Teacher Training Tip of the Week: Neck & Shoulder, Strength & Release
Neck & Shoulder, Stretch & Release
A quick little sequence to help strengthen the upper trapezius muscles, relieve neck & shoulder tension and create a better balance for the front and back of the shoulder girdle. (this video has been sped up and has only a few repetitions for each)
Using a small towel between the hands, keep it taut (some pressure toward the pinky fingers)
• Lift and lower the arms trying to stay equally open through the collarbones and shoulder blades. Repeat 10-15 times
• Leaving the arms up (if possible) shrug the shoulders up into the ears (inhale) and release (exhale). Repeat 10-15 times
• placing one hand on the opposite collarbone & turn the head away from that shoulder, lift the chin and open and close the jaw, trying to pull the bottom teeth past the top teeth. One should feel this in the jaw or even near the ear and down into the side & front of the neck. To increase the stretch use resistance with the hand on the collarbone. Repeat several times on each side.
• With the hands clasped behind the head, gently resisted the head back and hands forward while drawing the chin down slightly. This should feel like a gentle lengthening/ stretch on the spine in the neck or upper back. Repeat several times.
• Release and lengthen the spine (sit tall) and try to imagine the head being light and mobile like a ‘bobble-head’.
Ruth Ruttan is the Education Coordinator for Retrofit Pilates in Toronto, Canada, a Master Instructor specializing in Pre & Postnatal Pilates and a Birth & Postpartum Doula. Each week Ruth shares tips, tools and reminders for Pilates instructors and students with the intention of keeping us inspired, asking questions and always seeking to improve our teaching and our Pilates practice.