Today’s exercise from Margot McKinnon, founder of Body Harmonics, is great for building support through the upper body—neck, shoulders and throughout the chest and upper back.
If you feel any strain through the neck area, please take a break and come back to it.
Step 1: On hands and knees, bend elbows back towards the knees and then straighten. Repeat several times and then circle your hands around to get rid of any tension in the wrists.
Step 2: On hands and knees again, press your weight into the left hand and right knee. Lift and lower your right hand several times and then hold it up. You should feel the work through the “standing” arm working all the way up to the shoulder. This also works the deep back muscles that are critical for support. Repeat this exercise on the other side a few times. Keep the work out of the neck.
Step 3: Transition to the next exercise by rounding the back way up to the sky to get the kinks out, return to a level spine and then walk your hands up your thighs to a tall kneeling position. From here, with arms hanging at your sides, slide your shoulders up and down several times taking a break if you feel cramp in the shoulders.
Step 4: Go back to hands and knees and with your weight on the right knee and left arm, pat your right hand on the ground around in a circle several times feeling support on your left arm (patting the floor is good for muscle AND bone strength.
Step 5: Walk your hands up to tall kneeling again. Bend your arms to 90 degrees in front of your body, palms up and cupped, elbows at your waist. Turn your upper arm to cross your forearms in front of your body to turn the humerus bone (top part of your arm). Repeat several times.
Step 6: Back on hands and knees. Lift your knees off to feel your core working with elbows slightly bent. Hold for a count of 3. Repeat a few times.
Step 7: Go back up to tall kneeling. Circle your shoulders AND each shoulder blade up back and around. Repeat a couple of times. Then lift and lower your shoulders and blades as before a couple of times. Turn your head side to side to get the kinks out.