Exercise Tip: Chest Opener Releases Tight Shoulders

by Pregnancy.org Staff

Are your shoulders tight and achy? This chest opener exercise tip should relax you and ease the pain. International fitness expert Tracey Mallet created this modified Pilates mat exercise during her pregnancy and discovered the magical benefits.

"I found these stretches very beneficial through pregnancy as I experienced some back pain, mostly due to my poor posture. The pictures were shot of me at 20 weeks pregnant." ~Stacey Mallet

This exercise is geared toward stretching your tight shoulders and opening up your chest. This group of muscles are typically tight throughout pregnancy because your upper body is compensating for your expanding and beautiful belly.

Here's What You'll Need and How to Do It

hold towel in front1. Prepare: Get out your exercise mat or a comfy chair if the floor seems a long ways away! Snag your headband, water bottle and a bath-sized towel. You might even turn on some relaxing background music.

2. Line up right: Start sitting crossed-legged on the floor or a chair depending on what feels most comfortable to you. Roll your towel lengthwise into a rope.

3. Get ready: Holding the rolled-up towel in your hands, extend your arms in front of your chest with the towel taut, pulling your hands away from each other. Breath in.

raise towel overhead4. Stretch up: On the exhale, carefully raise your arms overhead. Continue past your ears until you comfortably feel the stretch in your chest and shoulders. Keep the towel tight - make sure it doesn't become slack.

5. Hold and breathe: Hold this position through four breath cycles.

6. That's one! Bring your arms back to the starting position on an exhale. We recommend repeating this this stretch five times. If you're wanting to increase the amount, always consult your healthcare provider first.

check markBefore starting any fitness program, talk with your midwife or OB/GYN about your current health, physical activity and pregnancy. We don't know what kind of shape you're in or what your medical needs/concerns are. Please get the green light from your provider first!

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