|We’re heading into Week 4 of our Grasshopper Program, so we thought we’d take a look at the Grasshopper movement itself.
It’s one of those great full body movements that requires us to find connections in our body from our toes to the crown of our head. One of the early challenges has been to find a good position on the box – too far back and it’s just uncomfortable; too far forward and it’s a bit scary! We really have to find that perfect pivot point – a bit like the balance point of a seesaw.
Once we’ve found the pivot point, we need to find a strong connection through our legs and core muscles to help us avoid working into our lower back. We practised using our upper bodies only in the early stages of the program, but by now, most of us will be working into the Grasshopper using our legs too.
The downward movement starts by lengthening and lifting the legs, causing the upper body to ‘dive’ forward, bending the elbows. The energy and recoil in our shoulders and arms will help propel us into the return journey. Starting at the back of the skull, we’ll bring the upper body into extension, while the legs lower, but stay connected. You really will feel that connection from head to toes – it’s a super stretch! Once we find our flow, the momentum and elasticity throughout our body will help us ‘swing’ back and forward, rather like a see-saw.
By now, some of us will also be bending our knees once the legs are lifted. To get the full benefit, think of the knee bending motion starting through the front of the thigh, rather than the knee, to enjoy a great thigh stretch and glute (the bum muscle) activation!
While we’re enjoying the extension through the front of our body, we’re also working to strengthen and mobilise our shoulder girdle.
The Grasshopper can be a challenging movement, which is why we build up to it gradually, over the course of the six-week program. You’ll have noticed that all of the other movements in this program help you build up to the Grasshopper: opening the hips and strengthening leg muscles, mobilising the shoulder girdle, finding chest expansion and strengthening core muscles.
These are all important exercises to help us move our bodies more efficiently, rather than over-using some muscle groups (particularly in the lower back). This will help prevent injury, by supporting joints and improving our balance. As many of the movements are weight bearing, this will contribute to our bone health and good posture.
We’ve also introduced the Grasshopper to the program because it’s fun and brings a smile to everyone’s face! Smiling is good for us as it helps relax jaw muscles. Smiling also causes the brain to release dopamine, serotonin and endorphins into the body – one of the many reasons why we want all of our classes to be fun!
If you want to have some fun with the Grasshopper program, it’s not too late to join us. Reserve your place below!