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Undo The Office & Improve Pitch Performance #4: Neck & Shoulder Mobility

Get better neck and shoulder movement and improve training and pitch performance with Aoife MacNeill from FFS Gyms.

Do you find yourself reaching your head towards the screen when working or studying and have to remind yourself to sit up tall?

Sitting like this mostly affects our neck, shoulders and back. Needless to say, being curved over at a desk doesn’t do much for us on the pitch when being strong, standing tall and aware of everything going on around us is a basic starting point, never mind maintaining it when fatigued in the second half.

Luckily, there are some easy stretches to help alleviate the symptoms and they’re office and library friendly if you need some daytime relief.

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Quick Tips

  1. Partnering up with a friend sitting near you can help to keep each other in check when each of you has unknowingly dropped into that stature and needs a quick nudge (or) to perk up your posture.

  2. Sit on the floor with a folded up blanket under our hips for five minutes in the evening (a sitting room cushion or bedroom pillow will also do the trick, simply adjust for how much you need under your hips to sit tall). Take a few steady breaths and notice how much deeper you can breath when sitting up tall with chin slightly tucked and shoulders pulled back and down.

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Maintaining good neck and shoulder mobility can help to:

  • Prevent injuries like trapped nerves and shoulder impingement

  • Improve and maintain full neck range of motion

  • Improve and maintain full shoulder range of motion

  • Improve agility on the pitch where quick responses and reaching overhead are key

Try 2 rounds of each of these 3-4 times a week. The best time is a couple of hours after training or on non-training evenings and at weekends. You could also use one round of each as part of your gym warm up.

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1. Neck Drops & Rolls

We often stretch out our necks when they’re sore or tight and only in the part that’s giving trouble. Getting full neck stretches in helps to prevent tightening up and feels great. Shout out to Fabby Mizzoni’s yoga class at FFS for the specifics of this one.

  • Sitting tall with shoulders pulled back and down, reach left arm towards the floor beside you and drop your right ear to right shoulder

  • If you need more stretch, gently pull your head to the side with your right hand.

  • Repeat on other side.

  • Return to sitting tall, drop chin to chest and roll head and neck clockwise and then anticlockwise.

  • Pause at any parts that feel extra tight / extra good to stretch out.

Reps: 3 drops each side, 5 sec hold each time. 3 rolls each direction

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2. Door Frame Pecs

To be honest, most of us know about this stretch and have done it lots. But it tends to get overlooked as we rarely get a pec injury. Takes 10 seconds, feels great. Win win!

  • Stand square to a door frame and place your right forearm against the edge

  • Elbow should be at shoulder height.

  • Step your right foot forward keeping the rest of your body facing forward

  • Step back and move your forearm further up the wall by about an inch and repeat

  • Repeat again with your forearm another inch higher

Reps 3 each side. 5 sec hold each time.

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3. Trap Pull

This one is awesome, especially because it can be done almost anywhere.

  • Sit up tall and lock your fingers together with your arms out straight in front at shoulder height

  • While staying tall, use your arms to pull your shoulders forward to get a stretch in your traps (along the back of your shoulders).

  • Relax and repeat with your hands a little lower.

Reps 3 x 5 sec holds

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4. Kneeling Lats

These bad boys get very tight and feel great to stretch out. Not strictly shoulders but we won’t worry about that.

  • Drop onto your knees on the floor, bring your feet together and hips back towards your heels

  • Reach out to the floor ahead of you with straight arms

  • Walk your hands to the right, hold, then to the left.

Reps 3 in each position. 5-10 sec holds in each position (centre, left, right).

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Summary

Check out the previous posts in this series on hip mobilityt-spine mobilityankle mobility and keep an eye out for the next post on foam rolling.

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team. If you would like to join the team, drop us an email at write@punditarena.com.