It’s no surprise that posture as a society is declining. This is due to the increased use of technology and prolonged hours sitting throughout the day. Combine that with lack of upper body flexibility, mobility, and strength, and you have a recipe for forward rounded shoulders and possible injury.
Static stretching can be a valuable strategy to help combat poor posture. But over the years, I have found that using full-range of motion movement is even more impactful. That is because an eccentric (lengthening) muscle contraction allows the specific muscle targeted to be in control of the movement as it elongates through the full range of motion.
Why slow eccentrics is a useful strategy is due to the nervous system’s involvement with the movement. Instead of static stretching a muscle and cranking on it to it’s end-range, which the body often resists to a certain degree, we can now more carefully find end-range since there is less perceived threat in the system. Essentially, you can put yourself in control of the movement and teach your nervous system how to control this increased range of motion for better long-term results in flexibility.
In the following video, I demonstrate the use of an offset and depth push-up to better lengthen the pectoralis (pec) major. The pec major is an important muscle on the front of the chest. But, when sitting for long hours it often becomes tight and restricted. Next time, instead of static stretching try this approach and see how your body responds.
By: Garrett McLaughlin, MS, ATC, CSCS, ART