Exercises

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Check out our list of exercises that you can perform to assist with your various needs.

Belly-breathing fills your lungs fully, slows your breathing rate, and helps you relax.

Belly-breathing fills your lungs fully, slows your breathing rate, and helps you relax.

  • Place one hand on your belly just below the ribs and the other hand on your chest. You can do this while standing, but it may be more comfortable while you are lying on the floor with your knees bent.
  • Take a deep breath through your nose. As you inhale, let your belly push your hand out. Keep your chest still.
  • As you exhale through pursed lips as though you were whistling, feel your hand go down. Use the hand on your belly to help you push all the air out. Take your time exhaling.
  • Repeat these steps 3 to 10 times. Take your time with each breath.

Belly-breathing helps you engage your deep inner core muscles for improved core stability.

Belly-breathing can be progressed to varying positions and activities to challenge your breathing

  • Lying flat
  • Sitting
  • Quadruped position-on hands and knees
  • ½ kneeling position-kneeling down on 1 knee with the other knee out in front of you
  • Standing

Pelvic Tilt

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor
  • Keep your head, neck, and shoulders relaxed
  • Draw your belly button towards your spine to flatten your
  • lower back against the floor or bed
  • Hold for 10 seconds and then relax
  • Repeat 5-10 times
  • Perform 1-2 times per day

Beginner Lower Abdominal Strengthening

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor
  • Keep your head, neck, and shoulders relaxed
  • Place 1-2 pillows under your feet
  • Contract your abdominals by pulling your belly button to your spine and flattening your back
  • Slowly lift leg up, keeping your abdominals tight and head, neck, and shoulders relaxed, hold for 3 seconds
  • Reminder: Do Not put force through the opposite leg that is supporting you
  • Slowly return the foot back to the pillow, keeping abdominals tight
  • Then relax your abdominals
  • Complete the above sequence on the other side
  • Repeat 5-10 times per side
  • Perform 1-2 times per day
  • Progress by taking the pillow out and performing the above exercise with the feet starting on the floor
  • Deep breathing all the way down the spine and into the pelvic region expanding the breath into the back and sides of the ribcage.
  • Abdominals properly pulled in by drawing the belly button towards the spine so that they provide a supportive corset for the whole trunk.
  • Knowing how to breathe while keeping the abs contracted gives us extra support throughout movements and exercise.
  • Being able to perform lateral/ribcage breathing as well as diaphragmatic/belly breathing will increase your overall breathing capacity and body awareness.
  • Use while lying down, standing, or sitting so that your expanded ribcage can help support the weight of the upper body and minimize pressure on parts below.
  • Practice ribcage breathing first lying on your back with your knees bent, then progress to a seated position with feet and legs spaced comfortably apart. Place your hands at both sides of the ribcage with fingers in front and thumbs at the back. Slowly inhale (breathing in) and let your ribcage expand out to the sides and towards the back and then slowly exhale (breathing out) letting your ribcage relax and move down and in. DO NOT hold your breath! Draw the abdominal muscles in to the waist pulling your button towards your spine.
  • Hyperventilation is possible if this breathing exercise is done too many times continuously, so normal breathing should be resumed after 3 or 4 deep breaths before repeating.

Pectoralis
Front of shoulder treatment

  • Sit buttocks back onto heels
  • Let toes relax
  • Let arms reach forward and stretch
  • Let head rest down on bed or floor
  • Perform deep breathing as you relax all muscles throughout your body for 2–5 minutes.

IF YOU STILL HAVE TIGHTNESS AT THE BASE OF YOUR HEAD -PROCEED WITH THE FOLLOWING.

Shell Stretch – Prayer Stretch
for hips, shoulders, & back

  • Sit buttocks back onto heels
  • Let toes relax
  • Let arms reach forward and stretch
  • Let head rest down on bed or floor
  • Perform deep breathing as you relax all muscles throughout your body for 2–5 minutes.

Lower Back & Hip Pain & Tightness

  • Lying On your back: locate tightness or tenderness on the front hip or belly area.
  • Place feet and lower legs on top of a laundry basket, sofa, or chair.
  • Move knees to the right – and feel for decreased tension & tenderness in the hip/belly area.
  • Rest in this position for 2 to 10-minutes, breathing and relaxing all the muscles throughout your body.
  • Repeat in the following positions – moving very slowly after each position:

• knees to left
• knees together
• knees apart with ankles crossed

  • Roll to your side if able and perform prayer/shell stretch then stand up slowly
  • Perform 2x daily – preferably morning & evening when you are not in a hurry and able to relax.

Upper Chest/Sternum
Treatment of neck & back pain tightness

  • Sitting: Palpate point midline on the sternum/chest plate.
  • Slowly slump in the chair, gently folding your body over the point until the tenderness diminishes.
  • Find the position of greatest comfort and relax while supported in this position for at least 2-minutes.
  • Slowly move out of position.
  • Repeat 2x daily.

