A dowel rod is a cylindrical pole, made of wood, metal or plastic. The dowel has many diverse applications in the fields of woodworking, engineering and even tiered cake-making, as a structural support or joint pin (if the dowel is short). Personal trainers and sports injury experts use dowel rods several feet long in exercises and rehabilitation programs to increase upper body strength, flexibility, coordination and range of motion. The Professional Golf Association's (PGA) includes dowel rod exercises in their program to improve golf swings. A simple wood rod costs from £1.30 to £3 and is available at most hardware stores and online. If you don't have a dowel rod to perform the exercises, you can substitute it with a golf club.
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Hold the dowel rod straight out in front of you at shoulder height, palms down. Circle the rod with straight arms in a clockwise motion. Next, circle the rod in a counter-clockwise motion. Keep the rest of your body still. Repeat five to 10 times. Discontinue any exercise if you experience pain or discomfort, and consult a doctor or therapist immediately.
Hold the dowel rod above your head, shoulder-width, palms facing up. Bend your elbows and lower the rod behind your head. Straighten your arms, keeping your elbows still, and return to the start position. Keep the rest of your body still and feet firmly rooted to the ground. Repeat five to 10 times.
Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and body upright, with the dowel rod in your hands, then extend your arms overhead. Equally distribute your weight in your feet and keep your toes pointing forward as you squat like you are sitting back into a chair. Do not move your head or pull with your neck. Press back up to your original position and repeat five to 10 times.
Place the dowel rod behind you, and let it rest between your neck and shoulders, on your trapezius muscles, but do not let it rest on the cervical spine, which runs across your neck. Hold onto the dowel rod on either end. Keep your legs hip-width apart and your head stationary as you twist from left to right. Do not lock your knees. Repeat five to 10 times.
Hold the dowel rod in front of you with your arms straight. Raise the rod overhead and take it back as far as you can without bending your elbows or overarching your back. Keep your lower body stationary as you stretch your chest. Bring the rod back slowly to starting position and repeat five to 10 times.
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