Breathing is perhaps the most fundamental component of our continued existence. Think about it – how long can you go without food or water? Ok, but how about air? This stretch will open up your rib area, helping you to breathe easier!
Side Opening Stretch
The purpose of this stretch is to engage and loosen the intercostal muscles which run between the ribs and help to open up the chest cavity as you breathe. It will also loosen up your lats, external obliques, and triceps. Especially if you’ve been putting a lot of work into your core and upper body, side opening stretches can help to decompress and unclench tense tired muscles.
Stand with your feet spaced at double the width of your shoulders.
Bring your left arm straight above your head next to your left ear. Try to keep the arm as straight as possible, but don’t strain if this isn’t coming easy. Just as straight as feels natural and relaxed.
Keeping your upper body in the same plane as your hips, bend slowly at the waist towards your right. You should feel a stretch throughout the entire left side of the upper body.
Engage your core to hold in this position while you breathe.
Be sure to only lean over as far as feels comfortable – the idea is to get loose, not get injured.
If you need more support to hold in this position than your core can provide, drop your right hand onto your right calf and use it to further support your leaning upper body.
Hold for 8 breaths and then switch sides.