Foundation Training Gorilla Lift

Part of maintaining a strong pain free back is working on keeping your hips and shoulder moving well. Tight shoulders and hips contribute to compensation at your spine. This Foundation Training exercise, called the Gorilla Lift, emphasizes a strong squat position (hip mobility) and shoulder external rotation and shoulder girdle depression (shoulder mobility).

  1. Stand with feet a little wider than hip width apart. Line up the inside of the feet so they are straight.  Now, pull the toes toward your heels to start anchoring the lower body.  Add a bit of external rotation at the hips, think of turning your thigh bones out a bit.
  2. Decompress the spine with decompression breathing.  Chin up, chest up chin back. Take a big breath up, hold the height as you draw the belly button in.  Do this 2-3 times before you start your squat.
  3. Draw the hips back into a squat.  It is important to keep the weight back in your heels while you maintain the anchor with your feet and thighs.
  4. Your back and neck stay long and straight.  Keep decompression breathing!
  5. Now, palm up, lift arm up and alternate your lifts right and left. Keep back and neck long and straight and keep your weight back in your hips and heels.
  6. If you can not reach the floor, use a prop such as yoga blocks or a bench or chair.