Step 1

Starting Position: Lie prone (on your stomach) on a mat, with your arms and legs fully extended.  Point your toes away from your body and fully extend your elbows and fingers, positioning your palms facing inwards.  Stiffen (“brace”) your abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine, depress and retract your scapulae (pull shoulders back and down) and attempt to hold these positions throughout the exercise. Align your head with your thoracic (upper) spine.


Step 2

“I” Formation: Gently exhale and slowly lift your arms off the floor (maintain a  formation of the letter “I”), with palms facing inward.  Keep your head aligned with your thoracic (upper) spine.  Focus on generating most of your lift through your shoulders and not the low back although some low back extension (arching) is acceptable.  Hold this position for 5 – 10 seconds then relax and return to your starting position.  Perform 2 – 4 repetitions.


Step 3

“Y” Formation: From the same starting position, gently exhale and slowly lift your arms off the floor, moving your arms into the “Y” formation (45-degree angle to form the letter “Y”) as illustrated with palms facing inward.  Maintain your head alignment with your thoracic (upper) spine.  Focus on generating most of your lift through your shoulders and not the low back although some low back extension (arching) is acceptable.  Hold this position for 5 – 10 seconds then relax and return to your starting position.  Perform 2 – 4 repetitions.


Step 4

“T” Formation: From the same starting position, gently exhale and slowly lift your arms off the floor, moving your arms into the “T” formation (90-degree angle to form the letter “T”) as illustrated with palms facing forward.  Maintain your head alignment with your thoracic (upper) spine.  Focus on generating most of your lift through your shoulders and not the low back although some low back extension (arching) is acceptable.  Hold this position for 5 – 10 seconds then relax and return to your starting position.  Perform 2 – 4 repetitions.


Step 5

“W” Formation: From the same starting position, gently exhale and slowly lift your arms off the floor, flexing (bending) your elbows and dropping them to a 45-degree angle to the sides of your body as illustrated with palms facing inward (“W” formation to form the letter “W”).  Maintain your head alignment with your thoracic (upper) spine.  Focus on generating most of your lift through your shoulders and not the low back although some low back extension (arching) is acceptable.  Hold this position for 5 – 10 seconds then relax and return to your starting position.  Perform 2 – 4 repetitions.


Step 6

“O” Formation: From a position with arms at your sides, gently exhale and elevate your shoulders while internally rotating both arms as if reaching behind to scratch your back.  Overlap your hands in the small of your back into an “O” formation (form the letter “O”).  Maintain your head alignment with your thoracic (upper) spine.  Focus on generating most of your lift through your shoulders and not the low back although some low back extension (arching) is acceptable.  Hold this position for 5 – 10 seconds then relax and return to your starting position.  Perform 2 – 4 repetitions.


RELATED EXERCISE: Supine Shoulder Stability-Mobility Series

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