General Guide to Mobility Training
It's time that I talk about this all important style of training that most people overlook and that is mobility training. Everyone in my mind has got to do this style of training as it will prevent injury and you'll have less balance issues later in life.
Without mobility training (even if you're a weight lifter) this can and will have detrimental effects if you skip this. So later in this article, I will discuss exercises that are essential to perform to get better balance and mobility in your muscles.
First and foremost, we have to address your balance. Where are you at in terms of how much core control you have? Don't beat yourself up if your balance sucks ass.
Years ago, I remember I had shitty balance and doing mobility training really helped me get outside of my comfort zone to improve my balance. Some of the exercises I'm throwing out at you, I can guarantee you that you're not gonna want to do it.
However, understand that I learned this through a VERY successful physical therapist and we first have to address how good you are with balancing before we get in to the specifics of mobility training.
Mobility Training Requires Balance
Here's what my physical therapist friend taught me, you have to balance on one leg for one minute with your eyes closed. Yes you heard that right!
I programmed this exercise as a finisher when I trained at Anytime Fitness, all my classmates absolutely did not like it.
So when I said you're not gonna like this, I know this through experience because I saw my classmates complain about this balance sequence.
Little do you know that you are improving your balance when you do this. When you take out one of the senses, it changes everything!
So do this my friend. We gotta assess your balance. Don't want to?
I think it's time I tell you like it is, a man does what he HAS TO DO. Not always what he wants to do.
The reason why we must assess your balance is because this is the starting point to seeing how much core strength you have.
You see, even the most seasoned weightlifters can struggle with this, because that's all they have done their entire life.
When you improve with balance with your eyes closed, you can improve with lunges, step-ups, heck you can even improve with pull-up because that requires the entire body!
Have you taken courageous action? Awesome let’s move forward.
Mobility Training Includes Strength, Balance, and Flexibility
Do you notice I include abdominal work? It's because when you are doing mobility training, you have to involve every angle of the core. There are MANY exercises good for mobility you'll notice throughout this article.
You'll see different exercises as this is more for people just starting out to get familiar with mobility training as this is more for people just getting exposed to mobility training and how you can increase ROM, also improve strength, balance, and flexibility.
I will be clear, the moves included in that class, some of them are advanced. For example, if you realize that you have poor balance with your eyes closed, I wouldn't suggest for you to do One Leg Plyo Hops.
Think of slowly progressing to that alright? Don't beat yourself up my friend. Stay in it my man.
So, let's define what mobility training is...
What is Mobility Training?
Mobility training specifically focuses on movement and increased range-of-motion. It is not the same as flexibility as some guys think it is. Flexibility is similar but not the same my friend.
A flexible person can be flexible, but can still struggle with balance and coordination, which is closely related to core control. In fact, a flexible person can still have bad mobility. [R] Men's Health*
The awesome part about mobility training is it activates everything in your body. You'll know what I mean in a little bit. More importantly, mobility training includes flexibility, strength, balance, and power!
There are all kinds of mobility exercises, you've seen some advanced Plyo moves in my HIIT class, however, let's start out with an excellent shoulder mobility exercise that my clients absolutely love.
Now here's how to improve mobility even MORE!!...
Foam Roller Angel
Here's why I included the Roller Angel in this article. First reason, this improves shoulder mobility. Second reason, Jason is not the only person who loved this exercise, I trained classes up to ten people at a time.
Every single one of them absolutely LOVED this exercise and reported to feel warmed up. This can be used as a warm-up and as a cool down after PUSH day if you're a seasoned weightlifter.
Lastly, foam rolling is actually in my mind one of the most underrated tools in the gym I see very few guys use. Brother I strongly urge you to buy a foam roller. Get that tool today, don't wait, because I'm sure it's going to run out of stock.
Self-Myofascial Release (Lower Body)
How does foam rolling help with mobility? Here's how it helps my friend, it decreases your chance of injury. It also decreases your chances of having DOMS that stands for delayed onset muscle soreness. More importantly, it improves range of motion when you finish foam rolling, you'll notice it also improves performance immensely.
Even though I haven't gotten to the exercises yet, again, I will say this till I hammer this point home, CrossFitters, and Old School Lifters are understanding the importance of foam rolling.
I want you to foam roll your lower body. Here's how to foam roll, its quite simple, you put pressure on the muscles you're rolling out. If it hurts, then that's good it means you hit a sore spot, and you gotta concentrate on that sore spot. Don't run away from it, go in to the pressure. That's what foam rolling is, it focuses on your weaknesses.
This is an overlooked form of recovery that I still implement to this day even after I work legs because of how sore my glutes get. Not including foam rolling can actually increase your chance of injury. Don't believe me? Go through this article from ACE.
Leg Swings after Foam Rolling Legs Improves Hip Mobility
Let's say for example you got the foam roller, I encourage you to watch this video from muscle and fitness. Do leg swings for 30 seconds for both sides. And I want you to do this after you are done foam rolling your lower body.
This is how you increase ROM for example after working legs. Your body is sore and you need to foam roll. So do the leg swings after foam rolling.
Lastly, before we move on, you can do forward and backward leg swings as a warm-up prior to leg day. You can also incorporate them before you go on a run.
