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Stretch of the Week: Cobra Pose

Cobra Pose

Cobra on the beach

We all know there’s more to training than just showing up for the daily WOD. CrossFit is a demanding sport that requires the perfect synergy between sleep, diet, rest and training.

Part of fine tuning our training quite often means working on our mobility and flexibility outside of the box.

As the 2013 Games season gets underway we thought it was the perfect time to give you at least one stretch a week that is effective and easily implemented into your CrossFit routine.

That said, today’s stretch of the week is named after a species of venomous snakes who can expand their neck to form wings. But don’t worry you won’t have to twist yourself inside out to the mimic the moves of a cobra.

What is it?

Known as the Cobra pose or Bhujangasana to the experienced yogi, this stretch is bound to bring relief to your overworked abs (or in my case, abs in the making). It is particularly useful for those who spend their days hunched over a computer for prolonged periods.

Cobra Pose

What are the benefits?

From the outside this powerful pose may look like a simple stretch, but it has many hidden benefits on the body.

-Lengthens the shoulders, chest, lungs and abdomen.

-Tones the buttocks (what a bonus!).

-Strengthens back muscles, namely the spine.

-Alleviates stress and fatigue.

-Stimulates the digestive organs.

How is it done?

1. To begin the pose lie flat on the floor with your belly facing down and place your hands directly underneath the shoulders. Ensure your thighs are parallel to each other and your elbows are tucked in close to your body.

2. Tense your legs, contract your thighs, and press the feet firmly into the floor.

Cobra Snake

3. As you take a full breath in, begin to straighten your arms and lift the chest. Let your body dictate a comfortable height for you and ensure your pelvis stays connected to the floor.

4. With a semi-relaxed buttocks press the tailbone down and squeeze the shoulder blades together. Like a cobra puff the side ribs forward without pushing the front of the ribs out, and lift up through the sternum.

5. Relax and hold the stretch upwards of 40 seconds to 2 minutes. Stay in cobra for however long your body requires, but be sure to maintain relaxed breathing.

6. When you’re ready to come out of the stretch, exhale and fold down towards the floor. Loosen and slacken those tense muscles that got you into the cobra position, namely the legs, feet and shoulders.

Things to note

It is important to maintain a comfortable position where you can feel the muscles contracting. Be careful not to strain the back or overachieve on height. A good way to find a suitable elevation in this stretch is to release the hands off the floor for a brief moment. This way you know the height you are achieving is through natural extension and not force.

Still confused?

Then we have two demo videos for you below.

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The Rx Review is an independent fitness website, reporting on the Sport of Fitness, functional fitness news, The CrossFit Games, health and diet related information, and also provides reviews on sports performance products.