How is your posture? The odds are not good. All that bowing wasn’t just a bad look; it also decreases athletic performance. “How we move in everyday life directly intersects with patterns in sport,” says Heidi Greenwood, certified strength and conditioning specialist.
Building strength and mobility in key areas (shoulders, hips, back) increases efficiency and can reduce the risk of injury in many activities. Reach for those benefits with this exercise, developed by Greenwood Outside. Perform each movement, then rest 30 to 60 seconds before moving on to the next. Once you’ve completed all four, rest one to three minutes, then repeat the circuit one or two times. Do this twice a week to see results.
How to do it: Lie on your back, with your knees bent and feet planted on the ground. Place a foam roller under your shoulder blades, keeping your tailbone on the ground. Clasp your hands behind your head, elbows wide. This is the starting position. Exhale as you push your shoulders toward the ground; try to touch your elbows to the floor. Hold for five seconds, then return to the starting position. That’s one representative. Do five.
Why: Improves upper back mobility.
Top Squat Squat
How to do it: Stand straight, your feet in line with your hips. Hold the broom above your head so your arms form a wide V shape. Pinch your shoulder blades together, then slowly bend your knees into a squat. Pause for a moment when your thighs are parallel to the floor, then push through your heels and slowly return to a standing position. That’s one representative. Do eight.
Why: Improves shoulder and hip mobility.
How to do it: Lie on your stomach, with your palms on the ground, arms slightly wider than shoulders, and elbows bent and pointing outward. Inhale, then exhale and press through your palms to straighten your arms as much as you can. Relax your glutes as you press. Hold for five to ten seconds, then release. That’s one representative. Do eight.
Why: Lengthens the spine and hip flexors.
How to do it: There are three parts to this move—do ten reps each, with a few breaks in between. Start by wrapping a handled resistance band around a hip-high anchor point. Grab the handle and step back far enough that you feel the tension in the rope. From here, lower into a split-squat position: legs bent to 90 degrees, one leg in front of your body and the other behind. Maintain this position for each movement. First, hold the handle with your thumb pointing up and your knuckle facing out. Extend your arms out in front of you, then slowly pull the handles to your hips, elbows close to your body. Next, form a 45-degree angle with your elbows as you pull the handle at chest level. Finally, keep your palms down, forming a 90-degree angle with your elbows as you pull the handles to shoulder level.
Why: Strengthens the extensor muscles of the shoulder blades, core and legs.