Before we dive into how to perform table rocks, let’s discuss a bit of background as to what is happening in your shoulders and hips when you sit with a rounded posture all day. As mentioned before, chronic sitting and inactivity tends to weaken your entire posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings, back, etc.) and tighten your entire anterior chain (hip flexors, quads, chest, etc.). When your shoulders are rounded forward for long periods of time, your body will ultimately adapt to that position by allowing certain muscles to get stiff and other muscles to go inactive. Same goes for your hips when seated: the back of the body shuts off, and the front of the body shortens.
A big problem then arises when people go into the gym after working at a desk all day and try to go overhead, lift tons of weight, or just generally move their bodies. Particularly, tight muscles in the shoulder girdle like the pecs and biceps will limit your range of motion when attempting to lift your arms above your head. This range of motion is crucial for Gymnastics Strength Training™ of course, but also for many other fitness pursuits: Olympic lifting, CrossFit, bodybuilding, yoga, and more. Looking at the lower body, weak glutes and tight hip flexors will mean lack of hip extension, something needed for just about everything from training in the gym to plain old walking.
A Solution: Table Rocks
So what if you could combat all of the aforementioned tendencies with just one movement? What if you could train your shoulder extension, improve your thoracic bridge, and just feel better after too much time spent being sedentary? This is where table rocks come into the picture. As demonstrated by Daniel Chan from Singapore GB Affiliate BodyTreeGST below, table rocks are one way to stretch your shoulders and hips while simultaneously strengthening the back line of your body.
From a seated position, reach your arms back behind you with a shoulder-width grip on the ground. Place your feet flat on the floor near your hips at about the same width as your hands, and from here be sure to sit up tall with your back nice and straight. Begin the movement by retracting your shoulder blades (“pinch” them together) and squeezing your glutes, then press both your hands and feet into the ground to initiate the lift. Strive to reach a top shape where your shoulders are extended to 90 degrees behind your torso, and your hips are open to a perfectly flat “table top” position. Pause briefly, then reverse the movement on the way. Keep your elbows straight, shoulders retracted, and glutes tight. Repeat for reps!
Sitting at a desk all day can wreak havoc on your shoulders and hips.
Specifically, your posterior chain gets weak while the front of your body gets tight.
Table Rocks will help stretch the chest and hips while simultaneously strengthening the glutes and upper back.