Side bridges are an isometric multi-hitter, and a great addition to your regular mat routine. 

What muscle groups don’t these help?! Side bridges strengthen your core, work your arms, and help with shoulder stabilization.

Denise showing a full side bridge pose

If you find the full bridge a bit too intense, start with this modification and work up to it.

Denise showing a modified side plank for beginners

Hold either one for 10 seconds or more, making sure to breathe evenly. 

Massage is a physical profession, and RMTs need to stay active to be at the top of their game. A good therapist will also be well-versed in exercises that will benefit their clients. Vicars students recieve training in remedial exercise, and our “remex” sessions incorporate exercises and stretches from many sports and athletic traditions. Practice along with us!

Each exercise is demonstrated by Denise Currie. In addition to being an RMT (and our Director!), Denise is a personal fitness trainer and highly regarded yoga practitioner who regularly trains other teachers. 

Though official Shoulder Week is over, we’re not moving too far away from it yet. Today’s exercise works your rhomboids, levator scapulae, and the middle fibres of your trapezius.

Sit on the floor with your legs extended, and loop the middle of the dynaband around your feet. Cross the band, and hold on to the ends with palms facing down and elbows out.

Denise demonstrating a Scapular Retraction

Retract the scapulae as you pull back, stretching the band.

Denise demonstrating the second step of a Scapular Retraction, pulling back on the band

This exercise helps strengthen your upper back and help maintain good posture and shoulder function.

Massage is a physical profession, and RMTs need to stay active to be at the top of their game. A good therapist will also be well-versed in exercises that will benefit their clients. Vicars students recieve training in remedial exercise, and our “remex” sessions incorporate exercises and stretches from many sports and athletic traditions. Practice along with us!

Each exercise is demonstrated by Denise Currie. In addition to being an RMT (and our Director!), Denise is a personal fitness trainer and highly regarded yoga practitioner who regularly trains other teachers. 

Happy Halloween! We have a very spoooooky stretch today for the horizontal adductors in your shoulders…

Stand in the doorframe of a haunted cabin (in the woods if possible) with your arm abducted to 90° and your elbow slightly flexed. Keeping your spine extended, rotate your body away from the outstretched arm. Watch out for zombies.

 

Denise demonstrating Shoulder Range of Motion technique, with a pumpkin mask on her face!

Remember to breathe deeply during this stretch, but be careful to not inhale too many ghosts.

Massage is a physical profession, and RMTs need to stay active to be at the top of their game. A good therapist will also be well-versed in exercises that will benefit their clients. Vicars students recieve training in remedial exercise, and our “remex” sessions incorporate exercises and stretches from many sports and athletic traditions. Practice along with us!

Each exercise is demonstrated by Denise Currie. In addition to being an RMT (and our Director!), Denise is a personal fitness trainer and highly regarded yoga practitioner who regularly trains other teachers. 

This posterior shoulder stretch is one of my personal favourites. It’s easy to fit into your day—I’ll often do it along with a few neck rolls (or lateral flexor and rotator stretches) when I’m sitting at my desk or waiting for the kettle to boil for a cup of afternoon tea. It helps to “wake up” my body after I’ve been sitting and typing for long periods. 

 

Holding your back comfortably upright, adduct one arm along the transverse plane (parallel to the floor to us non-RMTs!) at shoulder height. With the opposite hand, apply pressure at the elbow.

Denise demonstrating a shoulder range of motion technique.

Breathe deeply while you hold this one, and repeat with the other arm. Then enjoy your tea 😉

Massage is a physical profession, and RMTs need to stay active to be at the top of their game. A good therapist will also be well-versed in exercises that will benefit their clients. Vicars students recieve training in remedial exercise, and our “remex” sessions incorporate exercises and stretches from many sports and athletic traditions. Practice along with us!

Each exercise is demonstrated by Denise Currie. In addition to being an RMT (and our Director!), Denise is a personal fitness trainer and highly regarded yoga practitioner who regularly trains other teachers. 

