Neck and Shoulder Modifications at the Barre

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This week we are launching our new blog series, Injury Modifications. Each month we will feature modifications for various injuries our clients may be experiencing. We’re starting this series with neck and shoulder injuries. Check out our suggestions below.

Being faced with an injury can be a hard pill to swallow when it interferes with your regular workout schedule. Take the time you need to rest after an injury and make sure your doctor gives you the green light to exercise again before heading back to the barre. It’s key to ease back in slowly and mindfully while being realistic about your capabilities. Oftentimes we push ourselves too hard when trying to get back on track after an injury which can further aggravate the issue.

Here are some neck and shoulder modifications to keep in mind while working out at Physique 57. If you take class at our studios, please let your instructor know about your injuries before each class so they can help give appropriate modifications.

1. Focus on maintaining proper upper body positioning. In all movements and positions, keep your collarbones wide, chest lifted and shoulder blades drawing down the back. Take this mindfulness into the rest of your day to improve your posture, stand taller and radiate confidence!

2. Use appropriate weights for each set. During upper body work with the weights, be attentive to what movements feel uncomfortable, and switch to lighter or even no weights during those sets. We do a limited amount of repetitions with weights, so just because one set might not work, don’t necessarily rule out the next. 

3. Use the barre or a wall for Push Ups. For all Push Up and Plank series, do them at the barre or against a wall to lessen the impact on the upper body. If you prefer to stay on the ground, you may do a Forearm Plank instead, which builds core strength and develops your shoulder stabilization muscles. Line your elbows directly under your shoulders, clasp hands and align your nose directly above your thumbs, keeping your focus at your hands. Feel your shoulder blades widen across your back, contract your abs and lengthen your tailbone towards your heels. Hold 10-15 seconds.

4. Place the ball at the base of your neck during Abs. If you are experiencing strain or tension in your upper body during the abdominal sequences on the forearms, lie on your back and put a ball underneath the base of your head and neck. If you are lying on a mat you can also extend your arms down by your sides and hold on to the outer edges of the mat. Pull the mat away from you for increased stability and feel your shoulder blades drawing down your back.

5. Lead with your sternum during the abdominal curl series. When pulsing your chest forward, lead with your sternum rather than your chin. You should always have space (about the size of an apple) between your chin and your chest. As you exhale, draw your navel in towards your spine and fold your ribcage up and over your lower abdominal wall. Be sure your shoulders are plugged down your back.

Do you have an injury that you would like to have us offer modifications for in our next injury modification series? Tell us in the comments below. 

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