Try crab reach for the ultimate full-body stretch

Welcome to our weekly Move of the Week series. Every Monday, we’ll be sharing with you one of our favourite exercises – how to do them, what muscles they work and why they should be a regular part of your workout regime. This week: crab reach.  

You might often be tempted to skip the warm up before a workout but stretching your body before working out is key to maximising your performance and reducing your risk of injury. Warming up helps to gets oxygenated blood flowing around the body, loosen the joints and activate the muscles.

Whether you’re about to practise yoga, go for a run or do a strength session, dynamic stretches are brilliant to help you clear your mind and get you set up for your exercise. Our favourite? Crab reach. 

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What is a crab reach?

Crab reach is a warm up and bodyweight exercise that stretches the entire front body.

It’s great because:

It increases flexibility: many of us have tight hips and shoulders from sitting down all day, and crab reach is a great hip and shoulder opener.

It strengthens the upper body: crab reach is a weight-bearing pose, so it’s great for building strength in your shoulders and arms.

It is a dynamic exercise: you’ll move through full range of motion to warm up the muscles.   

What muscles does crab reach work?

Crab reach stretches all the muscles along the front of the body, as well as the: 

  • Hamstrings
  • Glutes
  • Hip flexors
  • Upper back 

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How to do a crab reach

  1. Start off in a seated position, with the legs bent and soles of the feet on the ground. Place your arms directly under your shoulders with the fingers facing away from your feet.
  2. Lift your hips a few inches off the ground for your starting position.
  3. Squeeze your glutes to lift your hips as high as you can, keeping your pelvis tucked in so your spine remains neutral.
  4. At the same time, extend your right arm up and over the left shoulder with your right arm bent at a 90-degree angle. Twist your upper body to the left and gaze down at your left arm.
  5. Pause then lower your hips until they’re hovering just above the ground while you bring your right arm down to your side (keeping it bent) with the elbow hugging close the ribs.
  6. Repeat a few times on this side before switching to the other side, with your left arm extending overheard this time. 

Images: Stylist

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