This exercise is called the Wall Angel, you start by standing about 6 inches from a clear wall, sit onto the wall so your lower back is comfortable. Then tense the deep neck flexors as you did with the Bruger’s postural relief. Now raise your arms up with the elbows at shoulder height and bent at 90 degrees.
Start position for Wall Angel Exercise
Here’s the side view:
Note the chin is tucked in
You should aim to get the elbows back to the wall and the hands flat to the wall WITHOUT letting your body arch like this:
This is wrong, back is arched too much
Now if you have a tight upper back and shoulders you won’t be able to get flat without the back arching. So you need to gently tense the stomach muscles to make your spine rigid, then just take the elbows back until you feel a stretch. Refer to do’s and don’ts of stretching for more tips before doing this. Remember this should not cause pain. If it does, go back to the previous exercise Bruger’s Relief Position.
Now you should be comfortable, back stiff and relatively flat to the wall, your arms will be somewhere between being on the wall or a long way forward. Now you need to lower the arms to your sides keeping the elbows bent at 90 degrees. As you do so you will feel a stretch on the front of the chest and tension between the shoulder blades on the Rhomboid muscles.
Note the elbows stay bent at right angles
If you have tight shoulders you will feel the hands lift away from the wall. This is fine, the trick now is to keep the spine still, so make sure you maintain tension in the abdominal muscles. As long as you feel some stretch on the front of the chest that is fine.
Note back is still flat against the wall
This shows the wrong way to do it:
Back over-extended, less specific for shoulder
OK, now you should be getting an idea that this is all about control, you really need to focus on the only movement occuring at the shoulder. Got that? Good.
Now you simply bring the elbows back up level with the shoulders, pause for a second or two and repeat about 15-20 times. Always remember quality is more important than quantity and if it hurts you stop straight away.
Within a few weeks you’ll feel alot more freedom in the shoulders.
All the best for now
Steve Oldale BSc, DC Chiropractor Back In Form Chiropractic Clinic 65-67 Commercial Rd Poole BH14 0JB