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Monday, December 15, 2008

Oh........The Neck Pull

Is this exercise everyone's nemesis or what? Is it because the abs are tired by the time we get to it? Let's break this one down a bit.

Start lying down on your back with feet as wide as your mat flexed (or slightly wider than hip width apart). There are two different placements for the hands. Place your hands to your forehead elbows wide or behind the neck.

Start to bring the chin to the chest on the inhale and then exhale to round all the way up and over into a round back with the head towards the knees and the belly in. Gently stack the spine to an upright, seated position on the inhale and then gently roll back down one vertebrae at a time till your laying flat on the mat. Exhale at about the halfway point of the rolldown. I'll save the flat back and twist variations for another day.

I'm taking a guess that most of you got stuck at the chin to the chest part right? Here's some helpful hints to get up past that hump.

1. Watch the position of your pelvis. It should be gently flattened with the ribcage closed.

2. Make sure to let out that exhale as soon as you begin the roll up. It is the exertion portion of the exercise.

3. Still having problems? Try securing your feet under something to keep them down. Maybe a strap, under the couch or have someone hold them down.

4. Use light weights (2 or 3lbs.) and hold them in the hands.

Keep in mind that this one is tricky for most people. Mat thickness, core strength and spinal articulation are other factors that make it tough to roll up.

Practice makes perfect. Keep pulling away at it.