Have you ever experienced any form of back or neck pain – mild or severe? I don’t know about you, but for me, I cannot count the number of times this has happened to me. Well I guess no one is left out.
I could not freely move that part of my body. I always needed to take a second thought when it was unavoidable to move that part. Those times it was pathetic. It’s part of our humanity, sadly.
As children, pain and aches like this is not a regular visitor, except if gotten through injury. But as old people, it is something one has to live with and find means to manage, due to weakness as one gets older.
The evolvement in recent times has made us more prone to developing body aches and defected posture. For example, many people spend many hours in the same posture while using their phones and computers. For office workers, they may have to spend the whole of the time organising files or transactions on the computer system.
In the case of bookworms, we spend hours on the chair, leaning our backs, trying to cover different texts. This also contributes to developing poor posture. The world is just filled up with activities that alters the natural posture of man.
For these and many other reasons, we need a system to contain the negative impact of these activities on the human health. This is because, if we don’t design this system quickly, the world may be oversaturated with people with too much of body pain: pain that could have been ameliorated but has developed into something else.
Also, we would have beautiful people walking the street with bad posture. Beautiful but in bad shape.
Fortunately, over many years, professionals have been able to develop good corrective measures to tackle this problem. One of it is the Wall Angels workout. This one is a gigantic treasure that can transform the physical form of anybody.
I am happy to present the Wall Angels to you. Excited? Now let me tell you something interesting…
What are Wall Angels?
Wall Angels are a special exercise recommended by health, wellness and fitness professionals, for correcting bad posture and relieving pain in the upper part of the body. It is executed in a squat posture, with the back against a wall and the arms moving up and down.
As easy as it may appear at first, for beginners, it is challenging. Many people give it a difficulty rating of Intermediate. I myself had to try it for more than three times before it became easier for me to do.
One thing about the Wall Angel is that you MUST adhere to the proper form or you’ll be wasting your precious time. So, it is important to pay attention to every details.
At present, there is no trace to the history of this powerful workout. We only know that people have been using it since X years ago and it works. It still works.
Professions that specialise in conditions connected with pain and posture – like Chiropractors, Physiotherapists and Osteopath – alongside other corrective measures, often guide their patients on the steps to do Wall Angels, for recovering as quickly as possible. You see – it’s powerful.
The name sounds funny in the ears, and so, one could easily conclude that it is an exercise exclusively for ladies. But don’t be deceived – it is not gender-based. Just ignore the name.
I too have been wondering who the heck named it “Wall Angels” and why. It is probably because of the nature of the exercise, how one is to cling to a wall in order to properly execute it. You will see this in a sec.
Wall Angels Muscles Worked
Some muscles targeted while performing Wall Angels are:
- Serratus Anterior (on the ribs, at the side of the chest)
- Trapezius (a paired muscle on the posterior of the neck and chest)
- Rotator Cuff (surrounding the shoulder)
- Lats (From the arms to the vertebral column)
- Glutes (Butt) – Made up of the Gluteus maximum, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus
- Calves (Back of the lower leg)
- Hamstrings (Back of the thigh)
- Quadriceps (Front of the thigh)
How to do the Wall Angels Exercise
Whatever you want to call it – Progression, form, Technique etc – here is the proper way to do the Wall Angel exercise:
- Place your feet about 6inches away from a wall and by shoulder-width apart.
- Put your back against the wall, then squat. Flatten your tummy in order to ensure that from your shoulders to butt you are against the wall. Raise your chin up a bit, your face should be slightly above the horizontal. It is important to tighten your core and maintain this posture throughout.
- Raise your arms to shoulder-height, your elbows making 90° – all against the wall. Your palms should be facing outward. If you can’t make your arms and hand touch the wall, it’s fine. But you would have to work towards that because that is the goal of the exercise – so, you’ll keep doing it till you get there. Note that this is the starting posture.
- Slowly raise your arms as high as you can above your head. Hold for a count of 3 seconds.
