Relieve Neck and Shoulder Tension with This Simple Move

Sydney Video Training 16 Comments

Quick question for you about your arms and upper body…

When was the last time you took your arms overhead, e.g., reached for the ceiling or tried to touch the door frame as you walked through?

Has it been a while?

Go ahead and try it right now.

Lift your arms and reach like you’re trying to touch the ceiling, really go for it.

Notice your ribs.

Are they thrusting forward as your arms reach?

How about your shoulders? Did they lift up toward your ears?

Okay, rest your arms and shake them out a bit.

Now reach up again and really go for it, but this time keep your shoulders and ribcage down.

Not able to reach as high with your ribs and shoulders down?

Me either.

For many of us, lifting the arms has become unconsciously combined with raising the shoulders and thrusting the ribs.

When you raise your shoulders every time you lift your arms, you’re using your neck muscles, contributing to chronic neck tension.

And thrusting the ribs pulls the ribcage forward, inadvertently using your spine to lift your arms instead of your shoulder joint—which contributes in turn to tight, immobile shoulders.

Learning to lift your arms on their own without simultaneously thrusting your ribs and raising your shoulders is an entirely different movement for your shoulder joints and spine.

And you may not be able to reach up as high at first, but this will improve with practice.

Check out this video to see if you’re lifting your arms, thrusting your ribs, and raising your shoulders as a unit, and learn more about how adding a simple movement throughout your day can help you create more ease in your upper body.

I’d love to hear what you discover. Let me know in the comments below.

With arms up and ribs down,
Sydney

About the Author

Sydney

Hi, I'm Sydney and I'm a Restorative Movement Specialist here at Pilates Tonic. My goal is to empower you with tools to connect and live in your body in new and better ways.I'm a passionate advocate for wellness through optimally aligned movement and I look forward to designing a customized alignment and movement program just for you! If you want to find out more, just give me a call at 423.702.5233, or email me at info@pilatestonic.com. See you in the studio!

Comments 16

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  1. Thank you Sidney for this reminder! Going to look at myself in the mirror to see if doing correctly. Are you open for stretch classes?

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  2. Hi , Sydney… love this !
    Wonderful exercise… allowing the body to position itself , in its natural and pain-free posture !
    Much love and sunshine to all !

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  3. Thanks, Sydney. I’m glad you posted this. I can only raise my left arm so far without raising my shoulders too. Right arm is much better. Should I still be doing them together? Or should I isolate the weaker side and practice it more?

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      Great observation, Lee Ann! Definitely play around with lifting one arm at a time with more focus on the left side, but still, practice lifting them both. There are benefits in each way. Thanks for your question!

  4. This felt so good.. can you make a video on winging scapula ? With uneven shoulder (one higher than the other ?

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