Well, we’re halfway through Shoulder Week (the phenomenon undoubtedly sweeping the nation), so I figure that this is probably a good time to talk about good stretch technique.

When you stretch a muscle, mechanoreceptors called muscle spindles within the tissue will try to inhibit the stretch by contracting the muscle fibres. The more sudden the movement, the stronger this reaction (it’s a protection mechanism). The muscle spindles are less sensitive when the muscle lengthening happens slowly and evenly.

In addition to keeping your stretches slow and steady, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Use diaphragmatic breathing throughout the stretch
  • Position the body/limb along the direction of the muscle fibres
  • Think about the actions of the muscle you want to stretch; the opposite actions will stretch it
  • Ease into the stretch to the “bite point,” and hold it until the sensation lessons

Now, on to today’s stretch, the reverse prayer. Try to get the palms of your hands to touch as Denise is doing here. I’m not there yet, personally, but I’m working on it!

Denise demonstrating the "reverse prayer" shoulder range of motion technique

Hold for several seconds, breathing deeply.

Massage is a physical profession, and RMTs need to stay active to be at the top of their game. A good therapist will also be well-versed in exercises that will benefit their clients. Vicars students recieve training in remedial exercise, and our “remex” sessions incorporate exercises and stretches from many sports and athletic traditions. Practice along with us!

Each exercise is demonstrated by Denise Currie. In addition to being an RMT (and our Director!), Denise is a personal fitness trainer and highly regarded yoga practitioner who regularly trains other teachers.

How are your shoulders feeling after yesterday? Great, I hope! For our second installment of Shoulder Week 2014 (we’re going to make it a thing, just you watch), we have a stretch for your shoulder and elbow flexors.

Standing or sitting upright, pull your shoulders back and lace your fingers behind your back. Extend the shoulder and elbow (bringing your hands away from your body), until you feel a stretch over the anterior shoulder and elbow.

Denise demonstrating a shoulder range of motion technique, arms straight, hands clasped behind her back. This is the view from behind.  Denise demonstrating a shoulder range of motion technique, arms straight, hands clasped behind her back. This is the view from the side.

Hold for several seconds, breathing deeply.

Enjoy!

Massage is a physical profession, and RMTs need to stay active to be at the top of their game. A good therapist will also be well-versed in exercises that will benefit their clients. Vicars students recieve training in remedial exercise, and our “remex” sessions incorporate exercises and stretches from many sports and athletic traditions. Practice along with us!

Each exercise is demonstrated by Denise Currie. In addition to being an RMT (and our Director!), Denise is a personal fitness trainer and highly regarded yoga practitioner who regularly trains other teachers.

Who’s up for a theme week?!

[Pause for wild cheers]

Massage therapists work their whole bodies, but shoulder health is particularly important for this profession. So we decided to devote this entire week on the blog to stretches that will help you maintain or increase the range of motion in your shoulders.

This first stretch is a classic, but it can be challenging. Standing tall, try to meet your fingers behind your back—the closer you can get your hands, the more stretch you’ll feel. Try to keep your upper arms as close to your body as you can, so your forearms make a nearly vertical line. Hold for 10 seconds or more, then repeat on the other side.

Denise demonstrating a shoulder range of motion technique. Her hands are clasped behind her back; one arm reaching over her left shoulder, one reaching up from her waist on the right-hand side.

It’s not uncommon to have your available range vary from shoulder to shoulder, so don’t worry if your fingers don’t meet on one or both sides. If that’s the case, try this variation:

Denise demonstrating a modified shoulder range of motion technique. Her hands are behind her back; one arm reaching over her right shoulder, one reaching up from her left side waist. She is holding a band between her two hands instead of clasping her hands.

Denise has just folded up a dynaband to create a little “extender” between her two hands. As you continue to do this stretch, your range of motion will likely improve and you can get your hands closer together or even abandon the dynaband altogether!

Massage is a physical profession, and RMTs need to stay active to be at the top of their game. A good therapist will also be well-versed in exercises that will benefit their clients. Vicars students recieve training in remedial exercise, and our “remex” sessions incorporate exercises and stretches from many sports and athletic traditions. Practice along with us!

