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Arm Openings

Arm Openings are a great way to experience sequential rotation of the spine. Rotation lying on the floor in this position means that you benefit from feedback from the surface you’re lying to help you to work out what’s moving when! Gravity also means that you get some shoulder girdle strengthening too.

This is a nice clear demo but I would add a few comments.  Their breathing pattern is different, I’ll add the one we follow in class below with some additional alignment cues. If you prefer this breathing pattern by all means follow it as long as it helps you move and keeps your alignment good.

Inhale to rotate the head whilst raising the arm towards the ceiling, do not roll off your shoulder, keep collar bones pointing forward.

Exhale to open chest towards the ceiling rotating the thoracic spine. Remember that it’s a spinal rotation movement, not a stretch for the front of the shoulder! Keep the arm and shoulder in line with the breast bone. In class we talk about rolling off the shoulder onto the shoulder blade. Keep knees connected and pelvis still – extend the top leg at the knee to give extra weight and stability to the pelvis if necessary.

Inhale to return head and arm towards ceiling restacking onto your bottom shoulder. Return your leg too if you’ve used it for stability.

Exhale to finally return to your start position.

NB Aim to do the movement without needing the leg eventually. As with all adaptations, the hope is that as we get more flexible and stronger less adaptation is required.


Golfers – keep the head in the start position throughout and just mobilise the thoracic spine for brilliant swing prep.

Weighted – for a more intermediate movement add a weight. Start with 0.5kg then go heavier if you’re happy but always start with a few unweighted ones first to pattern good movement safely. The shoulder girdle (as well as the rest of the core) will have to work harder to resist the weight, so make sure you’ve got great technique so you don’t damage the ligaments and tendons.

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