Monday, 11 April 2016

week 12


Our shoulders are meant to hang (and swing) from things. Unfortunately this is not a skill encouraged by our culture (look around your work place/home/public space, are there any anchor points for you to hang from?) or taught in yoga class for that matter, which means it is not something that has had the time it needs to develop properly in most people. Ideally you should have developed the ability to hang as you were growing in height and mass so to start as an adult takes more than just doing it – especially if you haven’t done it in years. 

If you feel your shoulders/arms/neck need some TLC before attempting the following I recommend getting hold of Katy Bowman’s aligned and well ‘From the shoulders up’ DVD and doing it daily.

If you are ready to monkey around then the next few weeks will be a series of progressions for hanging basics and then a few drills for building serious scapular stability. These are the preceding qualities for swinging, brachiating and basic body-weight pull-ups so if you get the urge to take your hanging journey further I’ll through in a few drills for those too.

But we will begin at the beginning and I’m making this one meaty to make up for missing last week! Doing it all with a ridiculous grin on your face is optional...

1. Find a bar or branch that you feel confident will take your weight. Ideally put one up in your living space so you can monkey around on a daily basis.

2. You hands are probably going to dislike you in the beginning. Ideally your skin would have been gently loaded by using this skill throughout a lifetime, but all is not lost if this wasn’t the case. To build up beautifully callused hang ready hands will take time and I recommend trying the following three steps out on different surfaces i.e. bark/rock/metal/rubber to build strong skin.

3. If it’s been a really really long time since you tried this then please keep your feet on the ground to start so that you can load your body in a respectful way by introducing a load that is much less than your weight. Try each arm by itself and then both together. Try palms up and palms down. Also, the bar doesn’t need to be over-head, it could be waist height, like a railing, if you don’t yet have the mobility for an over head reach.

4. Add some more weight to your ‘one arm feet on the ground hang’ by carrying something heavy.

5. Then try it with your feet of the ground!

Finally, if you have kids, encourage them to hang regularly. You will be doing their bodies a great service.

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