Treatment Of The Occiput
Base of head

  • Lie on back with pillow under mid-back, small to no pillow under head & neck; or sit on couch or lie on bed and let head hang off the edge.
  • Feel for tightness or tenderness at top of neck & base of head
  • Turn head in opposite direction away from the tight/tender area.
  • Feel for decreased tension and tenderness
  • Find the position of most comfort
  • Rest in that position for 2 to 10 minutes

Take your time. Small adjustments can make a big difference.
Breathe & relax all muscles of the body.
Remember to move slowly after each position.
Perform exercises 2x daily preferably in morning and evening while in bed.

Neck Treatment
Both Arms Over The Pillow
Treatment of neck & upper back

  • Lying on stomach
  • Place pillow or towel roll under chest to create extension in the upper to middle back
  • Raise arms up over the pillow
  • Turn head to the right and rest for 2-minutes
  • Slowly lift head with hands and turn head to left and rest for 2-minutes
  • Breath and relax all muscles of body

Woe Is Me
Treatment of the upper trapezius-right side

  • Lying on your back or reclined with head and neck supported
  • Bring your right ear towards your right shoulder
  • Place the back of your right hand on the forehead or above the head
  • Adjust and support the elbow until the least amount of tension and tightness is felt in the upper trapezius muscle
  • You could try this lying on your stomach as well
  • Switch your arm and move your head to the opposite direction to treat the left side
  • Rest in this position for 2 minutes minimum

Front Side of the Neck
Scalenes/SCM

  • Flex your neck with a pillow folded over, side bend (ear to the shoulder) towards the tender point and rotate the head(turn nose) to the opposite side
  • Shrug your shoulder up towards the ear
  • Rest in this position for 2 minutes minimum

Statue Of Liberty
Treatment of the shoulder blade area-right side

  • Lying on your back with your right arm out to the side like the statue of liberty
  • Place pillows under the elbow and arm until tension is decreased behind the shoulder blade area
  • Rest in this position for 2 minutes minimum

Swimmer
Treatment of right mid-back & between shoulder blades & hips

  • Adjust this position as needed to obtain optimal comfort
  • Lying on your stomach with head turned to the left
  • place left arm along your side or behind back (like you are tucking in your shirt)-whatever feels the best & place a pillow/ towel roll under left shoulder
  • Place right arm up alongside of your ear or head. You can put right hand under forehead if it feels better.
  • Legs apart with feet hanging over bottom of bed
  • Rest in this position for 2-minutes minimal – up to 10-minutes is okay – breathing & relaxing all muscles throughout the body
  • 2x daily preferably in morning & evening while in bed
  • Perform on both sides for optimal healing & muscle relaxation & balance

The Confused Swimmer
Treatment of the mid to lower back & shoulder blade & hips

  • Adjust this position as needed to obtain optimal comfort
  • Lying on your stomach with head turned to the left
  • Place pillow or towel roll under left shoulder and chest
  • Place left arm up alongside of your ear or head and reach to stretch arm away from shoulder blade (you can put left hand under forehead if it feels better).
  • Place right arm along your side or behind back (like you are tucking in your shirt)-whatever feels the best
  • Legs apart with feet hanging over bottom of bed
  • Rest in this position for 2-minutes minimal – up to 10-minutes is okay – breathing & relaxing all muscles throughout the body

Position: Sitting on the ball

  1. Deep Breathing- hands on sides of ribs, cleansing breath in through nose, exhale out mouth. 10 times
  2. Pelvic Rock 1- rock forward arching your back, then back, flattening your back. Repeat 10 times
  3. Pelvic Rock 2- rock side to side breathing naturally, finding your own rhythm. Repeat 10 times
  4. Pelvic Bowl/Circles- rock forward, to side, back, to other side, using your abdominals. Repeat 10-30 times in both directions
  5. Posture Lift- hands on top of head, raise crown of head into hands with resistance, hold for 5 counts, and relax for 5 counts. Repeat 3 times.
  6. Neck Stretches- chest up, shoulders back and tighten abdominal muscles Side Bend-bring ear to shoulder while looking straight ahead, hold for 10-20 sec. Repeat 3 times each side. Rotation-turn head to right, hold for 20-30 sec. Repeat 3 times each side.
  7. Chest Stretch- sit on ball then walk feet out until chest and head rest on ball keeping chin tucked in. Keep buttocks lifted up and tighten abdominals keeping lower back flat. Move arms above head and hold 10-20 sec. Repeat 3-10 times. Bend shoulders and arms to 90 degrees and move arms back holding for 2-10 sec then bring forearms and elbows together. Repeat 3-10 times *BE CAREFUL WITH EXERCISE 7 ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAVE NECK PROBLEMS
  8. Knee Extensions- with fists squeezed between knees straighten knee, hold for 10 sec and slowly lower. Repeat 10-30 times each leg.
  9. Knee Lifts-marching movement 10-30 times each leg – swing arms while marching- 3 min
  10. Bounce on Ball- controlled bounces, 2-20 min
  11. Hip Flexor Stretch-kneel on left knee with ball in front of left hip and right foot next to ball. Maintain neutral pelvis as you lean forward holding for 20-30 sec. Repeat 3 times each side

Position: Lying on back, feet on ball, or floor to Concentrate on core muscles
Use caution if you have neck pain, osteoporosis, or are pregnant

  1. Deep Breathing- same as before, only this time bring belly button towards spine and pelvic floor upsqueezing your bowel and bladder control muscles. Hold pelvic floor up on inhalation and relax on exhalation. Do until tired.
  2. Pelvic Bowl/Circles- starting at tail bone, allow each vertebrae to drop down along the floor. Pelvic rock forward and backwards again, breathing in as you raise up and exhale as you flatten out. Use pelvic floor muscles. Then switch to side to side then in a circle- 30 times for each movement.
  3. Tummy Tightening (on hands and knees)- inhale to prepare when relaxed, then exhale as you pull belly button towards spine trying to maintain a neutral pelvis, hold for 10 counts. Repeat 10-30 times.
  4. Tummy Tightening (on back) – exhale as you bring belly button towards spine trying to maintain a neutral pelvis.
    For exercise 3 & 4
    – Use hands to feel stomach tightening
    – Don’t let your back arch
    – Don’t bulge stomach
    – Don’t push down with feet-use stomach muscles instead
  5. Low Back Stretch- heels on ball, bring knees to chest & hold for 20 sec. Repeat 3-5 times
  6. Hamstring Stretch- legs on ball, straighten one knee & pull toes towards nose, hold 20 sec for 3-5 times.
  7. Knee Sway- with/without ball-knees together and sway from side to side. Repeat 10-30 times each.
  8. Angel Arms- legs on ball, move arms up to above head then down to sides (like making a snow angel). Repeat 3-10 times.
  9. Bridging- legs on ball with knees bent then lift buttocks off floor while tightening stomach and buttocks, hold for 10 sec. Repeat 10-30 times.
  10. Progressive Knee Lifts- heels on ball with a neutral spine, pull belly button to spine keeping back flat. Then alternate lifting one foot away from the ball- like marching. Repeat 10-30 times or STOP when your back starts to arch.
  11. Side Stretch- kneel with ball alongside of body. Side stretch over ball raising top arm overhead and bottom arm to floor. Straighten top leg first then bottom leg splitting your legs for balance. Hold for 20-30 sec. Repeat 3-5 times each side.
  12. Prayer Stretch- hands on ball and heels to buttock, straight stretch, side to side stretch, deep breathing. Hold for 30 sec. Repeat 1-3 times.

Position: Standing/Squatting

  1. Standing Squat- ball between back and wall, make sure knees do not go beyond toes. Repeat 10-30 times (add heel raises for more difficulty)
  2. Nerve Stretch (Carpal Tunnel) – stretch arm straight out to side placing ball between wall and hand. Extend wrist back so palm of hand touches ball. Fingertips opposite of nose. Keep shoulders down and turn head away from wall. Hold for 15-30 seconds. Repeat 3-5 times per side.

Position: On Stomach Over Ball

  1. Stomach Roll- roll back and forth on stomach 10-30 times
  2. Shoulder Roll- lay with stomach on ball while maintaining a neutral spine. Bend elbows as if rowing, squeezing shoulder blades together. Repeat 10-30 times.
  3. Opposite Arm/Leg Lift- raise one arm and opposite leg hold for 5-10 sec. Repeat with other arm/leg 10-30 times each.

Upper Body

Shoulder Flexion

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  • Standing tall with your belly button drawn in towards your spine, place the exercise band in your hand and step forward to straighten the band
  • Start with your thumb forward with the band by your side & pull the band forward until you feel resistance
  • Hold for 3 seconds & slowly control letting the band back down to your side
  • Repeat 10-30 times or until fatigue
  • Perform 2 sets for 2 times per day

Shoulder Abduction

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  • Standing tall with your belly button drawn in towards your spine, place the exercise band in your hand and step to your side to straighten the band
  • Start with your thumb (in/out), pull the band across your body & out to your side until you feel resistance
  • Hold for 3 seconds & slowly control letting the band come back down
  • Repeat 10-30 times or until fatigue
  • Perform 2 sets for 2 times per day

Shoulder Extension

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  • Standing tall with your belly button drawn in towards your spine, place the exercise band in your hand and step backward to straighten the band
  • Start with your thumb forward with your arm out in front of you & pull the band back slightly past your hip until you feel resistance
  • Hold for 3 seconds & slowly control letting the band back up in front of you
  • Repeat 10-30 times or until fatigue
  • Perform 2 sets for 2 times per day

Shoulder External Rotation

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  • Standing tall with your belly button drawn in towards your spine, place the exercise band in your hand with your elbow bent & your arm folded across your body
  • Start with your thumb up, pull the band across your body with your elbow bent (unfolding your arm from your body) until you feel resistance
  • Hold for 3 seconds & slowly control letting the band come back across your body
  • Repeat 10-30 times or until fatigue
  • Perform 2 sets for 2 times per day

Shoulder Internal Rotation

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  • Standing tall with your belly button drawn in towards your spine, place the exercise band in your hand with your elbow bent & your arm out to the side of your body
  • Start with your thumb up, pull the band across your body with your elbow bent (folding your arm across your body) until you feel resistance
  • Hold for 3 seconds & slowly control letting the band come back out to your side
  • Repeat 10-30 times or until fatigue
  • Perform 2 sets for 2 times per day

Shoulder Isometrics Exercises
Shoulder External Roation

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  • Standing tall with your belly button drawn in towards your spine, bend your elbow and keep it tucked close to the side of your body and move to the inside of the doorframe.
  • Place the back of your hand against the doorframe keeping the elbow bent and give appropriate resistance (25%, 50%, 75%, or 100%) into the doorframe without any movement from your starting bent elbow position.
  • Hold for 5-10 seconds and repeat 3-5 times for the appropriate shoulder.

Shoulder Internal Roation

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  • Standing tall with your belly button drawn in towards your spine, bend your elbow and keep it tucked close to the side of your body and move to the inside of the door frame.
  • Place your palm against the doorframe keeping the elbow bent and give appropriate resistance (25%, 50%, 75%, or 100%) into the doorframe without any movement from your starting bent elbow position.
  • Hold for 5-10 seconds and repeat 3-5 times for the appropriate shoulder.

Shoulder Flexion

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  • Standing tall with your belly button drawn in towards your spine, bend your elbow and keep it tucked close to the side of your body and move towards the wall.
  • Place your fist against the wall keeping the elbow bent and give appropriate resistance (25%, 50%, 75%, or 100%) straight into the wall without any movement from your starting bent elbow position.
  • Hold for 5-10 seconds and repeat 3-5 times for the appropriate shoulder.

Shoulder Extension

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  • Standing tall with your belly button drawn in towards your spine, bend your elbow and keep it tucked close to the side of your body and back up towards the wall.
  • Place your elbow against the wall keeping the elbow bent and give appropriate resistance (25%, 50%, 75%, or 100%) straight into the wall without any movement from your starting bent elbow position.
  • Hold for 5-10 seconds and repeat 3-5 times for the appropriate shoulder.

Shoulder Abduction

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  • Standing tall with your belly button drawn in towards your spine, bend your elbow and keep it tucked close to the side of your body, turn sideways and move towards the wall.
  • Place your shoulder and elbow against the wall keeping the elbow bent and give appropriate resistance (25%, 50%, 75%, or 100%) straight into the wall without any movement from your starting bent elbow position.
  • Hold for 5-10 seconds and repeat 3-5 times for the appropriate shoulder.

Scapular Squeeze & Chest Pulls

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  • Stand with you back straight and your knees slightly bent with you belly button pulled towards your spine
  • Squeeze your buttocks and lift your chest
  • Grasp tubing in each hand, approximately one arm’s length apart
  • With arms bent and parallel to the floor, tuck your elbows into your sides
  • Pull your shoulder blades back and down together as you pull your hands apart but keep your elbows bent and tucked to your sides
  • Hold for 3 seconds
  • Slowly return to the starting position
  • Goal = work up to 30 repetitions

Chest Pull

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  • Stand with you back straight and your knees slightly bent with you belly button pulled towards your spine
  • Grasp tubing in each hand, approximately one arm’s length apart
  • Position at chest level with elbows slightly bent
  • With arms bent and parallel to the floor, stretch tubing as wide as possible by driving your elbows back
  • Pull your shoulder blades back together
  • Hold for 3 seconds
  • Slowly return to the starting position
  • Goal = work up to 30 repetitions

Scapular Squeeze-Lying on Stomach

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  • Lie on your stomach with a small towel roll under your forehead
  • Place your arms at your side with your palms facing up towards the ceiling
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together by pulling them back towards your spine
  • Hold for 5 seconds
  • Slowly return to the starting position
  • Do not let your shoulders come towards your ears but keep them relaxed
  • Goal = work up to 30 repetitions

                                   Progression to Scapular Squeeze and Lift

  • Perform a shoulder blade squeeze as described above and then raise your arms slightly off the table while maintaining the shoulder blade squeeze
  • Hold for 5 seconds
  • Relax the arms back down and then relax the shoulder blade squeeze back to the starting position
  • Goal = work up to 30 repetitions

Lower Body

Controlled Knee Bends

  • Point your toes straight ahead as best as you can
  • Shift your weight towards the balls of your feet (keep most of the weight off of your heels)
  • Bend your knees slightly (Do Not lock your knees back)
  • Rotate your legs outward at the hips and knees
  • You may notice that you are standing on the outside of your feet and that is okay for now as it will build up strength in your arch
  • Begin to bend your knees slightly making sure to look down as your inner edge knee cap should be over your second toe or towards the outside of your big toe
  • Return to an upright position making sure that you do not lock your knees back
  • Come up to a “soft knee” by always keeping a slight bend in the knee
  • Note: locked knees (hyper-extension) are bone on bone and set up for muscle weakness, arthritis, and injury
  • Practice these knee bends 10-30 repetitions 2-3 times per day
  • This is a mindful exercise and you must concentrate on technique which is more important than repetitions.  It is like retraining your mind and body to write your name differently than you have for all these years.  You have to think every time you start the activity to facilitate effective change.
  • Very important and effective: practice this way of bending and moving several times throughout the day every time that you sit down and get up from a chair, get in and out of your car, when you are standing/bending in the kitchen, watching sports, waiting in line at the grocery store, or golfing.  Repetition is what creates change!

Clam Shell-Side Lying Leg Lift with Outward Rotation
Purpose: Strengthens the gluteus medius muscle which helps with standing and walking

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  • Lie on your side with both hips and knees bent so that the legs are relaxed
  • Tilt the pelvis so that the waistline is against the floor
  • Place 1-2 pillows between your legs
  • Keeping the heels together, slowly turn the entire top leg outward so that the kneecap rotates upward slightly with a small movement
  • Don’t let the pelvis or back move, the motion is at the hip joint
  • Don’t push down with the bottom leg
  • Return the leg to the starting position & Relax
  • Repeat 3-10 times or until fatigue on both the right and left sides
  • Perform 1-2 times daily
  • Progression of exercise: Perform as described above with the top leg straight

Standing Hip Adduction With Resistance

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  • Hang onto the back of a chair, countertop, railing, etc. if needed
  • Tighten stomach muscles & buttock to stabilize trunk
  • Place tubing around the ankle and keep the opposite knee slightly bent
  • Keep head, shoulders, hips, knees, ankle, & toes straight ahead
  • Start with tubing leg out to the side and pull inward with appropriate resistance but DO NOT cross the midline of your body touching the other leg
  • Move slowly through the motion holding for 3-5 seconds at a pain free end range
  • DO NOT arch your back-all of the movement is at the hip

Standing Hip Extension With Resistance

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  • Hang onto the back of a chair, countertop, railing, etc. if needed
  • Tighten stomach muscles & buttock to stabilize trunk
  • Place tubing around the ankle and keep the opposite knee slightly bent
  • Keep head, shoulders, hips, knees, ankle, & toes straight ahead
  • Start with the tubing leg in front and move leg backward only 6-12 inches behind the opposite heel with appropriate resistance
  • Move slowly through the motion holding for 3-5 seconds at a pain free end range
  • DO NOT arch your back-all of the movement is at the hip

Standing Hip Abduction With Resistance

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  • Hang onto the back of a chair, countertop, railing, etc. if needed
  • Tighten stomach muscles & buttock to stabilize trunk
  • Place tubing around the ankle and keep the opposite knee slightly bent
  • Keep head, shoulders, hips, knees, ankle, & toes straight ahead
  • Start with the tubing leg slightly behind the stationary leg to allow the tubing to move freely and move the tubing leg outward with appropriate resistance
  • Move slowly through the motion holding for 3-5 seconds at a pain free end range
  • DO NOT arch your back-all of the movement is at the hip

Standing Hip Flexion With Resistance

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  • Hang onto the back of a chair, countertop, railing, etc. if needed
  • Tighten stomach muscles & buttock to stabilize trunk
  • Place tubing around the ankle and keep the opposite knee slightly bent
  • Keep head, shoulders, hips, knees, ankle, & toes straight ahead
  • Start with feet together and move leg forward with appropriate resistance
  • Move slowly through the motion holding for 3-5 seconds at a pain free end range
  • DO NOT arch your back-all of the movement is at the hip

Mid Back Mobility
Thoracic Mobilization Using Towel Rolls

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  • Place one towel under your head & nothing under your neck
  • Place 1 towel roll under your upper/mid back lengthwise between your shoulder blades
  • Bend your knees so your low back rests flat in the floor or bed
  • Lie on your back in this position for 5-10 minutes
  • If you experience pain STOP and try re-adjusting or change the towel.

If pain continues, try lying on your back without towels

CAUTION: DO NOT TAKE A NAP OR SLEEP AT NIGHT LIKE THIS!
IT WILL MAKE YOU VERY SORE!

