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Wide-Grip Pulldown Behind The Neck

  1. Sit down on a pull-down machine with a wide bar attached to the top pulley. Make sure that you adjust the knee pad of the machine to fit your height. These pads will prevent your body from being raised by the resistance attached to the bar.
  2. Grab the bar with the palms facing forward using the prescribed grip. Note on grips: For a wide grip, your hands need to be spaced out at a distance wider than your shoulder width. For a medium grip, your hands need to be spaced out at a distance equal to your shoulder width and for a close grip at a distance smaller than your shoulder width.
  3. As you have both arms extended in front of you holding the bar at the chosen grip width, bring your torso and head forward. Think of an imaginary line from the center of the bar down to the back of your neck. This is your starting position.
  4. As you breathe out, bring the bar down until it touches the back of your neck by drawing the shoulders and the upper arms down and back. Tip: Concentrate on squeezing the back muscles once you reach the full contracted position. The upper torso should remain stationary and only the arms should move. The forearms should do no other work except for holding the bar; therefore do not try to pull down the bar using the forearms.
  5. After a second on the contracted position squeezing your shoulder blades together, slowly raise the bar back to the starting position when your arms are fully extended and the lats are fully stretched. Inhale during this portion of the movement.
  6. Repeat this motion for the prescribed amount of repetitions.

Caution: Performing this exercise can be hard on the rotator cuffs and if not properly executed can cause an injury to occur. Also, if you already have rotator cuff issues, I advise you to stick to the front pull-down version.

Variations: You can also performing this exercise by bring the bar down and touching your chest. This variation is safer and not as hard on the rotator cuffs.

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Standing Dumbbell Calf Raise

  1. Stand with your torso upright holding two dumbbells in your hands by your sides. Place the ball of the foot on a sturdy and stable wooden board (that is around 2-3 inches tall) while your heels extend off and touch the floor. This will be your starting position.
  2. With the toes pointing either straight (to hit all parts equally), inwards (for emphasis on the outer head) or outwards (for emphasis on the inner head), raise the heels off the floor as you exhale by contracting the calves. Hold the top contraction for a second.
  3. As you inhale, go back to the starting position by slowly lowering the heels.
  4. Repeat for the recommended amount of times.

Note: As you become stronger you may need to use wrist wraps to avoid having the dumbbells slip out of your hands.

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Wrist Circles

  1. Start by standing straight with your feet being shoulder width apart from each other. Elevate your arms to the side of you until they are fully extended and parallel to the floor at a height that is evenly aligned with your shoulders. Tip: Your torso and arms should form the letter "T: Your palms should be facing down. This is the starting position.
  2. Keeping your entire body stationary except for the wrists, begin to rotate both wrists forward in a circular motion. Tip: Pretend that you are trying to draw circles by using your hands as the brush. Breathe normally as you perform this exercise.
  3. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

Variation: You can hold small weights to add resistance.

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Standing Gastrocnemius Calf Stretch

  1. Place your right heel on a step with your knee extended and lean forward to grab your right toe with your right hand. Your left knee should be slightly bent and your back should be straight.
  2. Support your weight on your left leg and place your left hand on your left thigh.
  3. Pull your right toes toward your knee until you feel a stretch in your calf.
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