Happy Shoulders

Straight Arm Pulldown

Firmly plant your feet. Feel your tripod foot.

Find a neutral spine. Align your rib cage over your pelvis. DO NOT backbend as you pull the bar toward you.

Keep your elbows straight.

Keep the ball of your shoulder in the socket. In other words, keep the front of your shoulders back.

Initiate the movement by drawing your shoulder blades down your back. Pull the bar to your body by using your armpits. DO NOT press the bar down with your arms and hands.

Can you feel your latissimus dorsi muscles? These are the big V-shaped muscles that run down your back.

Pause in the bottom position for a breath or two. Feel the muscles on the back of your arms engage. Draw your shoulders down and back. DO NOT back bend. Keep your ribs aligned over your pelvis. Stand tall. Engage your back muscles.


Hang

KEY POINTS

Start hanging on something low where your feet can easily touch the ground.

Grip the bar strongly with your entire hand. Can you feel the pinky finger edge of your palm hold as strongly as the thumb side of your hand?

Imagine that you are going to break the bar with the strength of your shoulders and grip.

Keep your ribs down and aligned over your pelvis.

Breathe easily.

How long can you hold?

Eventually move onto something high enough for your feet to dangle.


Upper Body Mobility Wall Sequence

After several hours at the computer, this is one of my favorite ways to refresh:

1) SPLIT STANCE WINDMILL: Stand with your inside leg forward. Ground strongly into your feet, particularly through the heel of your outside leg. Keep the frontal hip point of your outside leg moving back. Rotate from your chest and upper back. Watch your hand with your eyes as you rotate. Keep your legs grounded and your pelvis still. Keep the front of your rib cage moving down and back. Keep your bra-line full. Breathe easily through your nose with a relaxed abdomen. 5 - 10 repetitions.

2) SPLIT STANCE STATIC ROTATION: Ground strongly through both feet. Keep your pelvis facing forward. Turn your chest toward the wall without moving your hips. Keep the front of your rib cage moving down and back with your bra-line full. Look toward your extended hand. Use your other hand on the wall for assistance. Breathe easily for 5 - 10 breaths.

3) CHEST STRETCH: Keep the hand of your inside arm firmly anchored on the wall. Imagine you are trying to palm the wall like a basketball. Turn your chest away from your extended arm. Press into the pinky finger edge of your inside hand. Breathe easily for 5 - 10 breaths.

4) ACTIVE ROTATION: Hinge at your hips and rest your butt against the wall. Press both sitting bones into the wall with equal pressure. Rotate through your chest and attempt to open your breastbone to the sky. Watch your moving hand with your eyes. Your extended arm follows your chest, but does not lead the way. Keep your extended arm in the same plane as your shoulder. Do not throw your arm back. Keep both sitting bones pressing equally into the wall. Breathe easily. 5 - 10 repetitions.

4) DANCE!!!! Of course!

5) Enjoy!


Supine Cactus

KEY POINTS

Keep your mid-back in contact with the floor.

Actively press everything from your mid-back and higher into the floor.

Can you press the back of your head into the floor? Your bra-line? Your upper back? The back of your wrists? Can you externally rotate (open) your shoulders and feel a stretch through your chest? Can you keep your neck, jaw and face relaxed? Can you feel the top of your shoulder blade move toward the floor as the tip of your shoulder blade moves into your body?

Press actively down for 30 seconds and repeat for 3 total rounds.


Lying Limb Reach 1

KEY POINTS

Set your rib cage with an exhale. Feel the weight of your mid-back against the floor

If you are holding a yoga block, press strongly into the yoga block with your palms, particularly with the pinky finger edge of your palm. If you do not have a yoga block you can simply mimic this action with an imaginary yoga block.

Keep your ribs down and your back against the floor as you reach your arms overhead.

Pause in the extended position for several breaths.


Lying Yoga Block Pull Over

Anchor the back of your ribcage into the floor.

Squeeze a yoga block between your forearms.

Rotate your shoulders so that your palms orient in the direction of your head.

Keep elbows in line with your wrists. DO NOT let your elbows move wider and outside of your wrists.

Pause in the extended position and breathe easily for several breaths.

Repeat for 5 rounds.

To make this movement more challenging, progress to the Lying Dumbbell Pullover.