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Upper Trapezius SA Static Stretch

Upper Trapezius SA Static Stretch is a simple stretching exercise designed to help improve mobility and reduce tension in the areas of the neck, upper back, and shoulders. It involves gently stretching the upper trapezius (the triangular muscle on the back of your neck and shoulders) by raising the arms out to the side and slightly up in a “Y” shape. When done correctly, this stretch provides a comfortable, moderate stretch and increases range of motion, flexibility, and overall

Transcript

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This is Brent, President of B2C Fitness, and
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in this video we're doing our static,
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self-administered, upper trap stretch. Now, the stretch is going to involve the neck
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and just like what we talked about in the levator scapulae video, anytime we
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are stretching the neck there are some very sensitive structures in the neck
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that we need to be aware of. The brachial plexus, the little fine muscles that help
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stabilize our cervical spine, as well as the vertebral foramen which house
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are our nerves that are coming out there, as well as the transverse foramen which
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has our vertebral artery. All of these things can be affected in a stretch, and it
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could have a very negative outcome. Now, with all that being said, this is very
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safe providing that you are aware, you're cautious, and you use a very small amount
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of force when creating over pressure to take your muscles into a lengthened
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position, providing you don't yank on the neck like you yank on a hip (you
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shouldn't be yanking on a hip), but you're using less force on the neck than
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you are on the hip, this technique is totally safe. I'm going to have my friend
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Laura come out and I'm going to help you determine how we're going
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to stretch our upper trap. Now, first things first, the upper trap is accused
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way more than it is guilty of being short and overactive. It will anteriorly
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tip our scapula which could be part of our upper body dysfunction, but
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generally this muscle is weak. What most people accuse of trap tightness, is
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actually our levator scapulae trigger points and tightness. So we need to be
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kind of aware, maybe try our levator scapula stretch first, see if we get
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improvement, before we accuse and assume that the trap is guilty of also needing
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a stretch. Now, the trap itself goes from lateral clavicle, the lateral portion of
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the spine of your scapula into you're ligamentum nuchae, as well as your
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external occipital protuberance up here in your head, and the spinous process.
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That has a very important effect on how we're going to stretch this muscle as
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opposed to the levator scapulae. In the levator scapulae it was the transverse
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process, so to lengthen that muscle we had to turn her head that way, that would
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turn the transverse process away. In the case of the spinous process, to get
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lengthening, we have to turn her head toward the same side as the muscle
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we're stretching to get the spinous process to turn away. This setup is
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almost identical to the levator scapulae stretch, so if you are comfortable
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with that technique, this is going to be a breeze, we just have to remember the
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rotation is in the opposite direction. So, I'm going to have her stabilize. Once
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again, we stabilize the scapula to make sure that we posteriorly
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tip, depress the scapula, make sure she doesn't go into an extension here at
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the lumbar spine, she's still keeping drawn-in. We're not grabbing really
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hard here, we just either grab the back of our thigh or the bottom of our
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gluteal fold there just as a little bit of stability, I don't want everything active here.
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She's then going to pull herself into lateral flexion, a little bit of flexion
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this way, and then if this is the side that we're stretching she's now turning
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this way. So in the levator scapulae stretch I had her hold here and push
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that way. I'm going to have her take her hand and kind of cup the back of her
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head a little bit so that she can she can push into
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lateral flexion and flexion this way, but also help with the rotation this way. Now,
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if you do these two stretches you should feel a difference. Levator
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scapulae I should be here, it's a long thin muscle this way, the trap
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should be more anterior and should be felt more diffusely across the top of
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the scapula. You feel that? -Yeah definitely. Good. So I'm going to show you a couple
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more angles so you see how the stretch works out. So, if I have her
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stabilize this side, set up just like the levator scapulae stretch, make
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sure she's drawn-in, not pulling herself into extension, she's going to laterally
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flex, she's going to flex a little bit, and she's going to rotate, once again,
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towards the side of the muscle that we're stretching, that's ipsilateral
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rotation. So I'm going to have her, once again, grab the back of her head towards the top
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so that you can turn this way and still pull in lateral flexion and flexion.
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And then the last view I'll give you is the lateral view here. So you're going
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to pull down into depression and posterior tipping, go into lateral
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flexion, that is probably still the most important joint action, the second most
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important joint action is going to be that rotation, but I let her go into a
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little flexion first, and then once again cup the back of her head towards the
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top so that she can still push into lateral flexion and flexion, but then help
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aid in rotation towards the side of the muscle. Now, with all static stretches,
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you're going to hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes waiting for that golgi tendon
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organ to override our muscle spindles, create something called autogenic
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inhibition and get a release so we can then lengthen that fascial network that
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is part of our muscular system, and get this muscle to adaptively lengthen,
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fixing, hopefully, the postural dysfunction that we've assessed, and
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we're now trying to improve upon. I hope you enjoy the stretch, I hope you
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get some great results, and I hope you see a big change in your movement