Postural fitness is a combination of many factors (See: Posture: An introduction). There's a long list of muscles involved in supporting the body's joints and structures. If you are really struggling with pain or postural dysfunction, it's always best to seek the advice of a qualified physical therapist or personal trainer.
That said - in most of us, there are some common areas of tightness that can restrict you when you need to restore balance to your joints. This post focuses on some of the key stretches that help to offset the most common positions that we spend our days in (sitting at a desk, looking forward/down, using our arms in front of us). By improving mobility in these areas, you are likely to see significant increases in your flexibility at other joints/structures! This is based on many anatomical and physiological factors (to be detailed later).
Doorway pec stretch:
This stretch addresses tightness in the following structures: pectoralis major (both the clavicular and sternal head), pectoralis minor, the anterior deltoid, the coracobrachialis and the pectoral fascia.
Dosage: Perform 3-4 repetitions of a 30-45 seconds hold. Do 5-7 times a week.
Seated hamstring/calf stretch:
This stretch addresses tightness in the following structures: The hamstrings, the gastrocnemius, the soleus, the posterior capsule of the knee and the posterior nerves/fascia of the leg.
Dosage: Hold for 30-45 seconds. Repeat 2-3 times per side. Do 5-7 days a week.
Kneeling hip flexor stretch:
This stretch addresses tightness in the following structures: The illiacus, the psoas major/minor, the rectus femoris and the anterior capsule of the hip. It plays a major role in restoring balance to the lumbar spine and addressing the flexion bias that exists because of our seated jobs.
Dosage: Hold for 30-45 seconds and repeat 2-3 times per side. Do 5-7 days a week.
Upper trunk box/rotation:
This stretch addresses tightness in the following structures: The thoracic spine and ribcage, the pectorals, the anterior neck, the abdominal obliques, and the fascia across the anterior torso and arms.
Dosage: Hold for 10 seconds. Do 10 repetitions per side. Be sure to breath freely when rotated. Perform on both sides. Do 5-7 days a week.
This stretch addresses tightness in the following structures: The thoracic spine, the cervical spine (neck), the lumbar spine, and the attached fascia. It also assists in retraining the segments of the back to move fully through the flexion and extension range of motion (something that prevents localized points of stress in the spine.)
Dosage: Do 10 reps in each direction. Focus on pain-free motion and keeping the core engaged throughout. DO 5-7 days a week.
Happy Stretching! As always, drop a comment below or email me with any questions that you have.