How to Stretch Your Shoulders on a Smith Machine

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Smith machines are mainly used for resistance training, but you can also use them for stretching. Many shoulder stretches can be executed with relative ease. Among the muscles you need to focus on during your shoulder stretching sessions are the delts -- the front, side, and rear parts -- and the upper traps. To stretch a muscle, all you need to do is perform its opposite function and then hold the position. For example, to stretch the front delts, which function to raise your arms forward, you must move your arms behind you and hold the position.

Things You'll Need

  • Smith machine
  • Weight plates

Front and Rear Shoulder Stretches

  • Stand about one foot in front of the Smith machine bar. Turn so your back is facing the machine.

  • Move your arms behind you and grasp the bar with an overhanded grip. If you do not feel a deep stretch in the front part of your shoulders, step forward until you do.

  • Hold this stretched position for 15 to 30 seconds and then perform the opposite movement for your rear shoulders. First, let go of the machine bar.

  • Turn around so you are facing the machine.

  • Hold the bar with an overhanded grip. Step away from the bar until you begin to feel a deep stretch in your rear shoulders.

  • Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds. Take a one-minute break and repeat this sequence of stretches for two more sets.

Side Shoulder Stretch

  • Stand in front of the Smith machine bar and turn so your left arm is facing the bar.

  • Reach across your body with your right hand and then grasp the bar with an overhanded grip.

  • Take a few steps to the right, with your right hand still gripping the bar, until you begin to feel a stretch in the right side of your shoulder.

  • Maintain this position for 15 to 30 seconds and then repeat the stretch with your left arm.

  • Do a total of three sets. Rest for a minute in between each set.

Upper Traps Stretch

  • Put a few weight plates -- at the least 25 pounds and at the most 45 pounds -- on each side of the Smith machine bar.

  • Stand right in front of the machine bar. Grip the bar with an overhanded grip and keep your arms straight.

  • Release the bar from the locked position and position it in front of your thighs with your elbows extended.

  • Depress your shoulders, essentially relaxing them, as much as possible. You will start to feel a stretch in your upper trap muscles.

  • Stay in this stretched position for 15 to 30 seconds, return the bar to the machine, take a one-minute break, and then repeat the stretch for two more sets.

Tips & Warnings

  • Stretch your shoulder muscles once or twice a week, preferably following your shoulder workouts. Make sure to stretch all the other major muscle groups, including the chest, back, arms, core and legs.
  • Do not perform these static stretches before your shoulder workouts, as doing so may hinder your workout performance.

References

  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
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