|We’re now heading into the final week of our Down Stretch Find Your Flow® Program. We thought it might be helpful to re-cap on the program and the benefits we hope you’re feeling in your bodies. We are certainly seeing them in your movement!
As with every Find Your Flow® Program, we’ve enjoyed a full body workout. In the Down Stretch Program we included some aerobic exercise in the form of Jumping and Reformer Lunge Hops and Curtsies. As well as raising our heart rates, it was wonderful to see how much these fun movements raised our spirits. Over the course of the Program, we saw one or two grimaces turn into broad smiles as we learned to ‘flow’ through our jumps and hops!
The main intention of the Down Stretch Program was to improve our shoulder and hip mobility and stability, through lengthening and strengthening supporting muscle groups. The secondary intention was to lengthen and strengthen core muscle groups (muscles in our torso that support the spine and organs – and keep us upright).
To find our Down Stretch, we spent time strengthening our leg muscles, particularly our hamstrings (back of the thigh) and glutes. We warmed up with Jumping before working on our Lunges – a great way to work into leg muscles. Many of you told us that you’d felt muscle soreness the next day – which tends to happen if we use muscles that we’re not used to using in that way! But did you notice, over the course of the Program, how that ‘day after’ soreness diminished and disappeared as our muscles got used to working in that way?
The Down Stretch also requires us to find good range of movement in our shoulders. To help us find this range, we worked on freeing up and strengthening the shoulders and the arms. We warmed up with our Chest Lift (in later weeks, combining this with Jumping) and our Supine Arms work (in later weeks, combining this with core strengthening work). The work on Pulling Ropes and Extension on the Reformer Frame enabled us to combine work on shoulder mobility and stability, with lengthening the front of our bodies.
As well as working on hip and shoulder mobility and stability, in the Down Stretch program, we were also working on lengthening and strengthening core muscles. We worked hard on our Side Sit Up to find length and greater mobility in the sides of our body. This movement also helped us open our hips.
When we reached the Down Stretch movement, we put all of this work together. We were able to keep our hips open and find connection and length from our toes through to the crown of our head. For added challenge and benefit – and for fun! – once we found the movement, we added rotation through our ribs.
Some of you will have noticed that, with some movements, instead of setting a number of repetitions, we set a timer. We do this to enable you to work at your own pace, taking breaks as needed. Some days we may be focused on achieving maximum repetitions, while on other days, our bodies may be inviting us to hold a particular stretch and breathe into it, to ease out tensions and knots! We have been delighted to have your feedback on the use of timers – and would be thrilled to hear more of your views!
It has been rewarding and inspiring to hear how much stronger and confident you feel in each of the movements. You have been able to move from lighter to heavier springs – and sometimes vice versa – to increase the challenge. You have increased the number of repetitions, you have jumped/hopped higher and your balance and stability have improved (notice how you can now perform lunges/curtsies with no, or only fingertip, support).
We love watching you walk out of the Studio full of energy, looking taller, stronger and more confident in your body. It’s all testament to your hard work and willingness to try – thank you!
Next week, we’ll be revealing more about the new Grasshopper Program – it’s great fun – we can’t wait to share it with you!
If you’d like to experience the joy and challenge of our Find Your Flow® Programs – book your place below!