3 Upper-Body Strength and Flexibility Exercises

  • Keeping your upper arm and shoulder on the floor, squeeze your elbow into your side. Rotate your elbow so your forearm is moving outward, away from the body as far as you can without pain.
  • Hold the position for six seconds and repeat six times on each arm, resting for a few seconds in between sets.
  • Although these exercises may seem simple or easy, the goal is to work on one muscle at a time and slowly restore it to optimum performance.

    Muscle Activation Techniques

    If muscle pain or restricted motion persists in the upper body, consider consulting a specialist for Muscle Activation Techniques (commonly referred to as MAT). A MAT specialist will first do a full-body range of motion exam, including the shoulders and arms, checking for imbalances and limitations.

    One simple range of motion test for the shoulders starts with lying face up on a massage table with arms to the side and thumbs up. The client will then be asked to internally rotate one arm from the shoulder, so that the thumb moves inward toward the body. The test will then be repeated on the other side. If both sides are able to rotate evenly, the MAT specialist will progress to another Range of Motion test. This may include having the client keep the rotation described above and then bring the arm out to the side. These movements should be fluid, equal on each side and not cause any discomfort or pain.

    If this is not the case, there may be an issue with one or multiple muscles in the shoulder – this is one of the most complex joints of the body and can be a frequent area for imbalances. After determining if this is the area that needs to be worked on, the MAT specialist will begin the process of determining which muscles are not working as they should and help to restore them thorough muscle tests and precise palpations. The muscle will then be retested and worked on until as much balance and functioning can be restored as possible.

    Note: The combination of Muscle Activation Techniques along with take-home exercises, such as the ones listed above, will vary greatly based on the type and extent of imbalances that each client has.

    Whatever type of techniques, work outs or treatments you decide to use, it is important to take care of the upper body; using, exercising and resting the correct muscles at all times.

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    Kate Allgood, MAT, SH is president of Balanced Bodyworks, a Southern California-based business that enhances and improves mental and physical health and performance. Services include Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT), which corrects muscular imbalances to relieve pain and boost functioning, and sport hypnosis, which improves athletic performance through visualization and reinforcement techniques. Allgood is also an elite athlete, previously recognized as one of Canada's best female athletes. For more information, visit http://www.balanced-bodyworks.com or call 858-344-5335.

    Muscle Activation Techniques?, including the exercises described above, were developed by Greg Roskopf. For more information or to find a specialist near you, visit http://www.muscleactivation.com.

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