Thoracic Mobilization Open Book Exercise

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  • Lie on your left side with your head and neck supported by a towel roll or pillow
  • Place a pillow or towel roll between your knees to maintain good hip, pelvis, and spine alignment
  • Keep your chin tucked in a neutral position to avoid tipping your head back
  • Bring your knees towards your chest to lock out your lumbar spine/low back to focus on your thoracic spine/mid back mobility
  • Place your hands together with your arms out to the left side lying on the floor
  • Slowly take your right arm and move it towards your right while following with your head/eyes-“opening a book”
  • Only go until a gentle stretch is felt and hold for 10-20 seconds before slowly returning back to the starting position-“closing a book”
  • DO NOT STRAIN/OVERSTRETCH!
  • Repeat 5-10 times per side
  • Repeat the exercise lying on your right side for mobility on the left
  • If you experience low back pain then try bringing your knees closer to your chest to further lock out the low back
  • DO NOT continue to perform if pain is experienced with any
  • portion of this exercise

Cervical Flexion

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  • Sit or stand tall with your belly button drawn in towards your spine and your head, neck, and shoulders relaxed and your chin slightly tucked
  • Curl your chin towards your chest until you feel a gentle pull in the back of your neck
  • Slowly return to your starting position
  • Repeat up to 10 reps

Cervical Side Bending

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  • Sit or stand tall with your belly button drawn in towards your spine and your head, neck, and shoulders relaxed and your chin slightly tucked
  • Lower your right ear towards your right shoulder until you feel a gentle pull on the left side of your neck
  • Slowly return to your starting position and then repeat on the left side
  • Repeat up to 10 reps per side

Cervical Rotation

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  • Sit or stand tall with your belly button drawn in towards your spine and your head, neck, and shoulders relaxed and your chin slightly tucked
  • Slowly turn your head to the right until you feel a gentle pull on the left side of your neck
  • Slowly return to your starting position and then repeat on the left side
  • Repeat up to 10 reps per side

Shoulder Shrugs

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  • Sit or stand tall with your belly button drawn in towards your spine and your head, neck, and shoulders relaxed and your chin slightly tucked
  • Raise both of your shoulders towards your ears and hold for 5 seconds while breathing in slowly; then relax shoulders , exhaling breath and slowly lower back to your starting position
  • Repeat 5-10 times

Shoulder Rolls

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  • Sit or stand tall with your belly button drawn in towards your spine and your head, neck, and shoulders relaxed and your chin slightly tucked
  • Raise both your shoulders towards your ears while breathing in slowly ( inhale), then roll shoulders back, then down while breathing out slowly (exhale)
  • Repeat 5- 10 times ending with your shoulders back and down in a relaxed position

Gastrocnemius Stretch

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  • Standing tall with your belly button drawn in towards your spine, place your hands against the wall
  • Stagger your stance with your left leg in front with a bent knee to support you and place your right leg with a straight knee behind you
  • Keep your hips, keens, and ankles all in alignment facing straight ahead towards the wall
  • Keeping your heel on the floor, slightly lean forward into the wall until a stretch is felt in the right claf and hold for 30 seconds
  • Repeat with the left leg back. Alternate between right and left until 2-3 sets have been performed on each leg.

Soleus Stretch

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  • Position yourself as above but bend the back knee slightly until a gentle pull is felt in the lower calf towards the Achilles tendon/ankle and hold for 30 seconds.

Calf Stretch With An Incline Board/Wedge

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  • Standing tall with your belly button drawn in towards your spine, place your hands against the wall
  • Stagger your stance with your right leg in front with a slight bend in your knee and place your left leg with a straight knee behind you to support you
  • Keep your hips, knees, and angles all in alignment facing straight ahead towards the wall
  • Keeping your foot flat on the incline board/wedge slightly bend forward at the hips towards the wall until a gentle stretch felt down the right calf
  • Repeat with the right leg back. Alternate between right and left until 2-3 sets have been performed on each leg
  • This stretch can be performed with both feet on the incline board as well

Plantar Fascia Stretching

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  • Stand on the bottom step, keeping your belly button drawn in towards your spine, place your hands on the wall or hold onto the railing
  • Stand with the balls of your feet on the edge of the step and with your right knee slightly bent
  • Slowly lower the left heel towards the bottom step until a gentle stretch is felt along the arch of the foot and hold for 30 seconds
  • Repeat with the right heel. Alternate between right and left until 2-3 sets have been performed on each leg
  • This stretch can be performed with both feet on the step as well

90/90 Hamstring Stretch

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  • Lie on your back with your head and neck supported.
  • Keeping your belly button drawn in towards your spine with your back and your left leg flat to the floor, bend your right knee and with both hands placed comfortably behind the knee pull it towards your chest.
  • Once you have pulled your bent right leg to a 90 degree position then start to straighten the right knee towards the ceiling until a gentle pull is felt and hold for 30 seconds
  • Remember to keep your belly button drawn in towards your spine and don’t allow the left knee to loose contact with the floor
  • You may need to let the right knee bend a little if you are feeling a strong pull or strain or if the left knee is losing contact with the floor and you can work towards a straight knee as flexibility improves
  • Repeat with the left leg. Alternate between right and left until 2-3 sets have been performed on each leg.

