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Resources, Stretches

What are the best stretches?

Once seeing your physiotherapist at Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Australia, your physiotherapist will conduct a thorough assessment to identify which area of your body is tight and shortened, and what are the best stretches for your needs.

Daily stretches will restore your body’s balance, equilibrium and avoid your body from overcompensating to reduce pain, injuries and future flare-ups. Stretching will also enhance your performance levels. Follow the simple instructions to begin your stretching program! Enter the password given by your physiotherapist to access the site, for your specific list and pictures of your stretches.

What are the best stretches?

Follow the simple instructions below to begin your stretching program!

Perform your stretches 3 times for 30seconds, 3 times per day. The more you do the better you will become.

You should feel a comfortable stretch, and not feel any pain with these stretches. If pain persists consult your professional. Great work! You are now on your way to recovery. Please answer the questions on the sheet given by your physiotherapist and bring that to your next treatment session.

1. Neck stretch (Stage 1)

a. Gently pull your head to one side with your hand b. Gently lengthen the opposite arm towards the groundNeck Stretch Stage 1

2. Neck stretch + rotation (Stage 2)

a. Gently pull your head to one side with your hand b. Gently lengthen the opposite arm towards the ground c. Slowly rotate your head back and forth towards your armpit d. Find the tightest point and hold that stretch

Neck Stretch + Rotation Stage 2 Neck Stretch + Rotation Stage 2 Neck Stretch + Rotation Stage 2

3. Self trigger point neck stretch (Stage 3)

a. With 2 fingers find your trigger point and press hard b. Gently draw your head to the opposite side c. Gently lengthen the opposite arm towards the groundSelf trigger point neck stretch (Stage 3)

4. Cervical flexion and extension

a. Sit or stand with a tall posture b. Lower your head down to your chest while you tuck your chin in and hold for 1 second, then tilt your head back and hold for 1 second c. Perform this 10 times with a smooth slow movement

Cervical flexion Cervical extension

5. Cervical rotations

a. Sit or stand with a tall posture b. Rotate your head from left to right and hold for 1 second c. Go as far as you comfortably can without pain d. Perform this 10 times with a smooth slow movement

Cervical rotation Cervical rotation

6. Cervical lateral flexion

a. Sit or stand with a tall posture b. Lower one ear down to the shoulder and lower the opposite shoulder down c. Repeat from left to right and hold for 1 second d. Make sure your shoulders are down and relaxed e. Perform this 10 times with a smooth slow movement

Cervical lateral flexion Cervical lateral flexion

7. Cervical circles

a. Sit or stand with a tall posture b. Imagine you are drawing a circle with the tip of your nose c. Start drawing a circle the size of a 20cent coin, then progress to a soccer ball d. Perform this 10 times with a smooth coordinated movements then go the opposite wayCervical circles

8. Deltoid

a. Take one arm across your body b. Pull the elbow towards your chest with the opposite hand c. You should feel a stretch across the shoulderDeltoid stretch

9. Chest

a. Place your forearm and elbow on the wall b. Make sure your elbow and shoulder joint is at 90 degrees c. Take a step forwards and turn your chest away from the wall d. Perform the stretch in different shoulder angles e. You should feel a stretch across the chest

Pectoralis stretch

10. Chest through door

a. Place your both forearms and elbows on either side of the doorframe b. Make sure your elbows and shoulder joints are at 90 degrees c. Take a step forwards and keep your head in neutral position d. Perform the stretch in different shoulder angles e. You should feel a stretch across the left and right chest

11. Hands behind back chest stretch

a. Grasp your hands together behind your back b. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and lift your arms away from your back c. You should feel a stretch across the chest, and a tightening in the mid-backHands behind back chest stretch

12. Biceps

a. Sitting tall with your elbow straight, palms facing up behind you on a table b. Sit up tall and draw your shoulders back c. You should feel a stretch along the front of the arm and bicepsBicep stretch

13. Triceps

a. Reach behind your back with one arm and point your elbow upwards b. With the other hand pull the elbow backwards c. You should feel a stretch under your arm along the tricepsTricep stretch

14. Sleeper’s stretch

a. Lying on your side with your shoulder and elbow bent at 90degrees b. Bring your palm towards the ground c. Use your other hand to gently press the forearm down the ground d. You should feel a stretch in the shoulder

Sleeper's stretch Sleeper's stretch

15. Tennis elbow stretch

a. Straighten 1 elbow and make a soft fist with your hand b. Pull the fist towards you with your other hand c. You should feel a stretch across the front of the forearm

