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Lats / Mid-Back.


For more movements from the Element Training program, click on the figure at left.

Exercises for Strength


  Vertical Push-ups  
Find a countertop that's about waist height. Stand with your belly against it and put your palms down beside you, knuckles pointed outward and back. Take your weight off your feet so it's all on your palms, lower your entire body and push yourself back up. Don't let your shoulders come forward, move slowly, and be sure to push all the way up.

  Reverse Vertical Push-ups  
As above, but with your back to the countertop and your knuckles pointing forward. Anchor your feet against the bottom of the countertop and lift and lower as before. This exercise challenges the rear deltoid, which tends to be a weaker muscle; be sure it's strong enough to handle this.





Stretches for Flexibility


  Crescent Stretch  
Beginning in Child's Pose, reach both arms long in front of you. Now walk the fingers of the stretching side's arm diagonally forward and toward the opposite side. You'll form a curve with your torso that will stretch out one whole side. This is also a great stretch for the lower back.

  Vertical Crescent Stretch  
From Hero Pose, anchor one palm on the floor about two feet directly to the side of your hips, fingers pointed sideways. Now raise the free arm directly above your head and into an Overhead Triceps Stretch, and push the matching hip forward and away from the planted hand to complete the stretch.

  Lateral Cobra Pose  
Lay completely straight and balanced on one side on the floor. Now raise your torso and anchor your lower palm on the floor, approximately under where your head was, along the same line as your legs. Straighten your lower arm to raise your torso and press your ribs downward to increase the stretch, being mindful of your shoulder. Bring your palm closer next time for a deeper stretch.





A Static Hold for Endurance


  Gymnast's Perch  
This is most easily done on a low chin-up bar, but can also be done on the edge of a sturdy chair. Sit on the edge of a chair and anchor your palms beside you hips, making sure they're directly over or behind the chair leg to prevent it toppling. Now lift your read off the seat and support yourself with straight arms. Lift your knees in front of you for a challenge, straighten them for a greater challenge, or straighten and spread them for maximum difficulty. There are at least two variations on this from yoga: one is Pendulum Pose, where you perch with straight arms on the floor, hold your knees tight against your body, and rock your suspended torso back and forth. Another is Balancing Staff Pose, where you perch wtih straight arms on the floor, hips lifted, and legs straightened in front of you. Both are challenging and well worth the effort.

that's gross.