Getting to Your Whole Body in Just Ten Minutes

The total-body routine in this section progresses through three stages 1 Breathing is the most fundamental of all stretching techniques. Breathing helps your muscles relax, which makes your stretches more effective. If your body has any tension, then your muscles won't stretch to their full potential. i Correct body alignment is important for good posture and to prevent injury. The total-body routine helps you find and maintain a neutral spine (keeping your hips, buttocks, and back all in one...

Seated spinal rotation

Have you ever been so focused on what you're working on at your desk that you forget there is a world going on around you Well, this stretch not only relieves tension in your hips and back, but also it's a good excuse to look up and see what's going on in the outside world. To do this stretch follow these steps 1. Sit up tall in a chair with your left leg crossed over your right, your abdominals lifted, and your shoulders down (see Figure 10-8a). If it's uncomfortable to cross your legs, do...

Back extension and abdominal stretch

This stretch is specifically for the abdominals, but it's also great for the back muscles. The back extension and abdominal stretch increases mobility in your spine and decreases a rounded back. To do this stretch, follow these steps 1. Lie on your belly, supporting your upper body with your elbows directly under your shoulders. 2. Lift up out of your shoulders so you aren't sinking into your shoulder blades. 3. Inhale and as you exhale, lengthen your spine and lift your chest as if you were...

Strap or towel

A stretching strap is a length of slightly elastic material that you can use to increase your reach. Many brands have several loops in which you can place your hands or feet to customize the strap to your height and flexibility. This elasticity helps increase your chance of achieving a comfortable, passive static stretch for a variety of muscles. No matter what the stretch, a strap can also help keep your upper back relaxed, which keeps your spine in neutral position and avoids scrunching or...

Middle of shoulder stretch

If you want to know what your deltoid muscle does, just lift your arm in any direction. Try moving your arm forward or back, overhead, in a circular motion, or just straight up and down. None of these movements is possible without your deltoid doing most of the work. Because your deltoids are so active and used in almost every movement that involves your arms, they're contracted constantly throughout your day. This constant tension creates tightness in your shoulders, which is all the more...

Extended arm pulse for your upper back

This stretch is great to do during your second trimester and can be done in a sitting position. The movement targets the entire spine and helps relieve upper back pain caused by your growing belly and breasts. To do this exercise, follow these steps 1. Sit on the edge of a chair making sure that your feet are flat on the floor (see Figure 13-2a). Keep your back straight and your abdominal muscles tight and pulled in. 2. Extend your arms out to your side at shoulder height with your palms facing...

Shoulder rotation stretch

You'll feel this stretch all around your shoulders because it targets the smaller, deeper muscles known as your rotator cuff and the front part of your deltoid known as the anterior deltoid. You need a stretching strap (see Chapter 2 for more details about straps) or towel for this stretch. To do this stretch, follow these steps 1. Stand up very tall with your feet about hip-width apart. 2. Grab each end of your towel or strap with your palms down and resting in front of your thighs (see Figure...

Making Wiggly Muscles Firm Stretches for the Dreaded Upper

If you're a woman of a certain age, you may have been led to believe that, like death and taxes, flabby upper arms are inevitable at some point. Well, I'm here to tell you that doesn't have to be the case. Upper arm development and definition are a big goal for both men and women. Men love to show off their guns and women are constantly looking for the solution for their flabby upper arms. With the focus on toning this area, remember it's just as important to stretch and lengthen these muscles...