You might be strong, fit and muscular, yet you are probably not reaping the full benefits of your workouts.
What’s holding you back?
Increasing your range of motion (ROM) is not about being flexible. Mobility training makes movement smooth and fluid. It makes you more resilient against injury and better able to recruit more muscle mass as you exercise.
Mobility is not flexibility.
Many people confuse flexibility and mobility, but they are not the same. Flexibility refers to the ability to lengthen muscles. It’s a passive method; like holding a stretch while the body releases.
Mobility refers to a joint’s ability to fluidly move with full range of motion. While some flexibility is needed to have good mobility, you also need stability and strength. It’s dynamic, like arm circles or leg swings.
- Mobility is active and flexibility is passive
- Mobility demands strength and flexibility asks for length
- Mobilize prior to a workout and flexibility after a workout
- Both are important, both can be lost and gained
Why is Mobility important?
With optimal mobility, you’re strong and functional with full active range of motion.
We depend on our mobility literally all the time. If you don’t have full mobility in certain joints, you may not be using the proper muscles during movement. As a result, other muscles get over-worked to compensate leading to pain and injury.
Key Mobility Moves for Everyone
Back-to-the-Wall Shoulder Flexion
This move trains the shoulder blades to move around the ribcage without help from the lower back. This trains the body to move into a posterior pelvic tilt, a more neutral neck position, and adds core stability while lifting the arms overhead.
- Put your back against a wall and your feet roughy six to eight inches away from the base of the wall, depending on your limb length.
- Make sure your back is flat and your thumbs are pointed forward.
- Exhale and slowly raise your arms overhead as you try to touch your thumbs to the wall without compensation from the lower back.
- Return to the starting position and repeat.
Press your lower back to the wall throughout the movement to avoid hyperextension of the low back.
Perform two to three sets of 10 to 15 reps.
- This move improves your ability to train without compensation and pain.
- When performed regularly and with good form, it improves your overhead shoulder mobility.
Seated 90/90 Hip Rotation
The seated 90/90 with Internal and external rotation trains hip mobility — internal and external rotation. Without proper hip rotation, it’s difficult to balance and walk or run.
Lack of hip internal rotation makes sports and activities like squats or lunges that need deep hip flexion difficult. The body will compensate for a lack of hip rotation, leading to injuries like possible hip injuries over time.
- Get into a seated 90/90 hip position with the front leg in external rotation and the back leg in internal rotation, hold your hands together, and turn your gaze to the ground.
- Bring your torso forward towards the leg in front, then sit upright. Repeat bowing forward and sitting up for the number of reps prescribed.
- Turn towards the back leg and bend it into external rotation and the other leg into internal rotation and repeat the sequence with this leg forward.
Do two to three sets of 10 reps per side.
- Improvements in hip internal and external rotation lead to better movement and hip function.
- The ability to rotate efficiently at the hip joint is crucial for hip health and helps prevent injury.
- This move also teaches a tremendous amount of balance and coordination.
Rocking Ankle Mobilization
Moves like the rocking ankle mobilization are great for prepping your joints for activity. Without paying attention to ankle mobility, your ankle’s ability to dorsiflex — pulling your toes up — suffers and this may impact knees and hips.
Addressing and improving your ankle mobility with this simple-to-perform exercise will have a big impact on your movement,
- Get into a push-up position. Hike up your hips and walk your feet a little bit in toward your hands – like downward facing dog.
- Position your left foot behind your right ankle. Rise up on your toes. Lean forward with your hands on the ground.
- Begin slowly rocking back so your right foot ends flat on the ground. Keep your right leg straight.
- Return to the starting position. Repeat for reps.
Try to keep your ankle straight with toes pointing forward instead of allowing the foot to cave in or out during this move.
You could add in banded ankle mobilizations prior to this move. Perform two to three sets of 10 to 15 reps per side.
- This move improves your ankle mobility, which can improve knee health.
Using a forward lunge, you will move through torso – thoracic spine – rotation. Thoracic rotations plus lower body movement opens the hips and thoracic spine at the same time.
- Sink into a forward lunge with your right leg in front and with both knees at 90-degree angles.
- Make sure your hips are squared by pulling your left hip forward.
- Keep your chest tall. Extend both arms out to the sides.
- Slowly and with control, rotate your torso to your right and then back to neutral.
- Maintain a tall chest and keep your hips stable throughout the movement. Perform for reps.
Let your torso lead instead of tugging with your shoulders.
You could add a side-bending motion as well. Perform two to three sets of 10 reps per side.
- This exercise challenges your hip mobility and thoracic mobility at the same time.
- Rotation is often overlooked, so this adds a new stimulus to your body.
- This move will help you improve your balance while opening up your chest.
Did you know that I am also a Certified Mobility Coach? I offer complimentary assessments on zoom and in-person to help you move, breathe, live better. Reach Out to schedule
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