Body Awareness: Good Form Leads to Extraordinary Strength
The basics of strength training seem simple at first: you exercise hard, get sweaty, breathe heavy, and get stronger. But we all know it’s not that easy.
Body awareness is key to utilizing the right muscles to build the right strength to do the things we have fun doing. It's a science! And the better you understand good form, the greater results you will get from your training.
Whether your goal is to become stronger, more flexible, better looking, or to just live with fewer aches and pains, it’s important to understand how your body moves. The following fundamental body positions help you both in fitness and in gaining a higher level of body awareness.
Core Strength: Hollow Body And Arch Body
Fundamentally speaking, all forms of movement are done with either a hollowed or an arched spine. From crawling to walking or running — and every activity in between — your spine was designed to flex and extend.
The hollow body position emphasizes your abdominal muscles. Primarily the transverse abdominis muscle group. Your deepest layer of protection for your spine against all opposing force — including gravity.
The arch body position, on the other hand, specifically targets your posterior chain, which includes your spinal erectors, glutes, and hamstrings.
Take these hollow to arch rolls out for a spin and see how strong your core is.
How To Build Body Awareness for Hollows and Arches
From a lying position, press your lower back to the floor as you lift your shoulders and legs off the ground. From this hollow body position, begin to roll sideways until you are face down in an arch body hold.
Continue rolling in the same direction until you are back in your hollow body, then repeat in the opposite direction. Aim for a smooth roll in both directions.
The GB Foundation Courses will develop your strength and mobility so you can do these with ease.
- When in hollow your shoulders and legs never touch the floor
- In arch body hold, keep your chest and thighs off the floor
Shoulder Flexion And Shoulder Extension
Haven’t you ever thought of how cool it would be to hold a freestanding handstand one day? If so, then it’s important to know what shoulder flexion and shoulder extension are.
Even if you don’t care to learn how to handstand, you must understand the difference between flexion and extension in order to understand your body correctly.
At the most basic level, flexion occurs when you move a joint or limb in front of your body. An example of flexion would be when you bend your elbow forward to do a bicep curl. Or flexing your hip up to take a step up the stairs.
The opposite of flexion would be extension, which involves extending a limb or joint behind you. Get this! Many adult activities involve flexing your spine, arms, and hips forward (sitting in the office as you type on your computer). But many of us don’t balance out all this flexion with extension.
Let’s see how good your extension is! Try these table rocks out and see how far you can extend your shoulder and hips.
How to Build Body Awareness for Tables:
Start in a seated position on the floor. Pace your hands on the ground behind you. Then bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor in front of you.
From this starting position, squeeze your shoulder blades together to elevate your chest to the ceiling, squeezing your glutes on the way up. At the top position, your torso should run parallel to the floor beneath you, with your arms and legs stacked vertically like a table.
A great physique isn’t built by accident! Your success depends on how well you understand your body. Learn all about arch/hollow, flexion/extension and much more with GymnasticBodies Fundamentals — packed with dozens of exercises that’ll help you get to know your body and create your best possible body.