4 Secrets to Improving Mobility

By Niv Zinder

The word mobility has been thrown around quite a bit. Before we dive into some drills that will help prepare your body for your next training session, lets clarify what mobility is. The term “mobility” refers to your ability to move through the ranges of motion that are available to you on a given exercise (think of your joints).

While flexibility can help with mobility, we should not confuse the two. Flexibility is the ability of a muscle to lengthen. The fact that someone can demonstrate normal or even good flexibility does not mean he or she may have the necessary mobility to get the body into certain positions. Static stretching will not benefit your body before your workout or help you improve mobility.  Four areas that require lots of mobility, but happen to be the most restricted ones are thoracic spine, shoulders, hips and the ankle.     

A good warm up period to any training session should be geared towards improving overall performance. Five to ten minutes of short and focused mobility work before a training session should be enough to get your body ready for your session. While the exercises below can be done separately, doing the exercises prior to a training session is another option as well that should not take too long.

1. Pretzel Stretch- this is one of my favorite mobility drills. Get into the right position, and you will get a nice glute and quads stretch. You will also open up your hips and increase thoracic spine mobility while challenging the opposite anterior hip.

 

2. Hip 90/90 stretch: This one is a “big bang for you buck” drill.  Hip mobility is important if you want to decrease stress and strain on other areas in the body, which usually will compensate for lack of hip mobility. With hip mobility, you would want to make sure your hips can flex, extend, internally and externally rotate, and abduct. This drill is effecting the front side leg, it will address hip external rotation limitations. On the backside leg, it will address hip internal rotation and adductor mobility limitations. Great to do before your lower body session.

3. Floor scorpion: another “big bang for you buck” mobility drill. Spine, hips, chest opener, shoulders, and even some glute activation all in one. This one is very similar to the Pretzel, however this time we lay down face down on the ground. 

4.  Shoulder CARs (Controlled Articular Rotation): This one should be a staple prior to your upper body session. The goal is to move the shoulder joint through its greatest rotational range of motion without compensating.

Lastly- do not forget that breathing is an important part of any mobility work.