The Fitness Fixer
The Fitness Fixer

Fast Fitness - Strengthen and Stabilize Upper Body and Core Without Increasing Neck Tension

Here is Friday Fast Fitness - learn how to use and strengthen arm, shoulder, upper body muscles, and abdominal and back muscles without hunching, tensing, and tightening:

  1. Have a friend stand in front of you with arms crossed over their chest. Grasp their arms or elbows, like holding a steering wheel of a car or bike

  2. While they resist, try to "drive" and turn the wheel right and left. Both of you keep the body upright and straight.

  3. Notice if either of you hunch shoulders, tense the neck, or strain your breathing. Practice moving strongly without clenching. Keep breathing.

This can be fun to do with kids - they can "drive" you, then you can pick them in the air and "drive" them. To try this solo, hold a doorway, sturdy pole or pipe, or other hard to move object.

It is common to tense and hunch the shoulders and neck out of bad habit while doing arm strengthening exercises, and while using arms for daily life activities like driving, hanging up clothes and putting groceries on high shelves. Tightening leads to faulty muscle use, and increased blood pressure at the moment. These habits can contribute to headaches, bad postural and breathing habits, and poor mood.

Train relaxed habits instead of tightening muscles. Transfer relaxed good posture to daily movement.

More to train arms like these in the book Healthy Martial Arts - without special equipment or supplements.

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Photo by SiBorg
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About the Author


Dr. Bookspan is an award-winning scientist whose goal is to make exercise easier and healthier.