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STRETCHING SUNDAY🧘🏽‍♀️

After a long day of sitting, either at your desk, during your commute, even while relaxing on your couch, here are a few quick moves to extend and lengthen the Hip Flexors, activate your Core (yes, Glutes too!) and open up your Chest and Shoulders. The Bridge actively engages your Core and Glutes while allowing your head, shoulders, and upper back to be supported by the ball.

Using a Stability Ball is a great way to progress a basic movement. It requires proprioceptive awareness, balance, and increased motor unit recruitment (AKA Core Stability)… more bang for your buck!

This video demonstrates 3 Stability Ball moves; Bridge w/Shoulder Flexion, Bridge w/Angels and Abdominal Stretch.

1) Bridge w/Shoulder Flexion: To Bridge, start in a seated position on stability ball with feet hip width apart. Use hands for support as you slowly walk feet forward while keeping hips elevated and back resting on the ball. Walk forward until your head, neck and shoulders are comfortably supported by the ball. Hips are fully extended at shoulder height with glutes actively engaged. Cervical spine is neutral with eyes looking towards the ceiling. From this Bridge, extend arms above your head (shoulder flexion) in pain free range of motion with palms facing the ceiling. Hold position and breathe deeply for 20-30 seconds.

2) Bridge w/Angels: Start in a Bridge, keep palms facing up towards the ceiling as you slowly glide arms outward, away from your head until comfortably at your sides. In a smooth, controlled movement, keep palms facing up as you glide arms out away from thighs and extended over your head. The arm motion mimics making an Angel on your back in the snow. This is a great way to mobilize the shoulders and stretch the pecs and lats. Maintain stability by engaging core and glutes (dig in with your heels). Be sure your weight is evenly distributed between both feet. Knees directly above the heels at 90 degrees. Repeat arm movement for 10-12 reps.

3) Abdominal Stretch: Start in a Bridge, slowly walk your feet backward (towards the ball) until your lower back is fully supported by the ball. Extend the torso (slightly arching back) and lift lowest ribs towards the ceiling, deepening shoulder flexion if pain free range allows. Maintain support along the spine and weight supported equally by both feet. Hold position for 20-30 seconds and breathe deeply.

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