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Relax Your Face When Working Out

Check Your Face

One of the great challenges of Pilates is relaxing the muscles that don't need to be working. Undue tensions around the body can interfere with your ability to work the muscles you are trying to strengthen. The set of muscles that most people have a hard time relaxing is their face. It seems that majority of people, my clients anyway, think they can do a roll up (an exercise close to a full sit up) by just tensing their jaw. The same holds true for one-legged bicep curls on a BOSU, which is a serious challenge, but clenching your jaw is in no way going to help you access your core. In fact, tensing your face, be it your jaw, brow, or forehead, activates the muscles in your neck and shoulders, and this unwanted tension can lead to injuries. So next time you are working out, check your face. If it is tense, relax it. I find deep sighs or "motor boat mouth" help get that job done.


eludington eludington 9 years
This is great advice! I was working out last night (FIRM video), doing crunches, and halfway through the set, I remembered to relax my face. For the first time, I did a crunch that really felt like it was using my abs! What a difference! Plus, my abs are super-sore today - I guess I did something right!!
ibron ibron 9 years
The Bodypump class I go to, the instructor would say "show me your bicep (curl) faces!" On another note, on nights that I struggle to fall asleep, I find myself frowning. As soon as I try to relax my face, I would feel much better and fall asleep soon after.
ElectroPopTart ElectroPopTart 9 years
YES, I used to see people in my yoga class looking like they were gonna take a big DUMP in a pose. I always relax my face, BUT I keep the intensity in my EYES for that extra inner strength.
sophia_HL sophia_HL 9 years
haha ... the first time I worked out with my boyfriend, he told me I had a workout "Grimace"
courtney422 courtney422 9 years
TMJ is Temporo-Mandibular Joint. Basically emalove is saying that her jaw hurts. lol In a non scientific way. :)
courtney422 courtney422 9 years
I am taking a yoga class and the instructor always reminds everyone to relax their face and breathe!
emma- emma- 9 years
emalove emalove 9 years
I HAVE to do TMJ is so bad that the pain is unbearable some days. The reason I started yoga is because my doctor thought it might help with my TMJ.
xLolaBellex xLolaBellex 9 years
I dont think I do anything with my face when doing yoga, or just working out. Well I sure hope I dont look that ridiculous. Ive noticed men do it a lot when lifting weights, they like to stick out their tongue when lifting the heavier stuff, or benching. It's funny to watch.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 9 years
Good to know.
Spectra Spectra 9 years
I sometimes clench my jaw when I lift weights and I really have to consciously think about NOT doing it.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
I'll have to remember this...
Renees3 Renees3 9 years
I don't tense TOO much, but sometimes I'll do a certain lift and my face will like move without me wanting it to. There's certain like shoulder workouts that will make my lip do and elvis thing. I can't stop it. It must be connected to my shoulder somehow. I get embarrassed because I make weird faces haha. But I try to be as calm as possible when I'm working out and make that "mind body connection" as my trainer calls it. Focusing on what my body is doing, how it's doing it, what it's benefiting, not just doing it.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
Wow, really? That is interesting, btu I can see the facts within it.
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