Seated Hamstring Stretch

Picture

  • Sit on the edge of your chair with your leg off the chair but still sitting safely.
  • Bend your left leg to support you and straighten your right leg out with a slight bend in your knee and your heel on the floor in front of you
  • Drawing your belly button in towards your spine and keeping your chest and head up, bend forward at the waist until you feel a gentle pull in the back of your leg and hold for 30 seconds
  • You can gently hold the side of your chair for support if needed.
  • Repeat with the left leg. Alternate between right and left until 2-3 sets have been performed on each leg.

Standing Hamstring Stretch

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  • Standing tall with good posture, draw your belly button in towards your spine and place your right heel on a 6-12 inch step/stool in front of you with a slight bend in the knee
  • Keeping alignment with the hip, knee, and ankle straight ahead; squeeze your glut/buttock muscles to give you stability & balance
  • Hold onto a chair or wall for support as needed
  • Bend forward at the waist while keeping your chest and head up until a gentle pull is felt in the back of your leg and hold for 30 seconds
  • Repeat with the left leg. Alternate between right and left until 2-3 sets have been performed on each leg

Hip Flexor Stretch

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  • Keeping your belly button drawn in towards your spine, kneel down onto your right knee with your left leg out in front supporting you
  • Use an exercise mat, pillow, or towel under your knee for additional support and comfort if needed
  • Squeeze your glut/buttock muscles to give you stability & balance
  • Keeping your head and chest up and alignment with the hip, knee, and ankle straight ahead; lunge forward with the hips until you feel a gentle pull on the front of your right hip and hold for 30 seconds
  • You may also feel a stretch into the front of your thigh in your quadriceps
  • Repeat with the left leg. Alternate between right and left until 2-3 sets have been performed on each leg
  • You may hold onto a chair, table, or wall to assist with balance if needed
  • You may also try this stretch in standing if kneeling is too difficult

Standing Quadriceps Stretch

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  • Keeping your belly button drawn towards your spine, hold onto a chair, railing, or wall for support.
  • Squeeze your glut/buttock muscles to give you stability & balance
  • Bend the right knee and bring the right leg slightly in front of you to grab onto the right ankle/foot
  • Keeping your head and chest up and alignment with the hip, knee, and ankle straight ahead; gently bring your right heel towards your buttock until a gentle stretch is felt in the front of the thigh
  • Repeat with the left leg. Alternate between right and left until 2-3 sets have been performed on each leg
  • You may also try this stretch lying on your side if standing is too difficult

Low Back Motion
Single Knee To Chest

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  • Lie on your back with your head and neck supported
  • Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor or bed
  • Draw your belly button in towards your spine to flatten your lower back against the floor or bed
  • Using both hands or a towel to assist you, grasp your right leg behind the knee and gently pull your knee towards your chest
  • Hold for 10-30 seconds
  • Relax back down to your staring position lowering your right leg back  down to the floor or bed
  • Repeat on the left side

Double Knee To Chest

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  • Lie on your back with your head and neck supported
  • Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor or bed
  • Draw your belly button in towards your spine to flatten your lower back against the floor or bed
  • Using both hands or a towel to assist you, grasp your right leg behind the knee and gently pull your knee towards your chest
  • Keeping your right knee up, repeat with the left knee bringing it up to meet the right knee until a gentle stretch is felt in the back of both legs into the buttock and low back regions
  • Hold for 10-30 seconds
  • Relax back down starting with lowering your right leg back down to the floor or bed, then your left leg while keeping your back flat to the floor or bed
  • Repeat 5-10 times

Low Trunk Rotation

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  • Lie on your back with your head and neck supported
  • Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor or bed
  • Draw your belly button in towards your spine to flatten your lower back against the floor or bed
  • Keeping your knees together, slowly lower your knees to the right until a gentle stretch is felt in the left lower back and hold for 5 seconds
  • Slowly return to the middle starting position and then repeat slowly lowering the knees to the left side until a gentle stretch is felt in the right lower back and hold for 10-30 seconds
  • Keep the shoulder opposite of the direction of the knees in contact with the floor or bed and stay within a pain-free range throughout the exercise
  • Repeat 5-10 times per side

Prayer Stretch

Picture

Picture

  • Kneel down on your hands and knees.
  • Keep your stomach in, chin tucked, and head & neck aligned and straight.
  • Inhale
  • Drop your buttocks onto your heels while you are gently leaning your body backward and keeping your hands on the floor outstretched in front of you
  • Exhale as you stretch
  • Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes, breathing evenly as you hold
  • Slowly return to the starting position
  • Perform this stretch when awakening in the morning and before going to bed at night
  • This is a nice way to perform home Strain Counterstrain to your hips

