Mobility, or moving well, is a crucial aspect of having a successful, long-term fitness career, that we always think is covered enough when we warm up. Improving mobility betters our range of motion during training, allowing us to use perfect form. Mobility also prevents injuries and ensures that we are training exactly what we should be training, rather than auxiliary muscles. Here are 5 do’s of mobility
5 Do’s of Mobility
1. Assess it
You can’t improve something if you don’t know where it needs to be improved. Assessing your mobility is the first challenge in improving your mobility. Once you have assessed the limitations of your mobility, you can get to work on improving it. However, it’s not enough to just know where the problem is, but you need to also understand what is causing that problem. For example, if you struggle to squat far down, is it your hamstrings, your hip flexors, or something else?
Once you have determined where the problems lie, then you need to set up a method to treat it. The best way to go about it would be to set up and appointment with a trained professional so that they can assess your problem areas and advise on the best course to follow. If you are already self-informed, then plan out how you aim to improve your mobility.
Mobility is not something that can be enhanced over two weekly sessions, where you spend ages on doing multiple exercises. Working on your mobility every day is much more effective, and all you need is 10 minutes.
The reason for this is because our bodies adapt to compromised movement patterns, such as injury, overuse, or even a lack of movement. Our bodies are pretty intelligent things, and try to find the most efficient way of working through this limited range of motion. By improving mobility daily, we reteach the body how to move better, allowing us to train better.
3. Perform exercises well
In order to get better mobility in the areas that are problematic, you need to perform exercises with a full of range of motion, without overloading your system. This is how you get the most of your mobility program, coupled with proper stretching techniques will improve it even more.
Here is a practical example. If you want to have better mobility in your squat, perform the wall squat. Stand 30 cm (ruler length) from a wall with your arms straight overhead. Keep your chest as vertical as you can, then slowly squat down and back up. Keep hands overhead without touching the wall.
4. Try yoga once a week
Before you dismiss this idea, remember that Arnold took ballet lessons to increase his flexibility and mobility. That was before yoga was so big as it is now, and now we know that yoga is centred around the concept of proper alignment. To achieve this, you move fluidly and create stability in your joints to give you an understanding of the space you are in. This puts us in better tune with our bodies and is a huge help in assisting with improving mobility.
5. Stress out less
Stress is a terrible thing. It’s like this inescapable shadow that just gets more and more daunting the longer you linger on it. There are also physical responses to stress, the brain releases a hormone known as “cortisol”, also known as the stress hormone. While natural and is necessary for the body, a high level of cortisol can impact negatively on your training and mobility.
Stress also causes a lot of tension to build up in your muscles. Stiffness is enemy number one to improving mobility, and you will have to work extra hard to counteract it. Reducing stress is easier than we think – just take 10 minutes a day to unplug yourself from the world, and allow your brain the chance to just relax.
Mobility is the key unlocking better numbers on the press, squat, and even your musculature. Research specific methods on how to improve specific mobility issues you might have. After a few weeks, you will see how much better you feel with easier movement, not to mention the increase in your plate numbers.