This is one of my favourite stretches, which is an adaptation of the 'crossed-leg stretch' from The Vital Psoas Muscle book by Jo Ann Staugaard-Jones. This static stretch targets primarily the iliopsoas, quadratus lumborum and pectorals, which is particularly useful for students and sedentary workers. We often blame our posture or a poorly setup workstation for causing ongoing 'back or shoulder pain', however, quite often, its because you remain in that same position for too long! If so, give this a try...
STEP 1: start in position shown on soft ground - support head if necessary
STEP 2: slide moving arm to reach above head
STEP 3: whilst reaching, roll chest to ground and look up
STEP 4: straighten top leg and lower to ground
STEP 5: hold stretch for 20-30 seconds and rest
STEP 6: repeat sequence 2-3 times
Perform stretch after exercise whilst tissues are warm
Relax and breathe
Take your time and do not rush (allow 5-10 minutes)
Be patient and stretch within your limits
Reverse instructions to exit stretch safely
Repeat stretch on other side
Do not perform stretch if you experience any pain or discomfort
WHERE SHOULD I FEEL THE STRETCH?
This is an advanced stretch that targets primarily the hip flexors, lumbar and chest, therefore you should feel a gentle tissue stretch on the side that is moving or moved. I recommend you master the movement of the upper body (arm and chest) first before attempting to move the lower body.
THE STRETCH IS TOO HARD FOR ME...
Occasionally, a stretch can be too challenging for some individuals (or can have little effect at all). Follow these steps to adjust accordingly:
Regression: attempt the movement lying on your back as opposed to side-lying (as shown above)
Progression: its already advanced enough ;)