The Slamball Bear Hug is a great exercise to do as part of warm-up or cool-down. As warm-up, it helps you feel how the abdominals engage while the ribcage is in a neutral position. It can also help open up the posterior portion of the ribcage–an area often bound down due to an extended posture–to allow a deeper breath.
For this reason, it has also become a go-to exercise to prescribe to patients. It has helped a ballerina learn how to stay stable in the trunk while going into pointe position. It has helped an elderly patient learn how to maintain trunk stability while walking. And, it has helped a highly-pec dominant athlete learn how to relax the chest and breath properly.
As cool-down, it can help reset the trunk. If you ever feel like you are stuck in extension after lifting heavy or your pecs and neck are tight from a hard met-con, deep breathing focusing on an exhale during the slam ball bear hug can help re-set your trunk to a neutral posture.
For a workout, add in marching, squats, hip hinge or carries in this position. Gets spicy fast!