Mobility Training

And why you should incorporate it into your strength-training.

Mobility training is a recent hot topic in the fitness community. You may or may not be aware of this focus, but it may be one that you will wish you’d known about years ago. If you are involved in a lifetime sport, such as golf, swimming, tennis, weightlifting, mobility is key to staying competitive for a lifetime!

Strength-training is well known; it’s about building a strong foundation and increasing muscle mass using resistance and weighted equipment. Stretching, or range-of-motion, training is equally well known. We often stretch to complement our strength-training, stay limber, or to avoid injury. But what about building strength while incorporating range-of-motion. This concept is mobility training, and it is used to improve your weightlifting form, create more fluid movement, improve the body-mind communication, and prevent injury by building a functional core, spine, and joints.

Mobility is where your body’s strength and range-of-motion meet. Where static stretching often uses an opposing force against an object or pulling against a body part, mobility training lets you explore range-of-motion without the use of another force. Yoga is a great example of combining stretching and mobility in a single practice. The idea of mobility is to move your joints in a manner that mimics real life, creating improved quality of movement through space.

Here are some examples of mobility exercises and static stretching that can help improve your quality of daily movement and exercise/sports performance. These demos showcase one static stretch, one mobility stretch, and one combo to demonstrate the difference between the modalities.

Photos / Gregg Lambton – Carr

1. Static Chest and Shoulder Stretch for range-of-motion

Using a raised surface such as a chair, box, or yoga ball, place your palms on the surface. While kneeling, back away from the chair until your arms are extended. Let the weight of your head sink through your arms to open your chest and shoulders and alleviate tension. For a more intense stretch, clasp your hands together behind your head, place your elbows on the chair as you sink your head through your arms.

2. Twisting Locust for spine mobility

While lying prone on the floor, arms outstretched, palms facing down, lift one foot about 6 inches off the floor. Then, keeping your palms on the floor, bend your lifted knee, open your hip, and try to tap your toe to the floor on the opposite side of your body. Perform this movement combination 6-10 times, slowly on each side. You should feel your spine twist and your low back and hip release tension when complete.

3. Hip-opener and Posterior Chain Mobility to deepen squats

Starting with knees slightly bent, grab the outside of your toe box. For assistance, raise your heels 1-2 inches off the floor using a sturdy object such as barbell plates or a yoga mat. Bend your knees into a deep squat, pushing your hips forward and opening your chest, pull your shoulder blades together. Hold for 2-5 seconds and slowly return to your starting position to get a stretch in the entire back of the legs. This exercise combines mobility and stretching.

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