Stretch: Seated QL

The quadratus lumborum, or QL, is a common source of lower back pain. Stretching this muscle is an excellent way to help relieve the pain and discomfort from long hours seated in front of computer or at a desk.

Stretch: Seated Quadratus Lumborum Stretch

Chair, preferebly one NOT on wheels



• Lean forward from hips and grab hold of opposite ankle

• Stretch to the point of tension and hold for 30 seconds

• Sitting on the edge of the chair may increase the stretch

Helpful for: Low back pain or discomfort





Stretch: Armpit Sniff

The armpit sniffer is a popular and effective stretch for tight necks. Learn how to do this simple movement to relieve your neck tension.


Standing/Seated Levator Scapula ‘Armpit Sniff’ Stretch
Equipment: None; if performing while seated, use a sturdy and steady chair
  • Bring your nose towards one shoulder and down to armpit

• Place the hand of arm on same side to the top of your head

• Let the weight of your hand gently drop your head further to your armpit

• Hold the stretch for 30 to 60 seconds or until a release is felt

*If seated grip the underside of the chair with your opposite hand to increase the stretch

Helpful for: Discomfort or ‘tightness’ in – neck and shoulders





Stretching Basics

Stretching is probably the most common form of home care exercise prescribed by RMTs to their clients. Here are some general guidelines for your stretching program.

There are several broad categories of stretching exercises. Each category has its own protocol for the application and intended goal for doing the stretch. The guidelines which I have briefly outlined apply to a category of stretches called static stretching. Other terms that you may have heard and may be used interchangeably with static stretches are sustained, maintained, or prolonged stretching.


Static stretching is popular and well accepted as an effective form of stretching to increase flexibility.


Warm up before stretching using heat or movement Stretching muscles when they're cold increases your risk of injury to muscle tissue


Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds It takes time to lengthen tissues safely. Hold your stretches for at least 30 seconds — and up to 60 seconds for a really tight muscle


Don't bounce Bouncing as you stretch can cause injury to muscle tissue


Focus on a pain-free stretch If you feel pain as you stretch, you've gone too far. Back off to the point where you don't feel any pain, then hold the stretch


Relax and breathe freely Don't hold your breath while you're stretching


Stretch both sides Make sure your joint range of motion is close to equal on each side of your body


Stretching is a general term used to describe any therapeutic maneuver designed to improve flexibility by lengthening soft tissue structures, primarily muscle, which have shortened and have lost their mobility over time. Just as strength and endurance exercises are essential to improving muscle performance (healthy or impaired) or prevent injury, when restricted mobility causes adverse effects and increases the risk of injury, stretching becomes an important part of an individual’s rehabilitation program.


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