Exercises: CPLL, Banded Straight Arm Horizontal Pull-Apart, Shoulder Alphabet, Chair T-spine Opener, Chair triceps opener, Neck Extension, Hip Flexor Opener, Wall-Facing Handstand Hold, Glute Bridge Pose

EXERCISES:

 

BREATHING: These exercises are no joke. Make sure you don't hold your breathe. Do nasal breathing and connect your nasal exhale to your TVA engaging (cinching in). This is an opportunity to learn how to get comfortable being uncomfortable (and breathing is your ally: it will keep you calm).


 

Child's Pose Leg Lifts (CPLL)

Intent: To learn how to find the glute-ham connection when extending your STRAIGHT leg. The intent over time is to increase your straight leg hip extension AROM whilst keeping your hips square. Really find and dig into your contralateral oblique to stabilize you.

Note: this is the exercise that helped me achieve my standing split! You have to really use the glute to extend the straight leg, and that hip flexor needs to open up. I think about my standing split when I do child pose leg lifts (for motivation/intent).

Use a yoga block. Keep your hips square. Keep the leg straight, even if you can only lift it 3mm off the ground.

  • 10 controlled reps weaker side, hold last rep 10s
  • 10 controlled reps stronger side, hold last rep 10s
  • 10 controlled reps weaker side, hold last rep 10s


 

Banded Straight Arm Horizontal Pull-Apart:

Intent: To learn how to use your lats as stabilizers when you move your arms. You should feel your lats hugging your rib cage.

I use a booty band.

  • thumbs up: 10x, hold last rep for 10s.
  • palms up: 10x, hold last rep for 10s.
  • palms down: 10x, hold last rep for 10s.


 

Shoulder Alphabet: I, T, Y, W, WI

Demo:

Follow-Along Routine:

  • Intent: improve your upper back line strength and shoulder mobility.
  • I, T, Y, W, WI: Do 10 of each exercise and hold the last one for 10s
  • Remember to expand at the shoulders and maintain this expansion throughout the entire ROM
  • thumbs up, forehead rests on the floor
  • Lift with the back muscles, try to connect to these muscles.


 

Thoracic Spine & Shoulder Opener

Intent: Let gravity and time help you open up your thoracic spine and shoulders.

Use a chair. Knees are hip width apart. Hands are shoulder-width apart.

Hold for 60s, Relax, Nasal Breathing. Let your chest sink towards the floor. Reverse body wave out of the position.


 

Triceps Opener

Intent: Let gravity and time help you open up your triceps, thoracic spine and shoulders. If you have a bodybuilding or CrossFit background, you probably will have tight triceps, so this is a good exercise for you. Open triceps will make it so much easier to do elbow bridges and barbell front squats (front rack position).

Use a chair. Knees are hip width apart. Elbows are shoulder-width apart.

Hold for 60s, Relax, Nasal Breathing. Let your chest sink towards the floor. Start with hands in prayer position, then bring them towards your shoulders after about 40s have passed. Feel free to hold this for more than 60s. I do! I hold it until I feel myself open up. Reverse body wave out of the position.

 


 

Neck Extension:

Intent: strengthen your neck extensors and increase your neck extension mobility. Neck extension is necessary for many back bending skills such as back bridges, scorpions, and chin stands.

I use a yoga strap (nothing too thick).

  • Strap at base of neck. Pull downwards: retract & extend, hold. Repeat.
  • Strap at mid neck. Pull across: retract & extend, hold. Repeat.
  • Strap at base of occiput. Pull upwards: retract & extend, hold. Repeat.


 

Hip Flexor Opener: Follow Along Routine

Intent: Improve your hip extension. This exercise will help you understand how to engage your TVA and glutes to achieve more hip extension. This is relevant for back bending: You need your hips flexors to open up in order to do a back bridge.

You'll need 1 foam yoga block for your knee and 2 other yoga blocks for your hands.

There are 4 stages. I suggest you start with stage 1 and 2. Stage 4 is VERY advanced. You can revisit stage 4 in the future. In all stages, the TVA and glutes are engaged.

Do both sides.

  • Stage 1: Upright
  • Stage 2: Lunge Forward
  • Stage 3: Arms Overhead
  • Stage 4: Extend the neck and t-spine and reach for the wall behind you. Goal: touch your foot.


 

Wall-Facing Handstand Hold

Intent: Strengthen your lats as stabilizers in pushing (necessary for back bridges).

  • 3 sets, hold as long as you can. Goal: 3 sets of 60s holds.
  • Hands shoulder width apart, push hard, make yourself as tall as possible.
  • Full hip extension.
  • Nasal breathing
  • You can cartwheel out of these.


 

Bridge Pose (Glute Bridge):

Intent: strengthen hip extension (find your glutes!). This is THE SAME feeling in the glutes that you will have in a back bridge. This exercise provides you with context.

This yoga pose is great for opening the chest, hip flexors and t-spine. It's also great for strengthening your hamstrings and glutes.

Bridge Pose: do the real-time video with me, or just hold it for 60s. Do this twice.


 

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