I promised to start a comprehensive fabulous arms series after the first of the year. We've talked about some basics before so here are the points from PBS to maximize arm work.
This is copied from a recent response to Carol regarding how to combat neck an shoulder pain. Please note that these SAME tips will also help you get fabulous arms THIS SUMMER as well as combating upper back and neck pain.
Coming up soon -- Fabulous Arms in Plies which is surely my most favorite 'arms' topics!
Now for some other tips in PBS.
All flat back positions (PBS or otherwise):
REALLY pull the elbows up and to the center of the body. Why? This contracts the deltoids and lats and relaxes the traps. The rhomboids (under the blades) largely release if you SUPER engage during this part. The same will be true of lift/touch ... but more on that later.
ANY TIME you pull the elbows to the center of the body behind the shoulders you are engaging and working the arms to the max if you really PULL! Push the thumbs in to the small of the back to maximize pulling the elbows to the center.
Before you arch, place your thumb on the inside of the thigh just above the knee. As you start to arch, PUSH against the thigh. Feel the stretch along the center and under the blades? Keeping your thumb there, place your fingers outside your thigh just above the knee.
Continue the arch and then move to the TUCK, straightening the arms as you PULL THE ELBOWS to the center of your body. TUCK, elbows IN ...now SQUEZZE the thumbs and fingers. Ahhhhh... that too helps release the rhomboids and lower traps and middle lats. AND, it engages the arm muscles.
Completely stablize the shoulders and rock only the head.
Literally touch the sides of your body with your pinky fingers. Helps keep the shoulders aligned.
There was an earlier post on how to do this with inside/out hands so I won't repeat that here. This part of PBS is really important to helping you release the tension you are carrying.
Lightly grasp your hands behind, thumbs in to the tush to start, fingers laced. If you can, roll your thumbs toward your tush (or front wall) and then down to the floor ... then to the back wall. Your hands are now "inside /Out". If you can't do this, you can add a towel as a spacer and do the exact same thing.
Alternatively, you can just lightly grasp the hands and pull the thumbs in toward the tush and down toward the floor.
INHALE big, EXHALE bigger allowing the shoulders to drop. HOLD that spot. Should feel very good.
Here comes the important part. You must PULL your elbows IN to the center of the back as much as humanly possible.
WHY? Same reason as on pulling to the center on the flat back sequence. Pulling in engages different muscles and allows (maybe forces) the traps the relax. Now do the lift/touch.
Editing to add that pulling the elbows in during lift/touch especially with inside-out hands whether with a towel or with your hands really tones and tightens the pecs and will reduce the underarm pudge so popular with short torsos and combos.
The same thing is true with pushing the thumbs in and pulling the elbows to the center of the back during any flat back position ... or any time one or both hands are on the hips, elbows back.
Its a great thing ... tighten the chest, thighten and trim the lats and get fabulous deltoids all at the same time!
Extra Trap Stretch.
Inhale big, exhale bigger, drop shoulders as above ... ELBOWS in. Hands, shoulders and elbows are still in the lift/touch position.
As you tilt your head to the left side, for example, gently pull your right hand with your left hand. Gentle! Feel the wonderful stretch all through the traps??? Now that is bliss!
Repeat other side.
Finally, I have to once again recommend Biofreeze. This is a gel that creates an incredibly cold sensation on the skin. It seems to work especially well for the neck, shoulders, rhomboids. Once pa