YWTL's are an excellent stretch that addresses the lower neck, upper back and shoulder muscles. It is very good to use quickly in the middle of your day when you feel tension creeping in and is especially good to counteract desk posture stress.
When performing these exercises use the "karate chop" hand position.
Progressive stretching and breathing: We will use a style of stretching called progressive stretching. The instructions follow.
Once your arms are comfortably in the proper positions (listed below), take a deep breath in. As you exhale stretch your arms back so that they move in the direction your thumb is pointing (directly behind you or opposite your nose). You only should stretch, pinching the arms and shoulder blades back in toward the spine, about 5 - 10% of the maximum you could.
Once you have exhaled, hold the arms in this "stretched" position and take another deep breath. As you exhale stretch the arms backward farther another 5 - 10% stretch more than where you ended up after the first exhale.
Perform this a third time and then relax for 15 - 30 seconds before moving on to the next stretch.
Y- To perform the first stretch, position your arms in a "Y" position as they relate to your shoulders. Keep the elbows straight and the hands flat so that your thumbs are always pointing opposite your nose.
|W- Bring your arms down so that the elbows are bent and below the level of the shoulders. Remember to keep your hands flat and your thumbs pointed directly opposite your nose.|
|T- Extend your arms and straighten your elbows to form the "T" position. Keep your hands positioned flat throughout the entire exercise as if you were carrying something you didn't want to spill, like a hot bowl of soup.|
|L- From the "T" position bring your elbows down and in toward your body. You may or may not be able to touch your elbows all the way in to your side ... just go as far as you are able. Don't change the position of your elbows from here. Simply pinch the shoulder blades back and move your thumbs in the opposite direction that your nose is pointing to feel the stretch.|