If mobility training isn’t really on your mind, we hope to change that!
Mobility training is often confused with flexibility training, but they are actually very distinct. Flexibility refers to the elasticity of the muscles, while mobility is the range in which a joint can move. “Mobility training” may sound overly complex and gimmicky. In reality, it’s a simple concept that you’re likely already incorporating in your routine. Even so, we urge you to adopt a more focused approach to mobility because neglecting this area can lead to injury, pain, and joint degeneration.
Warm-ups are excellent for conscious mobility work. Save the static stretches (read: flexibility training) for the end of your workout, when your muscles are warm and better prepared to stretch without injury. For your warm-up, choose more active movements to get the muscles and joints ready for exercise. You can tailor your warm-up to activate the muscles you will use in your workout. For a full-body warm-up, give this dynamic mobility series a try!
You can really target your mobility with suspension training using TRX straps. When you perform exercises with the aid of TRX straps, you unload some of your body weight. The additional support helps you move more slowly, fluidly, and with greater range of motion. Get started with this series of TRX mobility exercises and stretches–TRX straps also provide great traction for stretching!
We always associate yoga with flexibility, but many yoga series (the kind you would almost undoubtedly find in a vinyasa flow class) are excellent for mobility in the hips and shoulders. Yoga also typically incorporates moving the joints in a variety of planes. This is especially important for athletes that tend to work in one particular plane, like runners or cyclists.
And if your yoga instructor doesn’t teach this move, you need to try it on your own: shoulder flossing! This is one simple exercise that most people should do daily to improve shoulder mobility and ease upper-back pain. Grip a yoga strap (or even a bathrobe strap) with both hands, far enough apart so that you can raise the strap up, over your head, all the way behind your back, and then return your arms to the front. Keep your arms straight through the entire exercise. Repeat about fifteen times daily, and move your hands closer together as your shoulder mobility improves.
There is a lot of mobility work that you can do in the gym. However, you should also keep mobility in mind all day long. Sitting may be the worst culprit that is risking your healthy mobility. When we spend our days hunched over a desk, muscles shorten and joints get stiff and stuck. Try to build in more movement throughout your day to keep your joints moving, and be very mindful to avoid classic posture pitfalls when you are stationary.
We can’t recommend mobility training enough for gym-goers of all ages and levels of experience. Let us know if you plan to try any of these mobility exercises, or if you have your own mobility routine.