the side of cervical vertebrae 1
through 4. Alright, so this muscle goes from here to here.
I know you guys have felt this muscle before. If you feel right down here near
the origin, you probably got a lot of trigger points, a lot of knots, a lot of
painful spots. Alot of people attribute to the trap, usually is this nasty little
levator scapulae. Now, you guys can kind of see how it would pull us into that upper
body postural dysfunction, but let's see how it would pull on it to get it
lengthened, so we can get it stretched out, get it to
calm down. Alright, so this muscle does this- lateral flexion, ipsilateral rotation,
and extension. All we have to do is the opposite to stretch.
Alright, so she's going to go into lateral flexion, rotation, and just
a tad bit of flexion this way, and then I'm going to improve the stretch just a
little bit by having her stabilize her scapula, by kind of reaching down with
She doesn't have to do it real hard, I don't want to activate anything. Just stabilize and
reach down a little bit. That will depress and posteriorly tip my scapula. Then she
can create a little bit of overpressure with this hand, by going to the back corner
of her head, just with like either the weight of her hand, or with the pressure of her
fingertips, create enough force to get a good stretch down here. Now, I'm going to show you guys a
couple more angles you can see exactly what's this stretch looks like. If you go
from the front,
I think you guys have put together all those joint actions real quickly, because
this stretch has a nickname. It's nicknamed "the pocket stretch." So if I have her
depress, stabilize that scapula, she can hold on to the back of her thigh, or glute.
And then I have her just look down into the opposite front pocket, let's say this is pants, head, pockets. All right so,
she's gonna look right down here. She just did all the joint actions I needed her to do.
She did some lateral flexion. She did some rotation. Just a little bit of
flexion, and then she can use this hand to help her see the bottom of her pocket.
She can hold onto that. One little pointer guys, because some people have a
hard time feeling the stretch.
Depress this scapula. All right, so you grab here.
One thing I want you guys to know, it's probably the most important joint action
of the three, to get a good stretch on this muscle, is to go into lateral
Alright, so when I say there's flexion and rotation, she's not flexing like chin
to her chest,
she's just lateral flexion, rotation next, and then just a little bit of flexion. So
you guys can see that angle matches up with the exact opposing angle of this
muscle here. She'll then go ahead and put a slight bit of overpressure. Now, like all
static stretches guys, we're going to wait 30 seconds to 2 minutes, or ideally until
we get enough of that
golgi tendon organ stimulus to give something called autogenic inhibition,
which is going to be felt by us as a release that allows us to lengthen out
that tissue a little bit farther. So once again guys, this is your levator scapulae
stretch. We're doing a static stretch, so you're gonna hold it for 30 seconds to 2
minutes. I hope you guys enjoy this technique and see a good improvement in your