Do you exercise weekly? What do you include in your workouts? Maybe a little cardio? Weight lifting? Functional training? Cycling? Possibly some stretching here and there? What about Mobility? Most of us aren't including this crucial part of fitness that can really help us to move better, train better, and feel overall better.
First things first, What is Mobility?
You may have heard of it before, but what is it? Mobility is the ability to move freely without stress on the body. Different from flexibility which is the range of motion of your muscles. While the two are different, they depend on one another as good mobility can increase your flexibility and vice versa.
Why is it important to include in your routine?
Mobility is the secret tool many fitness professionals use to assist them in executing their lifts. However, it's not just important for heavy lifters, but for everyone regardless of whether or not you exercise frequently. Including mobility into your day to day life, can improve the range of motion of our joints and muscles. It can assist in improving our posture. It can also help to alleviate aches and pains we may be experiencing from just life in general. As an athlete or individual who exercises weekly, it can help to improve our range of motion of our lifts, help us to execute movements better, to lift heavier and to move more freely.
How do you include it?
Many of us have specific movement restrictions and mobility training can help us to reduce those restrictions. A movement assessment (typically done by a personal trainer but can also be done solo) can help you to address those specific areas. Then you can pinpoint which mobility moves to help target those restrictions.
However, for the everyday individual looking to just add some mobility to your workouts, here's a few you can easily include. I recommend doing a few mobility movements before your workout in your warm up routine. Pairing them with some dynamic stretching like bear hugs, leg swings, jacks, hip openers, etc. can help to really prime your body for your workout!
Here's a few of my favorite moves to include in my primer session before my workouts. Again remember to pair them with some dynamic stretching as well to get your body ready for bigger movements.
Inch Worm to Lunge with Rotation. Be sure to keep legs straight on your inchworm and knee over your ankle on your lunge. Open up your chest keeping your arm aligned with your shoulder.
Quadruped Hip Opener. Start on all fours with knees under hips, hands under shoulders and a neutral spine. Take one leg out to the side toes pointed forward then press your butt back to your opposite heel. Switch sides.
Quadruped Chest Opener. Again start on all fours with knees under hips, hands under shoulders. Take right hand and place it behind your head. Fold your elbow towards your opposite hand, then open up pointing your elbow towards the ceiling.
Good mornings. Make sure feet are about hip distance apart toes parallel. Allow the knees to be loose with a slight bend as you fold over with a flat back. Drive through the heels and squeeze the glutes at the top as you stand back up.
Knee hug to reverse lunge and reach. Stand with feet under the hips, take a big step back for a reverse lunge. Make sure to keep your front kneed over your ankle as you lunge straight down and raise your hands above your head.
There are plenty more mobility moves you can add to your routine to prime your body for movement or to just keep your body moving properly. These are just a few of my favorites that I keep in my rotation. Give them a try before your next workout and see how you feel!