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Levator Scapulae Active Stretch

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Levator Scapulae Active Stretch is an exercise used to help release tightness and tension in the neck and shoulder area. This stretching exercise can help improve shoulder stability, muscle strength and mobility of the shoulder, as well as increase your range of motion. During the exercise, you will need to use your fingers to lightly engage and activate the muscles in the neck and shoulder area, while doing gentle controlled pulses to increase the range of motion in the muscle. This stretch can provide relief from

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Transcript

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This is Brent, President of B2C Fitness, and in this video, we're doing an active
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stretch for the levator scapulae. So, for doing active stretching, I'm going to assume
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that you've already done your release techniques, and that you've probably been
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working on that static pocket stretch to help return a muscle that is adaptively
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shortened, to its optimal length. I'm going have my friend Salve come out here
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and help me demonstrate this exercise. We're going to do a quick kinesiology
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lesson, because this is a fairly involved stretch. All right, so our levator scapulae
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runs right here on the side of our neck, does a little bit of lateral flexion,
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ipsilateral rotation, and extension. That's its cervical spine function. Now
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at the scapula, the same muscle does elevation, as its name would imply. The
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levator scapulae elevates the scapula, it downwardly rotates the scapula by
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pulling up on that internal angle,
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alright, that superior angle of the scapula, tilts it this way, as well as
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anteriorly tilts the scapula.
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So first things first, I want to knock out some of those joint actions. That's a
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whole lot of joint actions to think about.
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I want to make a stretch that's at least fairly simple to do. So what I'm going to
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have Salve do, is she's going to back up against this wall, she's going to step
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out a little bit, so she's leaning against the wall. That'll posteriorly
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tilt her scapula, and then if I get her to depress her scapula while she's back
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in that wall, it'll fix her into a little bit of depression. From here, we can now
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do our pocket stretch, which if you've been doing your static stretch, your
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client should be well aware of, and all I have to do is add one more action to get
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some upward rotation, and we get a nice active stretch. So what I'm going to have
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Salve do here, is she's going to go into her pocket stretch, looking down into
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this pocket, she's going to use that hand to hold her head in place. I don't want
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her pulling on her head with this arm, she's just holding her head in place.
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And now she's going to reach up with this arm to force her scapula into upward rotation.
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She'll hold for two, and then she'll come back down.
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Look straight ahead at me. Good, perfect. Look down.
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Hold. By going into upward rotation, she activates all those upward rotators,
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which will reciprocally inhibit her levator scapulae. Once again, the goal of
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active stretching, is to strengthen our functional antagonists, as well as return
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reciprocal inhibition back to optimal, back to the way it should be.
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Let's see one more rep here, Salve. So she's going to look down.
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She's going to hold, not pull, and then reach up, making sure that she keeps
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depressed, though. She's keeping her shoulder down, which Salve is doing a
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great job of. I'm going to have you guys see just one more angle, just so you guys can
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see which direction her head's going, how she's reaching up. Why don't you go ahead and
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flatten yourself against this wall?
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Alright guys, I'm going to have her draw in and she's going to, kind of, take that curve out
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of her lumbar spine. Good, Salve, so let me have you reach down. You're going into flexion,
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contralateral rotation, lateral flexion away. She's holding and she's going to
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reach up, hold for two, good, and back down. Now with all active stretches, guys, it's
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8 to 15 reps, 2-5 second holds. By the end of your set, you should
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start to feel things loosen up a little bit, should start to feel an increase in
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extensibility, and of course if you selected the right stretch, after you've
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done this, you should move a little better. I hope you guys have enjoyed this