5 MOBILITY EXERCISES
& why you shouldn't underestimate them
So, I'm gonna get real with you right now. When it comes to prioritizing workouts, HITT, weight training & cardio are at the top of my list. But when it comes to sacrificing, I tend to neglect mobility, stability & stretching. Maybe it's because it doesn't "feel" like a workout to me? I don't know but I definitely can't be the only one. Here's the thing though, avoiding these key parts of a fitness routine are actually going to hurt you in the long run.
Think about it, if you don't stretch, you constantly have tight muscles - which will almost definitely lead to injury. If your muscles are tight, your form won't be spot on - also leading to injury, and ineffective workouts. If you have instability in your supportive muscles and ligaments - like ankles, knees, wrists .. guess what? YUP! Improper form, ineffective workouts and injury.
Ok, I think you get the picture. I'm going to pull my five fave mobility combos for you below. If you need visuals, there is a WEALTH of videos on YouTube that you can check out.
1. CAT COW - will warm up the spine & get all your juices flowing.
Starting on all fours (in tabletop position, for my yogi's - who already know this one anyway)
On an inhale, stick your tush to the ceiling, and your heart out in front of you, pressing your belly towards the floor.
Lift your chin and press your shoulder blades together.
On the exhale, do the opposite, curve your spine towards the ceiling and tuck your chin to your chest and your pelvis down towards the floor.
Repeat for several breaths.
2. OPEN YOUR CHEST & WARM UP YOUR SHOULDERS - this is going to seem ridiculously simple but trust me.
Stand up straight against a wall - DON'T arch your back! Keep the pelvis neutral.
Cactus your arms (at 90 degree angles with your hands in the air.)
Keep forearms and backs of hands flat against the wall.
Without shrugging your shoulders, raise your arms above your head so that you're Y-shaped, and then return to cactus arms.
Repeat 3 sets x 12 reps.
3. LOW LUNGE HIP OPENER
Come to a lunge position with one knee on the floor, make sure your hips are even (so press the hip on the side of the bent knee backwards, while pulling the other hip forwards.)
Hold the pose and as your hips open, bend deeper into the knee. Hands can rest on your bent knee or you can raise them above your head.
If you're feeling really stable, you can put your hands behind your head for a chest stretch at the same time.
You can also incorporate a twist by planting the hand opposite the bent knee on the ground (or a block) and twisting your chest towards the bent knee side of the room.
4. QUAD STRETCH
Start in the same low lunge as the previous exercise with your hands on your bent knee.
Begin to bend the rear leg so that your foot is coming towards you and with either hand (opposite hand is more difficult but will give you more chest opening) reach for your foot.
You may need a band or a strap to reach if you're super tight.
Hold the foot, with your palm on the top of your foot for 5 - 10 breaths, then switch.
5. DOWNWARD DOG - you know this one, just make sure you have proper form. Bend your knees, push your butt to the sky, and then begin to straighten your legs. Arms and back should be a straight line.
Also, don't underestimate foam rolling & the yoga tune-up balls which I also referenced in my travel fitness post. Getting into all those tight muscles and working out the fascia will do wonders for your recovery and your muscle building!