Exercise of the Week #3

EXERCISE OF THE WEEK #3

 

DOWNWARD FACING DOG

This is one of the classic Yoga moves of all time. I love this one for several reasons. First the obvious lengthening of the hamstrings and glutes, lower back, and calves. It also is a great move for promoting proper vertical load in the shoulders. The ability to accept weight over your head is becoming a lost art for many adults as we are just not challenging our muscular systems with this type of demand on an often enough basis to maintain any level of efficiency. 

The part of this move that is most beneficial however, is how distinctly it can point out various weaknesses and inefficiencies in the hips. In the example above this young athlete looks to be pretty flexible. And in fairness, he is well above average. What I want you to look at is the angle in his lower back. Do you notice that he is unable to flatten out his spine. This is actually caused by a lack of strength necessary to pull his pelvis into a fully flexed position. This causes him to not be able to fully flatten out his lower spine which in turn limits his ability to fully lengthen his hamstrings.

Compare the picture above to the following one from yoga-ology. Notice how flat this woman’s lower back is. Her ability to achieve full flexion in her hips enables her to get a complete lengthening of her hamstrings.

Try using this stretch on a daily basis and as you do it, focus on the act of pulling your chest towards your knees as you also attempt to flatten out your back. It is a great move!

2 Comments on this post

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  1. Fitness, Training, Health & Conditioning wrote:

    […] during your next warmup. When you are choosing a move to stretch out your hamstrings, try holding a downward dog pose, the classic yoga move. So from your hands and knees, straighten your legs out and try to press […]

    August 11th, 2009 at 6:04 am
  2. Makko Ho » The Ultimate Downward Facing Dog wrote:

    […] Train2Move’s Downward Facing Dog […]

    March 2nd, 2010 at 2:16 am

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