Cobra Stretch

Picture

  • Lie on your stomach with your forehead resting on the floor (You may use a towel roll under your forehead if needed)
  • Place a large pillow under your stomach
  • Keep your hands flat on the floor at shoulder level
  • Inhale
  • Keep your chin in and head, neck, and back aligned
  • Push up with extended arms until your chest is off the floor (your hips should remain in contact with the floor)
  • Exhale as you push up
  • Hold the stretch for 5-30 seconds, breathing evenly as you hold.
  • Slowly return to the starting position
  • If this is too strenuous or difficult to perform, prop yourself up on your elbows and rest in this position for 5-30 seconds

Lower Extremity-Hamstring and nerve gliding
Lying on back

  • Note: opposite leg can be bent or straight but the lower back needs to be flat against the floor
  • Lying on back and supporting thigh behind knee using a towel if necessary, slowly straighten the knee until a stretch is felt in the back of the thigh
  • Pull toes towards your nose and inhale 5-counts
  • Point toes toward the ceiling and exhale 5-counts
  • Repeat 10 times on each leg, more if needed

Sitting

  • Sitting in good posture with thigh supported on chair
  • Straighten one knee and bring toes towards your nose, inhale 5-counts
  • Point toes with knee in same position and exhale 5-counts

You can do this on and off throughout the day as tolerated. Avoid hyper extension of knees!

Warm-ups (3-5 minute duration) 

  • Purpose
  1. Increase heart rate enough to break sweat
  2. Allow for more effective stretching
  3. Allow body to perform smooth and coordinated efforts
  • Suggested warmup activities
  1. LIGHT jogging, jumping jacks
  2. LIGHT throwing, bat swinging, jumping rope

Full Body and Specialized/Situational Stretching (should be 15 minutes minimum)

  • Purpose
  1. Improve flexibility and decreases muscle tension
  2. Prepare muscles/joints for full pain-free movements
  3. Prevent Injury
  4. Improve sport performance
  • Aspects of Stretching —Safety first
  1. Stretch at own pace
  2. Perform stretching in relaxed manner
  3. Stretches should not produce pain
  4. Stretching should produce a mild pulling sensation
  5. Breathe slowly and rhythmically – holding breath increases muscle tension
  6. DO NOT BOUNCE – hold positions typically for 20 – 30 sec
  • First order of Stretches
  1. Full squat – stretches hip, back & neck; head tucked and grab knees
  2. Butterfly (Groin) Stretch – sit on ground, bring soles of feet together, elbows push knees towards ground- DO NOT BOUNCE
  • Second order of Stretches (suggestions)
  1. Toe touch – stretches hamstring; knees slight bent, touch toes **
  2. Hamstring – stretches hamstring and groin; legs slightly wider than shoulders, touch ground & hold, grab ankle & hold, grab other ankle & hold
  3. Side leg stretch – stretches iliotibial band; cross legs, reach toward front Foot heal, hold, reverse feet
  4. Back extension – stretches lower back; hands on lower back, bend backwards **
  5. Trunk rotation – stretches back; twist trunk, slowly and controlled reaching out at end with extended arm *,**
  6. 6. Trunk side bend – stretches back & shoulder; arm over behind head reaching towards mid back bend to side with free arm pulling on bent arm elbow,    reverse
  7. Shoulder release – stretches shoulder
  8. Quadricep stretch – stretches quadricep muscles **
  9. Runners stretch – stretches calf muscle **
  10. Chest/shoulder stretch – stretches chest and shoulders; clasp hands behind back and  squeeze shoulder blades together
  11. Back of shoulder stretch -stretches shoulder; pull arm across body *
  12. Pec/wrist stretch – stretches pecs and wrists; extend arm against backstop, fence at 180, 90, & 45 degrees *
  13. 13. Shoulder & arm rolls – shoulder stretch; arms extended do small circles to big circles, reverse directions and arms resting at side, roll shoulders up, back, & down *

* indicates throwing stretches
** indicates hitting & running stretches

Performance Enhancement For Fun 

  • Goal to improve balance coordination, control, strength, agility, consistency, accuracy and prevent injury
  • Activities
  1. Balance and coordination
  • a. Standing on 1 leg for 60 sec without support – eyes open and eyes closed
  • b. Throw or hit on 1 leg

2. Agility – jump rope

  • Strength & control – lower abdominal and gluteal
  • Consistency & accuracy

 

  1. Hip & shoulder strengthening done properly through free weights, tubing or therapy balls – Consult with physical therapist, athletic trainer or doctor
  2. Repetition of proper techniques and baseball mechanics
  3. Use of visualization techniques

Most important have fun!! Stretching exercises can be fun and will reduce injuries and pain associated with playing any sport. Healthy habits and injury prevention begins at a young age.