Tennis elbow stretch (anterior view) Tennis elbow stretch (side view)

16. Forearm stretch with table or with hand

Forearm stretch with table or with hand a. Elbows straight b. (With hand) Pull all 4 fingers backwards with your opposite hand c. (With table) Place your entire palm and fingers on the table with your fingers pointing towards your body, and press the palms flat on the table d. You should feel a stretch behind the forearm

Forearm stretch with hand Forearm stretch with table

17. Latissimus stretch (left side stretch)

a. Hold onto a rail or kitchen/bathroom sink with your hands shoulder width apart b. Bend the knees and lower your chest towards the ground so your head is inline with your arms c. Swing your hips to your right d. Push forwards with the right hand, and pull back with your left hand e. Make sure you keep you shoulders and hips square to the ground f. You should feel a stretch along the left side of your body

 Latissimus stretch (left side stretch)  Latissimus stretch (left side stretch)

18. Shoulder pendulum

a. Lean on a table with your good arm, with your affected arm relaxed and down b. Lower your chest to the ground so your head is inline with your arm c. Move your body gently from side to side, forwards and back, and let the momentum of your body move your affected arm. d. Your affected arm should be completely relaxed, and you should not initiate the movement with your arm. e. Your arm should be free like an elephant trunk. Progress this by making larger movements with your body f. Perform this for 2 minutes at a timeShoulder pendulum

Shoulder pendulum Shoulder pendulum
Shoulder pendulum Shoulder pendulum

19. Shoulder wall flexion

a. Stand tall facing the wall b. Place your arm as high as you comfortable can with the help of the other hand on the wall c. Lean your body into the wall d. You should feel a stretch in your shoulder

20. Shoulder wall abduction

a. Stand tall next to the wall b. Place your arm as high as you comfortable can with the help of the other hand on the wall c. Lean your body into the wall d. You should feel a stretch in your shoulder

21. Assisted shoulder flexion

a. Hold onto the stick with the affected arm b. Use your non-affected arm to pull the stick up towards the ceiling c. Initially use 100% of the force with your non-affected arm and relax the affected arm completely d. Once symptoms ease gradually use more less with your non-affected arm, and more force with your affected arm to bring the stick to the ceiling e. Perform this 20 times with 1 second hold at the end of range

Assisted shoulder flexion Assisted shoulder flexion

22. Assisted shoulder extension

a. Hold onto the stick with the affected arm b. Use your non-affected arm to pull the stick backwards c. Initially use 100% of the force with your non-affected arm and relax the affected arm completely d. Once symptoms ease gradually use more less with your non-affected arm, and more force with your affected arm to bring the stick to the ceiling e. Perform this 20 times with 1 second hold at the end of range

Assisted shoulder extension Assisted shoulder extension

23. Assisted shoulder abduction

a. Hold onto the stick with the affected arm b. Use your non-affected arm to pull the stick sideways towards the ceiling c. Initially use 100% of the force with your non-affected arm and relax the affected arm completely d. Once symptoms ease gradually use more less with your non-affected arm, and more force with your affected arm to bring the stick to the ceiling e. Perform this 20 times with 1 second hold at the end of range

Assisted shoulder abduction Assisted shoulder abduction

24. Assisted shoulder external rotation

a. Both elbows bent at 90 degrees b. Hold onto the stick with the affected arm c. Use your non-affected arm to pull the stick sideways d. Initially use 100% of the force with your non-affected arm and relax the affected arm completely e. Once symptoms ease gradually use more less with your non-affected arm, and more force with your affected arm to bring the stick to the ceiling f. Perform this 20 times with 1 second hold at the end of range

Assisted shoulder external rotation Assisted shoulder external rotation

25. Assisted shoulder internal rotation

a. Hold onto the stick with the affected arm behind your thigh b. Use your non-affected arm to pull the stick up towards the ceiling c. Initially use 100% of the force with your non-affected arm and relax the affected arm completely d. Once symptoms ease gradually use more less with your non-affected arm, and more force with your affected arm to bring the stick to the ceiling e. Perform this 20 times with 1 second hold at the end of range

Assisted shoulder internal rotation Assisted shoulder internal rotation

26. Thoracic rotations with stick

a. Sitting tall holding onto a stick behind your shoulder b. Gently rotate your body from side to side keeping your hips still c. Perform this 20 times side to side with a 1 second hold at the end of range

