Tight Chest? Tingling And Numbness Into Your Arms and Hands? Try The Wall Angel Exercise.

With everyone sitting in a forward posture where your shoulders are rolled forward, the upper back is curved in a flexed position and you have a forward head posture, it is very common to have a tight upper back, chest and neck. Due to the chronic pressure you are placing on your skeleton sitting in a forward posture, a lot of strain is placed on the muscles of the upper back, chest and neck. This, in turn, can eventually develop into neurological symptoms like tingling and numbness in the arms and hands.

To avoid this from happening, you can give this simple exercise a try every day to open up your chest and correct your posture.

The Anatomy Basics

To keep things simple, but understandable, there is a line of nerves and other major stuctures like blood vessels that run under a few bones, along with a few neck and chest muscles. Therefore, when these muscles become tight from improper posture, an injury like a fracture to the clavicle, or with other musculoskeletal factors that can occur, those blood vessels and nerves can become compressed and cause symptoms into the head, neck, shoulder, arm and hand. This compression can occur in the neck, chest or even into the arm. This condition is called “Thoracic Outlet Symdrome,” as seen in the photo to the right.

How To Do The Exercise

This is a super simple exercise where you only need yourself and a wall.

  1. Stand with your back facing a wall – preferably a wall without pictures or shelves on it as you will be moving your arms up and down and you don’t want to bump into anything.
  2. Having your feet a few inches from the wall will be an easier position, whereas, standing with your feet up against the wall makes this exercise just a bit more challenging.
  3. Once you have your footing in place, be sure that your upper back and hips are leaning against the wall. Now place your arms at shoulder height with your elbows touching the wall. If your elbows cannot touch the wall, move your feet away from the wall slightly and try again. If you can now touch your elbows to the wall the next step is to externally rotate your shoulder by placing the back of your hands against the wall with your elbows at a 90 degree angle (as shown in the photo). If you are having trouble resting your hands against the wall, then you will be working at going into internal and external rotation of the shoulder for now until your arms can reach.
  4. Once you can have your elbows and hands rested against the wall you can move your arms up and extend them over your head all while keeping your elbows and hands against the wall. If you feel your hands or elbows lift, that is as far as you move your arm above your head, stop and go back down to the starting position and move through that range of motion adding a few inches each time you raise your arms up if you can.
  5. Do this 5-10 times and step away from the wall and feel how much more open your chest feels and how much taller you can stand. Magic.
  6. This exercise can be repeated multiple times a day.

Here is a video from my Instagram Account that you can reference for the full explanation of how to do this exercise correctly:

How To Release Your Hamstrings With One Stretch | Step by Step Process

Technology these days has us sitting in front of a computer, tablet or phone all day, and it also has us sitting in transportation like a car, train, plane or all of the alike. The problem with this is most of the time we do not correct the muscle imbalances that can occur with sitting for too long in our day-to-day lives. There are many musculoskeletal structures that can be placed into an imbalance with chronic sitting, but for the sake of this write-up, we will be focusing on the hamstrings.

The hamstrings are located on the back of your legs just underneath your gluteal muscles. There are many different reasons why they can become tight but here is one technique you can try to decrease the tension in them.

This is a contract/relax technique that is also known as proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF). This is a technique you can use almost anywhere in your body to increase mobility in your muscles and joints and therefore increase your range of motion (ROM).

What you need:
a) A mat to lay on
b) Yoga strap, towel or rope

How to do the stretch:

  1. Bend down from a standing position to reach for your toes and test to see how far you can reach. Can you get to your thighs, shins, ankles, toes? Remember where you can reach as you will be testing this again after the contract/relax stretch.
  2. Lay comfortably on your back on your mat, and place the yoga strap around the middle arch of one foot.
  3. Now lay with both legs straight on the ground and use your arms to pull the leg you have wrapped with the band up so that your leg is straight in the air. Only pull it up high enough that you feel a comfortable stretch in the back of your leg (you can feel this in the bottom and top of the back of your leg or one or the other). The other leg stays laying straight on the ground.
  4. Hold this stretch for 10 seconds. Breathe through the stretch, it should feel like it’s starting to relax near the end of the 10 seconds.
  5. Once the 10 seconds is over, now contract your leg into the rope as if you are pushing your leg to the ground without it moving, and hold this contraction for 5 seconds. You’re only pushing about 5 pounds of pressure into the rope – do not push as hard as you can into the rope. Just enough that you are getting the muscles contracting.
  6. Once the 5 second contraction is done, pull the rope and your leg closer to your body to another and new comfortable stretch. Now hold this new stretch for 10 seconds and follow it with another 5 second contraction.
  7. Repeat 4-5 times, then proceed to do the same stretch and process with your other leg.
  8. Stand back up and measure how far you can reach for your toes again to feel the difference in your range of motion.

Give this a try the next time your hamstrings are feeling tight!

Here is a video on how to do this from my Instagram account: