Backpacker Magazine –
The Manual: Plan an Expedition
(Illustration by Supercorn)
1. Balancing table
Get on your hands and knees, keeping your spine in a neutral alignment, parallel to the floor.
Slowly and simultaneously stretch your right arm forward and your left leg back. Extend them as far as they will go while keeping your spine straight; the raised arm and leg should be level with your torso. Hold for 20 seconds, then return to all fours. Repeat with the other leg and arm. Do three, 20-second extensions on each side.
Warming up and toning the back, butt, and hip-flexor muscles, which work together to keep the spine aligned
Lie on your stomach with your arms in front of you.
Lift your legs, upper torso, and arms off the ground at the same time, arching your body upward. Hold this upward crescent for 30 seconds. Repeat three times.
Strengthening the spine’s stabilizer muscles, which prevents slumping forward and rounding your back
3. Shoulder fly
Fill two quart-size bottles with water, or grab dumbbells of a challenging but not form-hampering weight (e.g., two pounds). Lie on your belly with a large pillow under your chest to elevate your upper torso. Holding one weight in each hand, extend your arms out to either side, forming the letter T with your body. Keep your elbows slightly bent.
Bringing your shoulder blades together, lift straightened arms up as high as comfortable, then lower them slowly (five seconds). Do three sets of 15 reps.
Building the upper back, which pulls the shoulders back; this counters tightness created from leaning into pack straps and curling the shoulders
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