Using The Aerial Hammock for Shoulder & Thoracic Mobility

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Aerial Educate Series: Using The Aerial Hammock for Shoulder & Thoracic Mobility


By Lead Aerial Yoga Teacher Trainer, Renae Stevens

In the Aerial Educate Series, Renae explores how the aerial yoga hammock can improve both shoulder and thoracic mobility

Aerial exercises can target the shoulders and thoracic spine for reduced risk of injury and increased mobility

When we lack a balance in shoulder or thoracic mobility or stability, we are at risk of creating movement compensations that place strain on other muscle groups and structures. The sagittal balance of the spine is formed by four curves: the cervical lordosis, thoracic kyphosis, lumbar lordosis and the flexed sacral curve. Changes in the distribution of curvature can increase dynamic loads on segmental regions of the spine and influence our shoulder mobility.

Avoid thoracic kyphosis or rounded upper back

Normal Spine Vs Kyphosis

The most common presentation in Western populations is an increased thoracic kyphosis. This is also known as a rounded upper back, and is often related to ‘forward head and shoulder’ posture. This condition can cause more stress in the neck, lower back and also the shoulder. It is therefore, such an important area to address in any therapeutic care for the spine and upper limb.

The shoulder girdle can assist in mobilising the thoracic

The shoulder girdle can assist in mobilising the thoracic

The shoulder girdle can assist in mobilising the thoracic spine due to the positioning of the scapular on the ribcage where the functional Scapular-Thoracic joint is formed.

The shoulder joint (Glenohumeral joint) is the body’s most mobile ball and socket joint. In order to maximise function and prevent injury here, the joints and muscles of the whole shoulder girdle have to work in a way that provides adequate stability while also maintaining full mobility.

The aerial hammock can condition both mobility & stability in the shoulder & mobilisation of the thoracic spine

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Suspension apparatus like the aerial hammock can be used to effectively condition both mobility and stability in the shoulder and mobilisation of the thoracic spine. Using the hammock allows us to use gravity to our advantage and position the shoulders and trunk optimally to make exercises more effective for targeting these areas. Another added bonus is that every exercise in the hammock has some degree of perturbation. This means that while focusing on conditioning your shoulders, your core musculature is also constantly engaged which creates synergistic engagement of the whole body.

Here are some great exercises that focus on the shoulders and thoracic spine to try at home:

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Watch: Using the Hammock to Improve Shoulder Mobility


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Watch: Using the Hammock to Improve Thoracic Mobility


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About Renae Stevens & Aerial Yoga Teacher Training


Renae Stevens, founder of CreativeBodyFlow, has been a pioneer in bringing aerial yoga hammock education to Australia and New Zealand. Over the last 10 years Renae has had the opportunity to work with clients in the hammock in both clinical settings, fitness centres and yoga studios, and found there are outstandingly positive outcomes when the knowledge from mental health, physical rehabilitation and fitness are integrated.

Renae is lead Teacher Trainer of CreativeBodyFlow’s Aerial Yoga Teacher Training, with courses coming soon both virtually (live-streamed) and live at Bend + Fly.

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