The Side Stretch: A Gentle Exercise

By Garner, Julie

The side stretch exercise stretches and strengthens the intercostal muscles, (the muscles between the ribs), which help support the ribs. To do the side stretch:

  • Sit in a sturdy chair with your feet flat on the floor.

  • Lean forward slightly to keep from "hunching" your back and shoulders.

  • Keep your hips, shoulders, and ears in a straight up-and-down line.

  • Raise your right arm overhead and bend your upper body to the left in a reaching motion. Keep your upper body facing straight ahead—don't twist it to the side as you bend.

  • Make sure you feel the muscles gently stretch all along your side from your lower back up to your shoulder.

  • Hold the stretch for 20 seconds, then return to the starting position. Repeat the stretch two times.

  • Switch sides and do the stretch in the opposite direction, repeating twice. 

Medical Reviewer: [Akin, Louise RN BSN, Foster, Sara RN MPH] Last Annual Review Date: 2011-06-04T00:00:00-06:00 Copyright: © 2000-2010 The StayWell Company, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.


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