Purpose: Normally we see Bow used as a shoulder driven exercise… Where the shoulder complex changes alignment, and the rear legs stay still. In this Pop Up Bow variation, the front limbs maintain their position in space while the rear limbs extend and flex.
Equipment: Standing Platform
Targets: Because the hamstring is engaging eccentrically (elongating), while the quadricep engage concentrically (contracting), this makes for an excellent hamstring stretch, and a good example of AROM (active range of motion). AROM exercises use the dogs on muscles to facilitate the stretch so that the muscle is working and lengthening simultaneously. This produces a flexible but strong muscle. Passive range of motion (PROM) uses the handler’s muscles to apply pressure to the dog while in a relaxed state.
While a traditional bow movement focuses more on the shoulder and proximal hamstring, this Pop Up Bow variation targets the distal hamstring… which is the part closer to the stifle.
NOTE: PROM should only be used under the supervision/prescription of a rehab professional… And never before activity, due to the destabilizing effect it has.
- It will be tempting for the dog to move into thoracic hyperextension in this variation, creating a deep curve just behind the withers. That’s something to be avoided/adjusted via placement of reward closer to the elbow. This placement of reward promotes proper shoulder extension and scapular rotation, keeping the shoulder behind the elbow.
- Lastly, for dogs struggling with hamstring flexibility, it’s likely the dog will step the hocks/kick back past vertical in an attempt to lessen the stretch through the hamstring. Using a platform/slightly elevated platform just longer than the dog, provides guidance/boundaries and can be helpful in avoiding/preventing this issue.
- While not a particularly advanced exercise from a load bearing or balancing perspective, this exercise is still tricky, and requires a LOT of body awareness!