Thoracic rotations with stick Thoracic rotations with stick

27. Thoracic lateral flexion with stick

a. Sitting tall holding onto a stick behind your shoulder b. Gently tilt your upper back from side to side keeping your lower back and hips still c. Perform this 20 times side to side with a 1 second hold at the end of range

Thoracic lateral flexion with stick Thoracic lateral flexion with stick

28. Armchair

a. Sitting with your knees bent and knees together b. Hold onto your wrist behind your thighs and lean back c. Round your back and imagine you are drawing your spine towards the wall behind you and separate your shoulder blades apart d. You should feel a stretch throughout your back

Armchair Stretch Armchair Stretch

29.Knee rock’n’rolls (Level 1)

a. Lying on your back with the feet together close to your bottom b. Gently rock the knees from side to side c. You should feel a stretch in your back d. Perform this 20 times side to side with a 1 second hold at the end of range

Knee rock'n'rolls (level 1) Knee rock'n'rolls (level 1)

30. Knee rock’n’rolls (Level 2)

a. Lying on your back with the feet together close to your bottom b. Rock the knee to one side c. Straighten your top leg to stretch out further and hold for 1 second d. You should feel a stretch in your back e. Perform this 20 times side to side with a 1 second hold at the end of range

 Knee rock'n'rolls (Level 2)  Knee rock'n'rolls (Level 2)

31. Extension in lying

a. Place your hands beneath your shoulders while laying on your belly b. Straighten your elbows while keeping your hips flat on the ground c. Hold for 1second then lower your chest down d. Perform 10 repetitions x 2 sets

Extension in lying Extension in lying

32. Prone roll back (LION)

a. Place your hands directly under your shoulders, and your knees under your hips b. Keep your spine flat in a neutral position, then arch your back to the ceiling c. Lower your bottom towards your heels and hold it for 1 second d. Perform this 20 times, each time returning back to neutral spine position

Prone roll back (LION) Prone roll back (LION)

Prone roll back (LION)

33. Prayer

a. Lower your bottom towards your heels b. Reach forwards with your hands and hold the stretch c. You should feel a stretch in your back and beneath your shouldersPrayer stretch

34. Standing side stretch (right side stretch)

a. Stand tall and place your right foot as far left as possible behind your body b. Reach to your left as far as possible with your right hand c. Make sure to keep your hips and shoulders facing front on d. You should feel a stretch on the right side of your bodyStanding side stretch (right side stretch)

35. Spiral stretch (right side stretch)

a. Sitting down with the right knee bent and foot placed in the groin b. Left leg placed out to the side c. Raise both hands towards the ceiling and rotate your chest to the right facing the bent knee d. Lean your body to the left and reach your arms far to the left e. Rotate your body further to the right, then reach further to your left f. You should feel a stretch on the right side of the body

Spiral stretch (right side stretch) Spiral stretch (right side stretch)
Spiral stretch (right side stretch) Spiral stretch (right side stretch)

36. Mermaid stretch (right side stretch)

a. Sitting with the feet folded to the left side b. Place your left hand on your right knee c. Lean your body to the left while you reach with your right hand further towards the left side d. You should feel a stretch on the right side of the body

Mermaid stretch (right side stretch) Mermaid stretch (right side stretch)
Mermaid stretch (right side stretch) Mermaid stretch (right side stretch)

37. Abdominals

a. Place your hands beneath your shoulders while laying on your belly b. Straighten your elbows while keeping your hips flat on the ground c. You should feel a stretch through your abdomenAbdominals

38. Gluts supine (Level 1)

a. Lift one knee towards the same shoulder and pull with your hands b. Swing the knee left or right to find the tightest part and hold c. Hold onto a towel and place around the knee if you cannot reach the knee d. You should feel a stretch through the glutsGluts supine stretch (Level 1)

Gluts supine stretch (Level 1) Gluts supine stretch (Level 1)

39. Gluts supine (Level 2)

a. Place one ankle on top of the opposite knee b. Lift both knees towards your chest and pull your thigh closer to your belly with your hands c. Use a towel if you are unable to reach around your thigh with your hands

Gluts supine stretch (Level 2) Gluts supine stretch (Level 2)

40. Gluts prone (Level 3)

a. Place your hands directly under your shoulders, and your knees under your hips b. Bring your left knee towards your left wrist and swing the ankle towards the opposite wrist c. Lower your bottom towards the ground behind you, while you straighten your back leg d. Rest on your forearms e. You should feel a stretch through you left glutGluts prone stretch (Level 3)

Gluts prone stretch (Level 3) Gluts prone stretch (Level 3)

