Seated upper back stretch

This stretch targets the smaller muscles in your upper back — specifically the rhomboids and you should feel this stretch between your shoulder blades. It's important to keep this muscle group strong and flexible because the rhomboids play an important role in good posture.

Ironically, for many people, their rhomboids are weak and overstretched. If you find that your shoulders roll forward when you stand or sit, you probably need to focus on strengthening these upper back muscles. To find out more about strengthening this area, consult a private trainer or a book on weight training such as Weight Training For Dummies, 3rd Edition, by Shirley Archer (Wiley).

To do this stretch, follow these steps:

1. Sit on the floor with your knees slightly bent and your arms crossed behind your knees (see Figure 4-10a).

2. Inhale as you lean forward, letting your chest rest on your thighs.

3. As you exhale, round your back and pull away from your knees, but be sure that your arms are locked under your knees (see Figure 4-10b).

4. Hold this position for 30 seconds or four to five slow, deep breaths.

i Do tilt your pelvis under.

1 Don't tense up your shoulders. 1 Don't hold your breath.

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