Before you hit the gym for your next studio class, follow our series with pilates instructor, studio owner, and stretch specialist Erika Bloom. She's breaking down the moves that'll help your body recover after a workout—and keep you in prime condition for your next sweat sesh.
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Okay, so maybe you haven't quite gotten to the level of Jake Gyllenhaal's Southpaw physique, but with shadowboxing classes popping up at gyms and boutique studios accross the country, there's a good chance you've thrown a punch or two. "Boxing is dominated by forward movements of the arms, so to keep a balanced and healthy physique, you should counter it with working the back of your shoulder girdle and open up your front," says Bloom. Here, the stretches that'll help you master the recovery.

Chest Stretch

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Stand facing a wall, arms-length away. Place your palm flat on the wall at shoulder height with your fingers facing sideways away from your midline. Slowly turn away from the arm and step forward and away to open the chest and shoulder. Breathe deeply as you maintain the stretch. Repeat on the opposite side.

Rotator Cuff Stretch

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Lie on your left side with your knees bent and your head supported and in line with your spine. Bring your right arm to rest on your side. Bend your right elbow to 90 degrees. You can hold a weight of between 1 to 4 lbs in your right hand. Your palm should be facing the floor. To perform one rep, spiral the upper arm out to lift the weight up towards the ceiling then slowly lower it back down. Your elbow should stay on your side. Keep your collar bones wide and your shoulder blade stable. Perform 10 reps on each arm.


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Lie on your stomach with your arms straight out from your shoulders in a T. Engage your abdominals to lengthen your spine. Keep the back of your neck long with your nose just hovered off of the mat. Reach wide through your shoulder blades and collar bones to lift the arms just two to three inches up. Return them down. Perform 20 reps.