Whether engaging in sports, attending a yoga class, hitting the gym, or just living your day to day life, mobility is key to your performance and overall well-being. This is exactly why we created the Movewell App, of course. We want to be your biggest resource in reaching your goals whether that be to hit a new personal record in the gym or move throughout your life pain-free.
Joints and muscles that are tight and have a limited range of movement will limit your gains and quality of life. Even worse, immobile joints can cause other parts of your body to overcompensate, leading to injury down the road. This is exactly what we want to avoid. Life's too short to put up with nagging injuries all of the time. Luckily, we can take a proactive approach and implement daily stretching into our routine.
Therefore, it’s important to engage in the correct warm-up movements to prevent this from happening. Particularly for movements like overhead pressing, carrying heavy objects over our heads, or swinging a baseball bat, adequate shoulder mobility is a must.
This is where the Around The Body stretch comes into play. All you need is a mirror and most importantly, a straight length of PVC pipe, broom handle, or a wooden dowel. Though it might look visually awkward at first, by performing this stretch over time you should start to notice real improvements in your shoulder flexibility and range of motion. It will improve your ability to perform any pressing exercise as well as release any tightness in this area of your body.
What is the Around The Body Stretch?
The around the body stretch will help loosen up your shoulders and all the surrounding musculature. We love this stretch because it is almost guaranteed that you have something at home you can use to perform this movement. Whether it is a PVC pipe, a broom stick, a wooden dowel, a resistance band, or even a bath towel - no matter what it is, you can use it to receive the same stimulus and bring relief to tight upper body muscles.
Hold your chosen piece of equipment out in front of you with both hands gripping it on either end. Your arms should be fully extended at waist-height and your arms should form a Y shape. Stand straight with proper posture - pulling your shoulder blades back and down and engaging your core muscles.
Keeping straight arms, move the pipe around your body in a circular motion. Start with your right hand moving up over your head and around the back left side of your body as your left arm (holding the PVC pipe, of course) follows. Continue the circle as you bring your right hand around the right side of your body, ending up where you first started. This is one repetition. We recommend doing a set of five to ten repetitions to properly warm up your shoulders, chest, and arms. Don’t forget to complete the around the body in the opposite rotation as well. Start by moving the left hand first and follow with the right. You want to ensure that both sides of your body get proper attention.
Benefits of the Around The Body Stretch
The stretch is commonly used as a warm up for the upper body - specifically the shoulders, pecs, and arms. If you know that you’re going to be doing a workout that will require a lot of upper body usage, this is a beneficial warm up exercise to incorporate into your routine to increase blood flow to the area and ensure that your muscles are primed and ready to go.
The around the body stretch will help increase joint mobility, improve joint function, and prevent any injuries. The great thing about this particular movement is that it not only helps with shoulder-specific joint mobility, but it also targets the surrounding muscles as well.
Around The Body Modifications
The full range of motion for this movement has the PVC pipe moving from the front of the body to the back of the body and back to the front all while keeping the arms long and extended. But this movement pattern may not be accessible for everyone depending on your current ability level.
Instead of forcing yourself into this position and potentially causing an injury, only go to the limit of your own range of motion. Maybe this means you only get halfway down behind your body. Never push into a point of pain. Find the limit of your own range of motion and then breathe deeply into this position.
Consistently perform this stretch to increase your joint mobility and range of motion. You may be surprised to find that before long you can bring the PVC pipe all the way around your body and back with ease!
Holding the bar vertically, with one hand above your head and one hand at your side, move the bar in a circle, rotating around your body.