While chest stretches are a great way to relax and stretch after lifting weights using the chest muscles, they can be especially beneficial for those with neck or back pain. Regardless of whether they are used to stretch after exercise or to support the neck and back, there are several basic chest stretches that can be performed nearly anywhere. The doorframe or wall corner stretch, the chair stretch, the stability ball stretch, and the floor chest each work to stretch the chest muscles, strengthening them, and relieving the neck and back of added pressure.
The doorframe or corner wall stretch, as the name implies, can be performed on any doorframe or corner wall. Simply stand facing the doorframe or wall corner with both feet shoulder-width apart. Place one hand against the door frame of wall and keep the fingertips at the same height as the shoulder. Contract the stomach muscles and do not arch the back, while pushing the body toward the corner or doorway. Hold this position for about 15 to 20 seconds, relax for another 30 seconds, and then repeat the process ten times.
Chest stretches can be done at work or school, as well. One of the best chest stretches is done while sitting at an office or school desk. Scoot forward until you are sitting on the edge of the chair. With both arms behind your back, interlock the fingers of both hands and raise the arm behind you until you feel the stretch. Another desk chest stretch can be accomplished by putting both hands behind the head and opening the elbows by pulling them backward.
One of the easiest chest stretches can be done at home or at the gym. The only piece of equipment necessary is a large stability ball. Simply lie on your back, on the ball. Open arms up so that they hang on either side of the body, much like an airplane. Feel the stretch for about 20 seconds. Relax and repeat about ten times.
There are many chest stretches that are done on the floor, usually at home or at the gym. One of the most useful ones originated from a yoga maneuver. Simply kneel on the ground so that the shins and feet are parallel to the floor. Clasp both hands so that the fingers interlock and extend the arms in front of the body. Turn the palms outwards, while the fingers are interlocked. Then, move the shoulders up and the upper arms towards the head, while feeling the stretch.