Each exercise is demonstrated by Denise Currie. In addition to being an RMT (and our Director!), Denise is a personal fitness trainer and highly regarded yoga practitioner who regularly trains other teachers.

Like yesterday’s child’s poses, today’s exercise is a yoga pose. Cobra is part of the famous Sun Salutation sequence, but even practiced on its own it’s a very valuable postural exercise.

Lying prone, point your toes and press the top of your feet against the floor. Place your hands at chest level with your fingers pointing forward, keeping your elbows flexed and tucked in close to your sides and your neck in a neutral position. Press your pubic bone into the mat, draw your belly in, shrug your shoulders, and retract your scapulae. Lift your chest off the mat, using your hands as little as possible.

Denise demonstrating the Cobra pose.

You can either hold this position for several breaths, or repeat the exercise several times by inhaling as you rise up and exhaling as you go down. Cobra  will help strengthen the extensors in your upper back and your scapular depressors.

Massage is a physical profession, and RMTs need to stay active to be at the top of their game. A good therapist will also be well-versed in exercises that will benefit their clients. Vicars students recieve training in remedial exercise, and our “remex” sessions incorporate exercises and stretches from many sports and athletic traditions. Practice along with us!

Each exercise is demonstrated by Denise Currie. In addition to being an RMT (and our Director!), Denise is a personal fitness trainer and highly regarded yoga practitioner who regularly trains other teachers.

Today’s stretches are borrowed from yoga, but they’re a great addition to any routine. We refer to them as Child’s Pose #1 and #2, and both will create a gentle stretch in your lower back and shoulder extenders.

For child’s pose #1, kneel on a comfortable surface with your feet pointed. Hinge forward at the hip, and lie prone with your arms stretched out in front of you. Close your eyes and take several deep breaths.

Denise demonstrating the Child's pose, number 1.

From this position, crawl your hands over to one side, placing the “outside” hand over the other. This is Child’s Pose #2, and it has the added benefit of stretching the muscles of your side.

Denise demonstrating the Child's Pose, number 2.

Both of these poses are very comfortable resting positions. Try incorporating them into your regular mat exercises, or just anytime you need a little mental break!

Massage is a physical profession, and RMTs need to stay active to be at the top of their game. A good therapist will also be well-versed in exercises that will benefit their clients. Vicars students recieve training in remedial exercise, and our “remex” sessions incorporate exercises and stretches from many sports and athletic traditions. Practice along with us!

Each exercise is demonstrated by Denise Currie. In addition to being an RMT (and our Director!), Denise is a personal fitness trainer and highly regarded yoga practitioner who regularly trains other teachers.

A woman demonstrating an external shoulder rotation

As I promised yesterday, here’s another great shoulder exercise for RMTs (and others, of course) that uses the dynaband for resistance. Today, it’s an external rotation exercise.

Grab the dynaband with both hands. With your wrists facing up, flex your elbows to 90° and hold your arms close to your body, like this:

shoulder_external_rotation_1-1

Then externally rotate:

Denise demonstrating Resisted Shoulder External Rotation, second picture.

Here’s another view, where you can see the shoulder and upper back muscles that this exercise engages—the posterior deltoid, infraspinatus, and teres minor:

Denise demonstrating Resisted Shoulder External Rotation, third picture.

Hold this position for at least 5-10 seconds, and do 15+ reps, or until fatigue. We recommend doing this one 3x/week, paired with the horizontal abduction from yesterday.

Massage is a physical profession, and RMTs need to stay active to be at the top of their game. A good therapist will also be well-versed in exercises that will benefit their clients. Vicars students recieve training in remedial exercise, and our “remex” sessions incorporate exercises and stretches from many sports and athletic traditions. Practice along with us!

Each exercise is demonstrated by Denise Currie. In addition to being an RMT (and our Director!), Denise is a personal fitness trainer and highly regarded yoga practitioner who regularly trains other teachers.