41. Gluts standing

a. Cross one leg on a chair or bed b. Aim to place the ankle, shin and knee to touch the supporting surface c. Press the knee down and lean forwards and lower your bottom behind you d. You should feel a stretch in your glutGluts standing stretch

42. Hamstring

a. Stand tall with one foot on a stool/chair with the knee bent b. Poke your bottom out behind you then gently straighten your knee until you feel the stretch c. If your bottom is poked out behind you, you should feel the stretch before the knee straightens

Hamstring stretch Hamstring stretch Hamstring stretch

43. ITB (right side stretch)

a. Place your right foot as far left as possible behind your body b. Keep your hips and shoulders facing front on c. Shift your hips to the right while you lean your upper body to the left d. You should feel a stretch in the side of the right thigh e. Hold onto the wall if you have difficulty balancingITB stretch

44. ITB roll

a. Lie on your side with the roll below your hip b. Have the top knee bent and foot on the floor c. Roll up and down focussing on the tightest points along your ITB

ITB roll ITB roll

45. Adductors standing

a. Stand tall with your legs spread apart b. Lean your body to one side while you keep your opposite knee straight c. Make sure to keep your hips and shoulders facing front on d. You should feel a stretch in the groinAdductors standing stretch

46. Adductors sitting

a. Sitting tall with the feet in together towards your groin b. Hold onto your ankles and press down on your thighs with your elbows c. You should feel a stretch in the groin

Adductors sitting stretch Adductors sitting stretch

47. Quadriceps

a. Stand tall and hold onto your ankle with your hand b. Bring the knee inline with the opposite knee c. Tuck your bottom in and pull the ankle closer to your bottom d. You should feel a stretch in the front of the thigh e. Hold onto the wall if you have difficulty balancingQuadriceps stretch

48. Hip flexors

a. Kneeling on one knee b. Tuck your bottom in as much as you can c. Gently lean forwards d. You should feel a stretch in the front of the hip e. Hold onto the wall if you have difficulty balancing

Hip flexors stretch Hip flexors stretch

49. Gastroc standing (Level 1)

a. Stride stance with your hands on the wall b. Lean forwards while keeping your back knee straight and heel on the ground c. Keep your toes pointing forwards d. You should feel a stretch through the back of your calfGastroc standing (Level 1)

50. Gastroc standing (Level 2)

a. Place the ball of your foot on the wall, straighten you knee and lean forwards b. The closer the heel is to the wall the better the stretch c. You should feel a stretch through the back of the calfGastroc standing stretch (Level 2)

51. Soleus

a. Short stride stance b. Keep your weight on your back foot and bend both knees c. Make sure your heel is on the ground and toes pointing forwards d. You should feel a stretch through the back of the lower calf

Soleus stretch

Chinese Meridian Stretches

Perform your stretches 2 times for 10seconds, after waking up and before sleeping. You should feel a comfortable stretch, and not feel any pain with these stretches. If pain persists consult your professional. Great work! You are now on your way to recovery. Please answer the questions on the sheet given by your therapist and bring that to your next treatment session.

52. Lower back (Level 1)

a. Stand with your hips and body touching the wall b. Straighten the affected leg behind you with toes pointing down c. Press your pelvis against the wallLower back stretch (Level 1)

53. Lower back (Level 2)

a. Stand with your hips and body touching the wall b. Straighten the affected leg behind you with toes pointing down c. Press your pelvis against the wall d. Lift the back leg slightly off the ground

Lower back stretch (level 2) Lower back stretch (level 2)

54. Lower back (Level 3)

a. Lying on your front with your head turned to the affected side b. Point one foot down and lift the thigh off the ground c. Press your pelvis down on the ground

Lower back stretch (Level 3) Lower back stretch (Level 3)

55. Lower back (Level 4)

a. Lying on your front with your head turned to the affected side b. Point one foot down and lift the thigh off the ground c. Press your pelvis down on the ground while d. Slowly lift the entire leg 1inch off the ground

Lower back stretch (Level 4) Lower back stretch (Level 4)

56. Lower back (Level 5)

a. Lying on your front with your elbows under the shoulder b. Point one foot down and lift the thigh off the ground c. Press your pelvis down on the ground

Lower back stretch (Level 5) Lower back stretch (Level 5)

57. Lower back (Level 6)

a. Lying on your front with your elbows under the shoulder b. Point one foot down and lift the thigh off the ground c. Press your pelvis down on the ground d. Slowly lift the leg 1 inch off the ground

Lower back stretch (Level 6) Lower back stretch (Level 6)
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