Take Five: Stretch Your Vocal Tension Away

by Ann S. Utterback, Ph.D. on April 12, 2011

In my last post, I promised to provide a few more stretches to reduce tension in the upper body. Here are 5 stretches that can be done separately or as a sequence. You can perform the entire series in less than five minutes. But you can also pick out a single stretch and do that alone. Do all these stretches in a standing position with your knees slightly flexed and your feet spread about as wide as your shoulders. Keep your chin parallel to the floor during each stretch. If you have any pain, do not do the stretching and check with your doctor.

1. Begin with your hands at your sides. Raise your hands above your head in a slow stretch. Reach straight up several times as if you are trying to pick apples just above your reach. Remember not to look up. Reach up with each hand 10 times holding each reach for 5 seconds.
2. Bring your arms straight out in front of you and interlace your fingers. Imagine someone is pulling your hands away from your body. Keep your chin parallel to the floor. Feel the stretch in your shoulders and upper back muscles. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat once again.
3. Bring your hands behind your back with your arms straight down toward the floor. Interlace your fingers with your hands behind your buttocks. Try to pull your fingers apart feeling the stretch across your chest and shoulders. Keep your chin parallel to the floor and avoid arching your back. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat once again.
4. Pretend you are swimming using the breaststroke. Begin with your arms straight out in front of you with the backs of your hands touching. Stroke back as far as you can comfortably with both arms. Repeat 4 times. Pause and repeat 4 more times.
5. Finish by rounding your arms in front of you as if you’re hugging a large beach ball. Hold the stretch and feel your shoulders and upper back relaxing. Repeat this 4 times.

You might want to scroll down and read my last post, which included a shoulder rolling exercise. That’s a good one to add as well. Use these exercises before going to the mic. You’ll feel more relaxed and your voice will sound better!

Special thanks to Karin Lawson, Physical Therapist in Montgomery Village, MD, for her help with these exercises. Read about her at http://RockPhysicalTherapy.com
Want some articulation exercises to try?  Ck out my MP3:  Improving Your Articulation!  You’ll find it on the MP3 Downloads page.

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