Tips, Tricks & Tools: The Doorway Stretch

My husband has a new office. It’s tiny, but a great addition to our household life (especially for him). You access his office through the kitchen. I often stand in the doorway to talk with him. There’s no better time to do a simple doorway stretch.

Benefits of the doorway stretch: aren’t many of us hunched over a computer for more hours than is healthy? The doorway stretch opens up the chest, stretching the connective tissue and musculature. This in turns helps us breathe more easily and achieve full range of motion in the neck and shoulders. It helps remind us that our shoulder blades are supposed to be on our backs, not creeping forward around our ribcage.

Stretch often! You can stretch often; no harm in that. Try a stretch for 90 seconds. That’s a great amount of time for the nervous system to relax into a new position. If you start out on the mild side of a stretch you’ll get more out of it over the 90 seconds. If you start too aggressively, you’ll either feel pain or not be able to hold it for long.

Enjoy it! While you stretch, rotate your head to either side, take a deep breath, or contract the muscles between your shoulder blades and the spine. The doorway stretch targets the pectoralis major muscles. These muscles have different fiber directions (shaped like a fan), so varying the position of the arms during the stretch will benefit the various fibers. Try a 90° angle with the arms, then higher or lower. Lastly, try engaging your smiling muscles, especially if you’re chatting with a family member – they need to see our smiles more often anyway!