Steve Maxwell Articles

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The Maxwell Daily Dozen

The Maxwell Daily Dozen

By Steve Maxwell

Mobility Exercises for Health & Well-Being

1.  Hula Hoop Hip Circles

  1. Feet hip-width ie, feet, knees and hips in alignment
  2. Body erect, circle the hips in a large movement without bending the knees, moving the upper torso or head
  3. Go both directions

Hula Hoop Hip Circles

2.  Pelvic Tilts and Rolls

  1. Feet hip-width; knees soft and unlocked
  2. Rock the pelvis forward and back
  3. Then side-to-side by slightly bending one leg and straightening the other--it helps to keep the hands on the hips
  4. Now, roll the hips by combining front, side and back tilts
  5. Imagine "drawing" a circle with the tail bone between the hips
  6. Go both directions

Pelvic Tilts 1Pelvic Tilts 2Pelvic Tilts 3Pelvic Tilts 4Pelvic Tilts 5

3.  Front-and-Back Bending

  1. Feet hip-width
  2. Exhale while bending forward as far as possible, keeping the legs straight
  3. Inhale while straightening back up, stacking each vertebra, neck and head last
  4. Move into an upper-back bend, lengthening in the lower spine and keeping the knees straight

Front-and-Back Bends 1Front-and-Back Bends 2

4.  Lateral Bending

  1. Feet hip-width
  2. Sliding the fingers of one hand down the leg as far as possible without twisting
  3. Imagine the spine elongating as you wrap around the side of a barrel
  4. Both sides

Lateral Bend 1Lateral Bend 2

5.  Qi Gong Waist-twister

  1. Feet hip-width
  2. Lengthen and straighten the spine and exhale, turning sharply to the left
  3. Allow the arms to whip around, the back of the wrist striking the opposite kidney and the other arm striking the opposite shoulder
  4. Allow the arms to hang loosely, effecting the swing by the centrifugal movements of the torso
  5. Exhaling sharply with each twist to twist as much as possible

Qi Gong Waist Twister 1Qi Gong Waist Twister 2

6.  Spinal Wave

  1. Starting with the head and neck, slowly roll the spine forward and down, one vertebra at a time
  2. Reaching for the toes with the finger tips
  3. Pausing for a moment, flex the knees and roll back up, neck and head last

Spinal Wave 1Spinal Wave 2 Spinal Wave 3 Spinal Wave 4 Spinal Wave 5

7.  Shoulder Shrugs

  1. Shrug up the shoulders and slowly roll back
  2. Arms hanging loose at the sides
  3. Drop shoulders and slowly roll forward
  4. Reverse directions

Shoulder Shrugs 1Shoulder Shrugs 2Shoulder Shrugs 3Shoulder Shrugs 4Shoulder Shrugs 5

8.  Arm Circles

  1. With straight arms, make maximal backwards circles (like swimming double back-stroke)
  2. Reverse, circling maximally forward (dolphin stroke)

Arm Circles 1Arm Circles 2

9.  Relaxed Neck Circles

  1. Chin lowered, let the head hang and circle through the full range of motion, using gravity, not muscular effort, to create the stretch
  2. Move very slowly
  3. Reverse direction

Relaxed Neck Circles 1Relaxed Neck Circles 2Relaxed Neck Circles 3Relaxed Neck Circles 4

10.  Slow, Flat-foot Squats

  1. Squat down slowly while exhaling, holding the arms forward for balance
  2. Keeping the heels flat, feet parallel and kneecaps aligned over the second toes
  3. Exhaling while lowering the buttocks as close to the ground as possible
  4. Inhaling while rising back up to the starting position

Slow, Flat-foot Squats 1Slow, Flat-foot Squats 2

11. Bear Squats/Boot-strappers

  1. Squatting down on the toes, palms flat on the ground and knees inside the elbows
  2. While keeping the weight on the palms,  maximally straighten both legs
  3. Inhaling while squatting; exhaling while straightening the legs and folding the body in two

Bear Squats 1Bear Squats 2

12.   Pumps

  1. Starting in the "downward-facing dog" position, hands shoulder-width and feet hip-width
  2. Find the floor with the heels and straighten the legs
  3. Pushing back with the palms, arms strong and shoulders relaxed
  4. Lowering the pelvis towards the floor while keeping the arms straight
  5. Looking forward
  6. The only points of contact are hands and feet on the ground

Pumps 1Pumps 2Pumps 3

Baker’s Dozen—If You Have the Time

13.  Cossack Stretch

  1. Feet wide and angled 45-degrees outward
  2. Squat to the left while keeping the right leg locked, keep the palms down flat and fingers forward
  3. Maximally lower the pelvis while keeping the heels on the floor
  4. Use the the elbow to press the bent knee back in alignment over the second toe

Cossack Stretch 1Cossack Stretch 2

14.  Table-maker

  1. Sit on the floor with the torso upright
  2. Feet hip width, legs extended
  3. Palms flat on the floor alongside the hips, fingers pointing toward the feet
  4. Keeping the legs straight, raise the butt off the floor
  5. Now, bending the legs and lifting the hips as high as possible
  6. Pelvis in line with the chest; head in line with shoulders or look back if the neck is ok
  7. Exhaling, swing the hips down and between the hands
  8. Repeat without letting the hips touch the floor

Table-maker 1Table-maker 2