Mobility drills are drills that move a joint through the range of motion available. As time goes on we can lose a bit of this mobility from lifestyle and injuries that we accumulate. It is important to actively work to gain mobility if we have lost a bit and maintain this to ensure we can train hard and avoid injury.
Adequate mobility requires both flexibility and the ability to control the movement. Unfortunately, mobility training is the boring step-brother of strength and conditioning work but it is also important. It is even more important if you spend all day at a desk on a computer, phone, or lots of time sitting in the car.
Below you will find five mobility drills that you can implement every day to help you feel and move better.
1) Deep Squat Hold
Simple, but effective.
Drop down into a deep squat, as deep as you can handle and hold there for a bit. Try your best to keep the heels flat to the floor. You can even add a bit more by slowly rocking side to side, forward and back.
Hold for a few sets at 20-30 seconds for a few sets each day. At first you may find that it’s a bit tiring on the lower body, but this will build.
One of the best!
Lie down on your back and bring your right knee across your body and place your left hand on the knee, pulling down.
Reach down with your right hand and grab your left foot.
While still pulling down on the right knee and up on the left foot, push your shoulder back towards the floor.
You will feel a deep stretch in the right hip on top and in the left hip flexors/quads.
Thirty seconds is adequate on each side for as many sets as you would like.
3) Hip CARs
CAR stands for Controlled Articular Rotation and is based in a system developed by Dr. Andreo Spina called Functional Range Conditioning. Essentially, a CAR is moving a joint in a controlled, slow fashion through the outer limits of the joints active range of motion. Performing these CARs can help promote joint health and improve stability in the joints furthest, and most susceptible, points in its range of motion.
In this case we will be using the hip joint.
All you need to do is set yourself up next to a post, squat rack, or something similar that you can hold on to.
Stand next to the post and wrap your arm around it to support yourself. Your inside foot will stay planted to the floor and we will perform the movement with the outside leg.
Place your outside arm out to the side and make a fist, squeezing as hard as possible, the idea is to create as much tension elsewhere in the body as possible. Try to squeeze everything tightly from your toes up.
Keeping your toes pulled up, slowly raise your right leg as high as possible. Once you reach full flexion, with your knee towards your, start to open up your hip by rotating outwards as far as possible. As you reach the limit, rotate your femur so that the bottom of your foot faces behind you, finally, bring the inside of your thigh towards your opposite leg.
To return you will just reverse the steps, until your foot reaches the floor in the starting positon once again.
4) Shoulder CARs
Now that you know the basis of the CAR exercises, we will perform the same but for the shoulder joint.
Start by standing tall, feet together and hands by the side facing back behind you. Make a fist with your left hand and squeeze tightly, again creating tension in your whole body.
With your right hand facing behind you, slowly start to raise your arm in front of your body until it is completely straight up overhead. Once the arm has reached its limit overhead, slowly start to rotate your humerus (upper arm), and lower it behind you. Once your arm reaches the hips the hand should be facing straight behind you.
Again, reverse the motion slowly until you return to the starting position.
5) Lying Thoracic Spine Rotations (T-Spine)
Lay down on your right side with your legs straight and arms out straight from the chest. Pull your top knee up towards your chest and place it on a foam roller, or something similar, so that your knee and hip is at ninety degrees.
With palms facing and arms straight out from your chest, slowly start to raise your top arm up and rotate in the mid and upper back. Drive the top knee into the roller hard so the hips and lumbar spine (lower back) stay locked in place. Follow your hand and arm with your eyes as you open as far as possible.
Reverse the motion return to the starting position.
A few sets of eight to ten reps each day will do the trick to open up your thoracic spine.
Give them a shot each day to move and feel better!