June Flexibility Challenge – Week 4: Chest, Back, + Core

12 Minute Athlete Flexibility Challenge Week 1: Chest, back + core

It’s the last week of the 12 Minute Athlete June Flexibility Challenge!

For our final week, we’re focusing on some often-forgotten areas to stretch: the chest, back, and core.

You’ve probably heard of these muscle groups being paired up in strengthening workouts…

…but stretching?

Most of us don’t dedicate these kinds of  stretches into our regular fitness routine.

But we should! Because the chest, back, and core are all MUSCLES.

That means that when we strengthen them, we shorten them. And it’s important to lengthen them back out if we want to keep using them to their full capacity.

So let’s give these muscle groups some TLC with the following exercises; do this routine at least three times per week in addition to your regular workouts to build a more flexible chest, back, and core.

It’s the last week – let’s see those progress posts! Use the tags @12minuteathlete and #12MAflexibility on our Facebook Group and Instagram for a chance to win my favorite foam roller and a signed copy of the 12 Minute Athlete book!

Looking for the full Flexibility Challenge calendar? Go here.

Flexibility Challenge Week 4 Exercises

Aim to complete three to five times a week. Hold each stretch for 45-60 seconds, and complete two to three rounds.

  • Elevated bridge
  • Iron cross chest stretch
  • Cobra stretch
  • Prone chest stretch
  • Upward plank

Here’s how to do the exercises:

Elevated Bridge

12 Minute Athlete Flexibility Challenge Week 1: Chest, back + core

Beginner version:

  • Start seated a foot or two in front of a bench or step, with the soles of your feet on the ground and your knees pointed up.
  • Lean your weight back and press your palms into the top edge of the bench or step.
  • As you press into your palms, firmly press into the soles of your feet and lift your hips off the ground. Engage your core by scooping your belly and lower abdominals up and in. Continue to press into your palms and feet and hold for 45-60 seconds.
  • Bend into your elbows and knees, tuck your chin into your chest, and lower your hips down to the floor.

Intermediate version: 

  • Begin with your back on the ground and your feet on the floor, knees pointed up.
  • Place your palms on the floor in line with your temples, elbows pointed up.
  • As you press into your palms, firmly press into the soles of your feet and lift your hips off the ground. Engage your core by scooping your belly and low abdominals up and in. Continue to press into your palms and feet and hold for 45-60 seconds.
  • Bend into your elbows and knees, tuck your chin into your chest, and lower your hips down to the floor.

Advanced version: 

  • Begin with your back on the ground and your feet resting on the edge of a bench or step.
  • Place your palms on the floor in line with your temples, elbows pointed up.
  • As you press into your palms, firmly press into the soles of your feet and lift your hips off the ground. Engage your core by scooping your belly and low abdominals up and in. Continue to press into your palms and feet and hold for 45-60 seconds.

Iron Cross Chest Stretch

12 Minute Athlete Flexibility Challenge Week 1: Chest, back + core

  • Lie on your back with your legs straight in front of you and your arms in a “T” position.
  • Bring one leg straight into the air then bring across your body so it rests on the ground as you keep your arm on the ground.

Cobra Stretch

12 Minute Athlete Flexibility Challenge Week 1: Chest, back + core

Beginner version: 

  • Lie on your belly with your forearms and palms pressed into the floor in front of you.
  • Press into forearms and palms and gently pull your chest forward, as if you could drag it forward along the ground.
  • Keep pulling the shoulders down away from the ears and breathe.
  • Hold for 45-60 seconds, then release the press of your forearms and palms. Rest and repeat.

Advanced version: 

  • Lie on your belly with your palms pressed into the floor on either side of your chest.
  • Point your elbows towards the ceiling and pull your shoulder blades together.
  • Press into your palms to peel your chest forward and up. Keep pulling the shoulders down away from the ears.

Prone Chest Stretch

12 Minute Athlete Flexibility Challenge Week 1: Chest, back + core

  • Lie on your belly with your arms outstretched in a “T” position.
  • Slide your right hand up and to the right, so that your hand comes to rest in line with your right ear.
  • Bend your left elbow up towards the ceiling and press your left palm into the floor.
  • As you press through your left palm, begin to gently roll onto your right side. Rest your left foot in front of or behind your right foot.
  • Hold for 45-60 seconds, then roll back onto your belly. Rest and switch sides.

Upward plank

12 Minute Athlete Flexibility Challenge Week 1: Chest, back + core

Beginner version: 

  • Sit on the floor with your feet firmly planted on the floor and your palms resting on the floor behind you.
  • Press into your palms and pull your shoulders down away from your ears.
  • Press into your feet and gently lift the hips up off the floor, aiming to bring the hips as high as the shoulders and knees.
  • Hold for 45-60 seconds, then release the hips down to the floor and rest.

Advanced version:

  • Sit on the floor with your legs outstretched in front of you and your palms resting on the floor behind you.
  • Press into your palms and pull your shoulders down away from your ears.
  • Engage your core and press into your heels to gently lift the hips up off the floor. Aim to create one long line from the shoulders down to the feet.
  • Hold for 45-60 seconds, then release the hips down to the floor and rest.

Leave a Comment