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Alternate Forms Of Stretching: The Dog Screwing Dolphin!

No, the name of the exercise is not a joke. If you would like to see what I am talking about then you will just have to read through this article.

Now that I have your attention, the title of this article is not a joke.

I have been feeling tightness in my elbows from my recent work with rigorous hand balancing, two examples of which are the hand lever extension and side crow pictured below.

Rigorous Hand balancing

hand lever extension and side crow

Initial Thoughts

My initial intuition was that it was related to the Superficial Back Line and that it then jumped stations to/from the Deep Back Arm Line, activated when my arms were overhead (see Thomas Myers' Anatomy Trains). I suspected that the rotation would stimulate shoulder release due to the occipital fibers of the trap linking with the anterior deltoid.

Because the trap-deltoid line convergence passes down to the lateral humeral epicondyle, I thought that the "screwing" press up might provide the proximal mobility to release the distal tension of that chain.

My initial reason for exploring this Downward facing arm screw was to compensate for the sustained heavy wrist extension of my hand balancing and levering. Because the Deep Back Arm Line connects the wrist to the shoulder and occipital at the lateral epicondyle (common extensor tendon), I assumed that the rotary action would release the entire chain.

I can only 'get at' this chain of residual tension when I'm forward flexing at the hip as well as bending at the elbows. In other words, I felt this tension chain acutely during the downward dog variations in CST, such as the downward facing pelvic tilts, circles and infinities.

Sewing Poses

I wanted to get to the source of this deep as well as superficial tension chain, which appears to run under my feet, up my calves and hams, over my pelvis to my lower back, up my erectors, over my shoulders and around my elbows to my wrists, and even to the ends of my fingers (the Superficial Back Line and the Deep Front Arm Line).

When I finally did release it, it was like melting a glacier. It happened instantly once I found the correct movement, and it resulted in an incredibly visible release in my restricted range of motion.

To access this residual tension that wrapped my elbows and wrists, I sewed together the downward facing dog and the dolphin pose with the 'Screwing Press-up' (AKA "Screw-up") component from CST. I gave this the name:

Here's the downward facing dog, and next to it the dolphin

Here's the downward facing dog, and next to it the dolphin

The Screwing Press-up took the chain around my heels, lengthened it over my bent hip, lengthened it again around my bent elbows, and then added a rotary action which finally released the residual tension. It's a great new Body-FlowTMkinetic chain, one that will become a staple at releasing elbow tension!

Since the DBAL attaches at the traps' axial insertions on the occipital ridge, I'm also working on position-specific neck circles and infinities (in the Downward Facing Arm Screw demonstrated below) after working on the basic variation. I'll be using this frequently in the upcoming months as my cycles increase in intensity.

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