- Lower your arms, then repeat the movement.
You could do this for about 2-3 times everyday..
Benefits of Wall Angels
Wall Angels are not just a fanciful workout, it hosts tremendous benefits.
Corrects Bad Posture
Kyphosis is a common deviation from the normal form of man. And believe me – it is not what anybody wants to have. This condition is the resultant effect of assuming a wrong posture for a prolonged period of time.
Kyphosis is a condition in which there is a forward curving of the upper back. It is commonly known as Hunchback. People with Kyphosis usually have a rounded back.
There are a lot of people today living with Kyphosis (even though they aren’t happy about it). Yet experts have made us know that people with this condition can correct it by themselves without breaking a sweat. One of the practises for effectively correcting this bad state is by doing the Wall Angel.
Some other forms of bad postures you can thrash by doing Wall Angels, are the Forward Head Posture and the Swayback.
If you practise the exercise more frequently, you would not just get back in form but will also get used to the proper form.
“No pain, no gain.” is a popular quote we take to motivate ourselves. It’s true that man must face pain – but not in all situations. There are times when pain is not worth it.
There are two ways to fight pain: it is either you endure it or you kill it. It is only the strongest guys that will eventually survive.
In what part of your upper body are you experiencing pain? In your upper back? In your shoulders? In your neck? The Wall Angels could do you some good before taking the next step.
It is not the ultimate solution, but it can help make a notable difference. This is why some physiotherapists include Wall Angels as part of their patient’s physical therapy.
Certainly. As we do exercises, we decrease rigidity in our joints. The aftereffect, too, is an increase in the range of motion of such joints. Many times flexibility gained may be negligible but it is there.
Strengthens the Back
After doing its work of straightening the spine, the exercise also makes the back bone stronger and rigid.
After exploring some the things you would gain, it is important to let you know that the quality of the benefits you’ll reap depends on how often you do the Wall Angels exercise. So, try and do it everyday for maximum gains.
Do 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps.
Common Mistakes to avoid
Not resting your back in full
The most common mistake that almost everybody makes is, resting only the upper back against the wall. It is very easy to forget that from your shoulders straight to your butts, you should be in contact with the wall throughout the exercise.
Keeping the lower back in contact with the wall, is where the challenge lies – especially the lower part; it makes it more complicated. To keep the lower back against the wall, you would have to tighten your belly.
Not resting the back of the head on the wall
Always remember to rest the back of your head against the wall. Your face should be slightly above the horizontal and you should look straight forward.
In short, all the posterior parts of your body from the butt to the head, should be in contact with the wall – arms and hands inclusive.
Forcing the arms against the wall
This one is if you find it impossible to keep your hands against the wall. I found out that after glueing your posterior body to the wall, it is impossible for some people to put their arms this way, too. If you have this challenge, don’t worry; it is normal.
The reason why it is like this is because of this same poor posture. But you do not want to put pressure on your arms because of this. Take it slowly till you can rest all the parts of your body on the wall.
Don’t injure yourself!
Moving the arms too quickly
While moving the arms up and down, don’t rush them. Take them slowly. And when you get to the highest point you can go, wait for about 3 seconds before going down again. It will give your body enough time to stretch and adapt to the right posture.
Squatting is an important part of this exercise. It is wrong to stand upright. Squatting will make you rest your back firmly on the wall and make you feel less tensed.
In the place of the Wall Angels, here are 8 alternatively exercises you could try:
- Floor Angels – Really, there is no difference between the Wall and the Floor Angels. Here, you would have to lie on the floor instead of standing and resting your back on a wall. For many, Floor Angels are easier to execute than the counterpart.
- Snow Angels
- Cat Cow
- Good morning
- Prayer Stretch
- Shoulders and Feet Elevated Hip Thrust
If you are in search of that single exercise that can solve your posture and pain problems – why not try the Wall Angels now. It could be the only answer you need.