Top 5 Movement Drills for Hyper-mobility and "Bendy Bodies"Dec 30, 2023
Do you identify as “bendy but breakable”? Do you sometimes feel “lost” in your own body? Constantly tired? GI upset, dizzy when standing, constant “tightness” despite being super flexible? You're not alone.
A diagnosis of Hypermobility Syndrome, Ehler's-Danlos Syndrome, Postural Tachycardia Syndrom (PoTS) and others can create a sense of fear around exercise, strength work and feeling fit. But bendy bodies are unique (and special!) and just require different care.
We'll start with a quick overview of how to understand and feel more at home in your beautiful body, then start you off with our Top Five Feel Good Bendy Body Movement Drills.
Understanding your experience...
We get a lot of information about how to move and respond to stimulus from:
- our eyes (horizon and distance)
- our skin (pressure, touch, temperature)
- our insides (blood pressure, heart rate, etc)
- our joints (where we are in space, gravitational forces, appropriate muscle tone)
ALL that information goes into your brain and creates a reaction + decision about things like: Is it safe? How much effort / tension do I need?
We often hear that - with 'bendy' populations - it's hard to “feel” a muscle working or know which direction to move.
With bendy bodies, felt sense doesn’t always match up with the physics and gravity, creating too much or too little tension.
Because super bendy population experiences gravity a little differently than others, we start with TOUCH and pressure to create a better perception of where your bendy body is in space.
- Always talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise program.
- Pain and injury are different, and staying calm + doing some gentle movement is often a way to remind your body that it's safe.
- Never move into pain, and be sure you can breathe well throughout your movements.
Top Five Drills for Hypermobile (Bendy) Bodies!
1. Touch. Touch. Touch.
- Touch the “muscle” you are trying to activate or use. Rub. Press. Poke. Touch the middle and the ends of the muscle.
- Try this! Use pressure, and hold on to your wrist, tightening your grip. Feel a stability from that compression? Where else could you try that?? (Ankles, knees and elbows are often great places to start.
2. Towel Grabs
- Stand for a moment and notice if you feel grounded? floaty?
- Set a tea towel on the floor and pick it up with your entire foot! (Not just those bendy toes) Try to get your arches in on it!
- Drop it and try again. Activate as much of your foot as you can. Try 3-8 of these, and notice again : more grounded??
3. Blocked Inhalations
- Internal awareness and stability is vital to that 'coming home' feeling. This drill is simple and quick and gets the diaphragm to move!
- Exhale, pinch your nose and hold your mouth shut and “breathe in” without actually taking air in. Release your pinched nose and take a gentle breath in through the nose.
- Try 2-3 of these and notice how it changes your sense of awareness or groundedness.
4. Rolling like a Ball with a Gaze Fixation
- This is a great way to develop a better relationship with gravity and help your neck and pelvis feel stable!
- Sit down on a soft mat and grab hold of your legs underneath your knee pits. Slightly drop your chin toward your throat.
- Look straight ahead and find something interesting to look at. You could easily put a sticker on a wall in front of you, as long as it is something specific you can spot.
- Roll slowly to your back and find a fixed point on the ceiling.
- Roll back up and find your original fixed point in front of you
5. Tongue Around the Worlds
- Your tongue is a BIG DEAL when it comes to your inner world. It helps with pelvic stability, neck range of motion and posture and breathing.
- Placing your tongue between your teeth and cheek, run your tongue from the all the way along your teeth to the very back of your molars, bottom and top in a big circle. Kinda like you're making sure there's nothing stuck in your teeth.
- Do 1-3 circles in each direction. These can be tiring!
Try these five drills 2-3 times each day and notice:
- How grounded do you feel?
- Does your neck and shoulder tension drop a little?
- Does your breathing become more easeful
Know that your body - your beautiful, bendy, miracle of a body - is capable of safe, strong movement. We can't wait to see it happen.
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