Include mobility in your program for a long, pain free fitness life
When we start to move and mobilise our joints, a natural lubricant called synovial fluid is released into our joint capsules. This is a fluid which is ‘egg-white’ in consistency and acts to reduce friction between our bones when we move. This is why it is important to mobilise the joints we will be using during a workout before we task them with more intense work to do. Without mobilisation exercises the joints will not be prepared for increased load and impact which could result in friction causing us pain and over time damage to bones and joint tissue.
Mobilisation exercises also ensure our joints are moved through their full range of motion keeping them supple and flexible, again reducing the likelihood of injury and damage.
Here are some simple and easy mobilisation exercises that you could include in your warm up before your main workout:
Stand with your back against the wall, ensuring there is no hyperextension of the spine (curving in the lower back). Place the back of the hands and wrists against the wall with a 90-degree bend at the elbows. Extend the arms above the head and think about pressing the forearms gently into the wall whilst retaining the same posture throughout the exercise. Only extend to the point of mild discomfort, don’t push yourself too much. Repeat and try to get a little further each time!
Try: 3 x 10 repetitions reaching further each time
Mobilises: Shoulders and Spine
Kneeling down on all fours reach one arm through the space of the opposite arm and knee and try and get the shoulder to touch the floor. To make harder try reach further each time!
Try: 3 x 5 repetitions each side further each time
Pass throughs or Dislocates
Use a PVC pipe or something similar (must be light!) and place hands wider than hip width apart. Keep the arms fully extended and bring the pipe from the hips over the head to the bottom of the back and then reverse back to the hips. Imagine creating a circle shape with the pipe. You should feel like there is a ‘sticky point’ in the shoulders when you pass over the head. Engage the abs and try not to curve the back and stick your bum out. To make it harder try to narrow the grip on the pipe and to make it easier widen the grip on the pipe.
Try: 3 x 10 repetitions, after 5 repetition makes the grip slightly narrower on the pipe
Banded face pulls
Anchor a resistance band to an immovable stand at chest height. Take an overhand grip on the band approximately shoulder width apart and pull it towards your face thinking about squeezing the muscles of the upper back and shoulder blades together. Keep the elbows high and in line with the shoulders and think about pulling the band apart.
Try: 3 x 10 repetitions
Weighted shoulder extensions
Laying down on a bench take a weight in each hand (2.5 pounds) and allow your arms to extend above your head and ‘hang’ down over the bench. Hold for 15-20 seconds return the weights and then repeat. Keep your abs engaged and your keep your lower back pushed down into the bench. To make harder increase the weight of the plates.
Try: 3 x 15-20 seconds
Kneeling down with knees under hips and wrists under shoulders, extend and flex the spine to create convex and concave curves. Ensure you press through the floor to get the best stretch possible.
Try: 3 x 10 repetitions
Front facing wrist extension
Kneeling down with the hands and the floor and fingers pointed forwards lean forwards to feel the stretch through the wrist and hold for a few seconds. Lean back to relieve the pressure. Don’t push this, you should only feel mild discomfort.
Try: 3 x 5 repetitions
Rear facing wrist extension
Kneeling down with the hands and the floor and fingers pointed towards your knees, sit back to feel the stretch through the wrist and hold for a few seconds. Return forwards to relieve the pressure. Don’t push this, you should only feel mild discomfort.
Try: 3 x 5 repetitions
Take a big lunge forward and place your hands on the floor out in front of you with the front leg planted outside of your hand. Feel the stretch through the hip. To make this more advanced, lift and extend the arm, on the same side as the bent front leg, to the ceiling and rotate your torso to the side. Repeat this on both legs by taking a big step forward each time (keep it dynamic/moving!).
Try: 3 x 5 repetitions each side
Standing on one leg and holding onto a wall or something fixed for balance swing the legs forward and backwards. Do the same for both legs and then try the same but swinging the legs side to side.
Try: 3 x 10 repetitions each leg swinging forwards, 3 x 10 repetitions each leg swinging side to side
Mobilises: Hips and Ankles
Sit in a low squat and walk forwards rolling from the heels to the toes each time. Repeat the same but walking backwards rolling toe to heel (harder!).
Try: 3 x 10 walks forwards, 3 x 10 walks backwards