Today’s mat exercise is called Breast Stroke Prep. In the video, I show 3 different ways to perform the exercise. I begin with the easiest and progress to the more challenging of the three.
The first way to perform the Breast Stroke is to lie on your stomach with your legs straight and your hands under your shoulders. Abdominal muscles should feel pulled up away from the mat, and hips bones should be pressing into the mat. Begin with an inhale. On your exhale, reach through the top of your head and lift up away from the mat. Think of keeping your body in a long line rather than trying to bend your back. Also, don’t put a lot of weight into your hands to lift up, instead use your core muscles to do the work. Hold for one inhale, then exhale and lengthen back down to the mat.
The second way is essentially the same except that you have your hands by the sides of your legs. Reach down the sides of your legs as you lift up. Hold for one breath. Then exhale to lengthen back down.
The third way is the same except for placing the back of your hands to your forehead. You will lift your arms with your head and shoulders. Hold for one breath. Then exhale to lengthen back down.
If you are new to the exercise, begin with the first version. Perform 3-5 repetitions.