March Mat-ness Challenge Day 16

Breast Stroke

On day 2 of this challenge, we performed the Breast Stroke Preps.  Today’s exercise is the full exercise.  If you were able to complete the third version of the Breast Stroke Preps, you should be ready for today’s exercise.  If you struggled when lifting your arms away from the mat, then you should keep practicing your Breast Stroke Preps until you feel strong enough for the full Breast Stroke.

So begin by lying on your stomach with your legs extended behind you on the floor and your hands palms down next to your shoulders.  Make sure you keep your abs pulled up as if pulling away from the floor, and keep your shoulders stabilized by slightly pulling them down and back.  You should be looking straight down at the floor.

Before you begin moving, take a breath in.  On your exhale, reach your arms forward by your head and hover them off of the floor.  Your head and shoulders will stay where they are as you reach your arms forward.  On your inhale, circle the arms to the sides while lifting your head and shoulders up and away from the floor.  Be careful not to lift with your chin, so that you are lifting with your neck.  Use your back muscle to lift your upper body and just let your head stay in line with your spine.  Keep your bottom ribs on the mat and keep your abs pulling up away from the floor.

As you exhale, you will lower your upper body and send the arms forward by your head again.  Your feet should stay on the floor by pressing the tops of the feet down.  This can be done with the legs together if it doesn’t create any pain in the lower back.  If you experience lower back pain, separate the legs so that there is more flexibility in your back.

Perform 5-8 repetitions.

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