Place your elbows and hands in front of you, such that your elbows and hands are touching in a ‘prayer-like’ position, but with your elbows at chest-height and hands at forehead height. From this position, move your arms out to the side by slowly squeezing your shoulder blades together until your chest is wide open and you feel a stretch along the entire front of of your chest and abdomen. Return slowly to the starting position and repeat.
Begin with your elbows straight and arms crossed in front of you, such that you’re squeezing your pecs together and rounding your shoulders forward. From this position, extend your arms upward and outward, while depressing your shoulders and retracting your chin into a double-chin position. You will be in a ‘Y-like’ position at the top. Return slowly to the starting position and repeat.
Position of tennis ball:
Reduced Tension (Beginner) Position:
Increased Tension (Advanced) Position:
Lie on your back and place the tennis ball just behind your shoulder, about 2 inches from the outer most point of your arm. From here, place your arm into the beginner (external rotation) or advanced (internal rotation) position, and gently rock side to side; gradually increase the amount of weight you’re placing through the tennis ball. By progressing how much pressure you use, you’ll release ‘fascia,’ which is what generally prevents you from progressing when doing a standard ‘stretching’ exercise.
Start with your elbows at your sides, hands up, chest big, and shoulders back. From here, slowly raise your arms into the air, while keeping your shoulders down and preventing them from hiking. Also, be sure not to lose your core, in that you’ll want to maintain a light abdominal contraction that prevents your low back from bending. The end position of this exercise is determined by the maximum height you can raise your arms without either of your shoulders shrugging upward. After reaching the top, return to the starting position and repeat.
Position of tennis ball:
In the z-sit position, roll the ball about 2 inches or 2 revolutions up from your knee, until you find the soft spot in your leg. From there, press down and perform gentle revolutions of the tennis ball until you find the sensitive area; focus on increasing pressure slowly but surely, as you progress through this exercise. By gradually increasing pressure with this exercise, you’ll release ‘fascia,’ which is like the encasement for muscles, organs, and other areas of your body.
By Dr. Kareem F. Samhouri
Doctor of Physical Therapy & Kinesiologist