Did you ever make Snow Angels when you were a kid? If you did, you probably laid in the snow and wave your arms and legs to make wings. It was a fun way to see a visible record of moving one’s arms and legs. When we examine our own mobility now, a common area for improvement is in the shoulders. Shoulder mobility is critical for blocks, parries, and strikes. We have a lot of stretches and exercises for the shoulders, including the ones done in the Manley-Davis warmups that we do at the beginning of each class. Another one for you to try on your own is a variation of this simple “snow-angel” movement. For this exercise, you can do a “standing” snow-angle by leaning against a wall, arms by your side. You might find that it’s better to have your feet be several inches away. Slowly lift your arms, keeping them straight and keeping your hands in contact with the wall.
At some point, you’ll find either your hands leave the wall or that your elbows start bending wildly to keep the hands touching. That’s your “edge”, and the place you’ll want to linger to slowly extend your range.
For me, my “edge” happened when the hands were at about 11:00 and 1:00, if you can imagine me in front of a giant clock. So that’s my “edge” – where is yours?