Say goodbye to shoulder, neck, and upper back tension! The thread the needle stretch is a basic yet effective stretch that is both static and dynamic and you can perform it as fast or as slow as you want to You can use the thread-the-needle stretch as part of your warmup or cool-down for an upper-body workout. Or, simply add this stretch to your morning or nightly routine for some mobility work that’ll leave you feeling refreshed.
There are many benefits to this stretch such as:
Relieves Neck Pain and Tension
If you’re feeling some tightness and tension in your neck, try doing thread-the-needle for a minute or two on each side. You only need to slowly twist your neck back and forth and apply gentle pressure with your body weight, which may work out any kinks or knots in your neck.
Stretches the Shoulders
A lot of people have tight shoulders from hunching over a computer or phone all day, and this can be very harmful. Thread-the-needle stretches the sides and backs of your shoulders, helping to ease posture-related pain.
Mobilizes Your Upper Back
As recommended by Physical Therapists, Thread-the-needle is one of the best stretches for the upper back, especially for beginners and people with limited range of motion. This stretch gently opens up the cervical and thoracic spine of a patient. These two areas can become very stiff when you sit for long periods of time or don’t stretch on a regular basis.
Physical Therapists would commonly describe Thread-the-needle as sort of like an advanced version of a child’s pose, which is one of the most relaxing poses in yoga as well. The nature of thread-the-needle is rhythmic and steady, making it relaxing in general.
A good warm-up
Thread-the-needle is also considered a good warm-up exercise and it would usually leave you feeling strong while performing movements such as tricep dips and kettlebell swings, why? Because it opens up the joints that you need to do pulling and pushing movements.
Here’s how you can perform the Thread the Needle pose. But as a reminder, if you’re doing this stretch for the first time, make sure you do it with your Physical Therapist to make all adjustments possible for you.
- First, find a space on the floor and come to all fours. Commonly, patients use a mat or even a folded blanket underneath the knees for added support.
- Next, keep your hips and knees stacked and make sure your feet are in line with your knees.
- While keeping your knees, feet, and hips exactly where they are, you can begin to walk your hands out further in front of you.
- Once you reach a comfortable stretch through the sides, take your right arm under your left arm, rotate your torso to the left. Then place your right shoulder on the floor along with your right temple. Your gaze must come up past your left armpit towards the ceiling. While doing this, make sure to keep your left arm straight and extending overheard, with your palm facing the floor. If you can’t reach the temple to the floor, just place another flooded blanket or a small pillow underneath it.
- Keep your hips from shifting forward or backward. The stretch should be about the upper back twisting and not the pelvis. Keep your feet from coming together and keep them in line with your knees.
- Maintain the position for about 30 seconds or longer if your can then repeat on the other side.
Avoid some of the common mistakes that some patients do such as keeping the hips forward, ruching through the movement, overstretching, having a hunched back, and holding their breath. Your safety is always the priority and that also includes your breathing and moderation in doing the movement.