Sitting Side Bend Stretch
What muscles does the sitting side bend stretch target?
On both sides of the trunk are present Abdominal External and Internal Oblique muscles. The Internal Oblique lies just beneath the External Oblique with its fibers running perpendicular to it. These two muscles along with the Transverse Abdominals hold the trunk in a supporting embrace. Unilateral contraction of Oblique Abdominals leads to flexion and rotation of the trunk on the same side. Acting bilaterally, they flex the whole trunk.
In the thorax, the muscles present deep in between the ribs called the External and Internal Intercostals, assist in respiratory movements as well as sideways flexion of the chest.
Latissimus Dorsi Muscle has big dimensions. It spreads like a sheet arising from the lumbodorsal fascia joining the pelvis, the lower six thoracic vertebrae and the lower 3 or 4 ribs and inserting into the humerus. It acts on the shoulder joint leading to its adduction, extension and internal rotation.
Moreover, it helps to lower the shoulder girdle and flex the trunk laterally. With the shoulder blocked it helps to bend the pelvis both forwards and backwards. In addition, its bilateral action can flex or as determined by the shoulder and back position, can also hyperextend the backbone.
Even more internally lay the Quadratus Lumborum muscle that spreads between the lumbar spine, last rib and the pelvis. It bends the lumbar spine laterally and stabilizes the lowest rib during forced respiration. Its bilateral action provides significant stability to the lower trunk.
It expands the chest and the underarms. Moreover, it assists in respiration by elevating the ribs and improves the reach as well.
This is a very effective stretch to augment upper body exercises on a regular basis, especially sports involving upward arm movement such as squash, swimming, tennis and the like.
Latissimus Dorsi is a strong muscle that is stretched in activities involving upward lifting of the body as in climbing, rowing or while using parallel bars or braces.
The flexion requires ample body resilience. Keeping the wrist on the outer aspect of the opposite pelvis, the arm should extend well towards the leg.
It leads to sideways bending of the trunk with a little flexion. The stiffest area would get the maximum stretch.
The costovertebral and costotransverse joints between the ribs and the vertebrae limit the sideways flexion of thoracic spine. The facet joints are arranged in a fashion to allow for significant lateral flexion; however, the striking of facets on the concave surfaces as well as the intertransverse spinal ligaments restrict the movement. The total lateral flexion of the entire thoracic spine ranges to 35 degrees on average.
The upper end of the lumbar spine flexes laterally more freely, with the flexion decreasing gradually towards the lower end, with no possible movement at all at the L5-S1 (the lumbo-sacral joint) level owing to the upright arrangement of facet joints. Normally about 35 degrees of lateral flexion is possible in the lumbar spine; the intertransverse and iliolumbar ligaments further restrict the movement.
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