Just remember, foam rolling and then performing the leg swings increases mobility in the hips.
Don't forget the powerful pre-workouts my friend, you are going to still get in a workout with these next few moves!
Stability Ball Glute Ham Raise
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The reason I include this exercise is we are just getting exposed to stability training, I'm covering a lot of training styles in this article.
I will definitely write a dedicated article on stability training. Here's why I placed this exercise in this article, it's because stability comes before mobility.
Foam rolling improves mobility in your joints (that is if you do it consistently), however, stability training is an honorable mention in this general guide to mobility training because when you perform stability exercises, it's essentially the kinetic chain in action my friend. Stability improves core control.
Essentially here's what I'm getting at my friend, stability and mobility is the dynamic duo in fitness. Both complement each other and it's important to not forget to increase core strength and stability. This is why I had you assess your balance.
Do this exercise for 25 reps to feel the burn in your hamstrings and abs. More importantly, I always say this hits your deepest muscle, transverse abdominus. Please put your feet under a bench or a ledge so they can't move. That's how you REALLY hit those hamstrings good!
More importantly, take a break, than do the next set of the physio-ball glute ham raise. Your hamstrings will feel it!
The goal of stability and mobility is to develop postural stability throughout the kinetic chain.
I'm sure you are wondering why this is even programmed in to this article. Well I had you warm-up your shoulders with the roller angel right?
Here's why this is included, it's because it targets the upper back and thoracic muscles that provide a lot of stability to the shoulder joint. Do you remember when I said mobility includes flexibility training, strength, balance and power?
It all comes together my friend. You can't neglect the back muscles either. And I would be lying to you if I said this exercise doesn't matter to increase mobility because it absolutely does!
More importantly, when this is done on a stability ball and not a bench, you really hit the lower back hard. Yes it will be hard, but this in essence becomes a corrective exercise because of the unstable surface that it hits muscles you normally wouldn't feel on the bench. See more benefits here. [R]
Do one full set of 25 reps and pick a very light weight. You can swap out a stability ball for a bench to get the benefits of hitting the lower back. Throw your ego aside, this is a higher rep count.
Take a break when you are done with your first set. Now do this again when you are ready to hit your upper back HARD.
After you do all fifty, do standing arm swings. I will write an article on that exercise.
Butterfly (Cool Down)
Watch this tutorial on the butterfly stretch. This is pure flexibility training, but it does improves hip mobility. You can tell I'm giving you a lot of ways to decrease your chance of injury.
In case you think this is a woman stretch and it's feminine to do this, I encourage you to open your mind and go through this resource. You will see that this is done in physical therapy and it's highly beneficial.
This is the start of the cool down. We have to bring your heart rate down because I included some strength and core work.
Every time you squat and deadlift, you involve your hips. So this stretch is included as one of the most beneficial stretches of the hips and lower body. Why? Because it improves inner thigh adductor muscles.
You might think this is a girly exercise. I say to you, bro do this move and throw out your damn excuses of "I don't like stretching."
If you want a challenge, bring the feet closer to the groin muscle to feel the effectiveness.
Cobra Pose Stretch
Here are the muscles worked in the cobra stretch:
- Hip flexors
- Pectoralis Muscles
- Biceps and brachialis
- Neck when you look from side to side
I cannot think of any better exercise when it comes to cooling down.
Even though this is a yoga pose technically, I used this all the time in cool downs at the end of class.
And damn did it make every single classmate come up and thank me that I included this stretch.
Again brother, I am including a WebMD resource for you to check out more benefits to this fantastic stretch. [R]
Recap The Entire Mobility Workout
- Roller Angel (do this exercise as long as you want to warm-up your shoulders and chest.)
- Foam Roll every muscle in your lower body (glutes, hamstrings, calves, and quads)
- Leg Swings (30 seconds per side)
- Stability Ball Glute Ham Raise - 25 Reps (for two sets adding to 50 reps)
- Reverse Flys - 25 Reps (for two sets adding to 50 reps)
- Standing Arm Swings
This is the cool down for the added benefit of flexibility training.
- Butterfly (hold for 30 to 45 seconds)
- Cobra Pose Stretch (30 to 45 seconds)
Remember to breathe deeply through the holds.
As you can see this is still a workout because of the two exercises for strength and core stability. However, this is more of a corrective mobility training routine.
Remember this my friend, each exercise has its own purpose to improve mobility even though some moves might seem out of place. But here's the most important caveat to this entire article, you can't disregard any exercise if you want the benefits of strength, core control, balance and flexibility.
One last thing I have to mention, the balance assessment is for you to do on your own and I encourage you to do it frequently if you have problems with balance. You can do it before the mobility workout or after the workout. Just remember to do it, don't be one of those readers that can't take action.
This hits everything, chest, shoulders, upper back, lower back, transverse abdominus, hamstrings, hips and lower body. And this is hands down guaranteed to increase mobility in your lower and upper body, on top of working the thoracic spine. I strongly encourage you to reach out to me at AdamSkoda@MasculineMindsetCoach.com for 1-1 coaching if this has helped you in any way possible.
Feel comfortable to comment down below and share this with a friend if this has helped you.