As we grow older, our mobility decreases as joints become stiffer due to injuries or overuse of certain muscle areas. A great way to keep our bodies young is through full-body mobility exercises.
Incorporating a full-body mobility routine into your daily exercise regimen means reaping the rewards like a better range of motion, quicker healing from intense workouts, relaxation, and a lower risk of injuries. If that sounds fantastic, continue reading about mobility exercises and how they work.
Mobility Exercises Defined
Mobility exercises are exercises designed to increase your range of motion around joints. They involve contracting and releasing muscles to get better movement around the joints. Some exercises use fluid movement or muscle isolations to work particular body areas.
By contracting and releasing muscle groups throughout the body, the entire body stays active, allowing for a better range of movement without risking injury.
Mobility vs. Flexibility
Mobility and flexibility are sometimes used interchangeably, but flexibility is a component of mobility. Mobility is an increased range of motion around the joints by actively working muscle groups. Flexibility is stretching and lengthening muscles. The more flexible your muscles are, the less likely you will pull them due to tightness.
If a muscle is too tight, it can draw on the joints, causing joint or ligament damage. Stretching muscles consistently to increase flexibility prevents damage and escalates the range of motion around joints.
Beginner Mobility Routines
If you are a beginner in mobility exercises, don’t fret. We have an excellent list of upper and lower body exercises to get you started. Incorporate these into your daily exercise routine and enjoy the benefits of better movement.
Upper Body Mobility Exercises
The starting position for the neck pull is with your feet shoulder-width apart and your right hand on top of your head. Slowly lower your head to the right and hold that position for thirty seconds. Release, give your head a quick shake, and then perform the same stretch on the left side.
This stretch can be performed while standing or sitting. Take your right arm straight across your body, directly in front of your chest. Bend your left arm to pull your right arm tight across your chest. You should feel a nice stretch through your shoulder. Hold that position for thirty seconds. Repeat this stretch on the left side.
The tricep stretch can be done seated or standing. Extend your right arm straight into the air next to your head. Bend at the elbow and try to place your right hand on your back. Gently pull your right elbow back with your left hand to feel the stretch through the back of the arm. Hold for thirty seconds and repeat on the other arm.
To start this exercise, extend your left hand straight out in front of you with your palm facing up. Take your right hand and pull down your fingers to feel the stretch through your wrist. Hold that position for fifteen seconds. Then, rotate your palm to the floor and pull the fingers down again to stretch the top of the wrist. Hold for fifteen seconds and repeat on the other wrist.
A yoga favorite, the child’s pose begins in a high plank position. Slowly bend your knees to the floor and sit back onto your heels. Lean forward and extend your arms in front of you, lowering your upper body to the floor. Sink your glutes back into your hips and hold the stretch for thirty seconds.
The thoracic spine is the upper and middle part of your back. To stretch this area, start kneeling, with your right arm straight and your hand touching the floor. Take your left hand and place it onto your head with your elbow to the side at a 90-degree angle. Slowly lower your left elbow to your right elbow, twisting through the middle of your body. Then, extend your left elbow straight up into the air. Pause at the top and then continue to perform this rotation for thirty seconds before switching to the other side.
Lower Body Mobility Exercises
Kneeling Glute Circles
An excellent way to stretch your glutes, begin your knees bent in a tabletop position. Ensure your back is straight and your core is contracted to minimize upper body movement throughout this exercise. Bring your right leg off the ground with your knee bent.
Move your leg forward slightly and rotate your knee in a clockwise motion, followed by a counter-clockwise direction. Continue this for thirty seconds before bringing the opposite knee forward. Be careful not to allow the hips forward as that will cause an arch in the back.
Lateral Lunge With Sliders
Place a slider under your right foot and extend your right leg to the side with a bent knee. Hinge from the hip and keep the opposite leg straight to feel the stretch through your inside and outside leg. Slide the right foot back to standing and repeat with the left foot lunging to the side.
Mini-Band Squat With Hip Abduction
Begin this stretch routine in a deep squat position, feet apart, with a mini-band wrapped around your legs above your knees. Turn your left knee outward to the side, rotating through the hips and glutes. Rotate the knee back to the center and repeat with the right knee.
More On Mobility Training
While there is a wide range of mobility exercises like the ones above and things like belly breaths, downward dog, and standing forward fold, it’s essential to perform them at least two or three times a week to reap the benefits. However, it’s best to perform mobility exercises every day that you work out.
Intense training sessions are excellent for muscle growth, but tight muscles can lead to pulls or joint pain without stretching with a mobility routine.
If you’re looking for the best mobility program to follow, the Cali Move Workout Mobility program is the best on the market. For the money spent and amount of exercises and expertise involved, no program even comes close to Cali Move.
Achieving Full-Body Mobility
The best way to achieve full-body mobility is by following some simple rules.
Controlled Articular Rotations
Controlled articular rotations or CARs is a fancy way of saying move your joints. Circular movements in clockwise and counter-clockwise directions keep joints loose and prevent them from locking into place. Starting your day with CARs is essential to reach full-body mobility. Adding resistance to your CARs increases joint mobility.
There’s a reason why your Fitbit or Apple Watch pings you once an hour to move. It’s vital to keep our joints and muscles from tightening. Many of us sit at a computer for hours at a time. Too much sitting leads to back pain and hamstring tightness. By getting up once an hour to move and stretch, we are training our bodies to stay limber and mobile.
A Deep Squat Is The Best
Flo Rida knows what he is talking about when it comes to getting low. You’re welcome for getting that song in your head, by the way. Not only do you need to squat, but you also need to hold that position for at least five minutes a day. It doesn’t have to be all at one time. Break it into thirty-second or one-minute chunks if that works better for you.
Props Help Mobility
An essential part of muscle memory comes from using props to stretch. When a slide or band is used, the muscles learn the body’s position via the prop. When removed, the muscles remember the body’s position when stretching. It’s an excellent reminder for muscles.
Pamper Your Feet
They get the brunt of it most of the time. We are on our feet a lot, and they feel the effects. Because our feet are the furthest away from the heart, circulation is vital to relieve aches and pains. Foot massages, wiggling toes, and ankle rotations are excellent ways to boost blood flow to your feet. You’ll find the more your exercise your feet, the better your mobility.
Creating Your Mobility Routine
If you want to create a mobility routine to follow, here are a few steps to help you along the way.
Step 1 – Tissue Reset
Mobility routines are a way of resetting muscle tissues and tendons. It helps them relax so your joints can benefit. Trigger point massages with a foam roller or ball are excellent ways to enable muscles into a relaxing mode.
Step 2 – Lengthening
Lengthening muscle tissue is where flexibility plays a role in mobility. Shortened muscles lead to tightness, injuries, and a lower range of motion. Incorporating prolonged static stretching and dynamic stretches into your daily routine can alleviate those ailments.
Step 3 – Reload
Reload means undoing weaknesses in the muscles. Spine rotations and isolation exercises work to increase mobility throughout the body and increase strength.
Step 4 – Reboot Your Software System
Whenever our computer starts acting crazy, what do we do? We reboot it and start again fresh. The idea of rebooting your body is getting it back to a mobile state where all your muscles work together correctly to decrease injuries and promote better overall health.
A mobility training program is excellent for everyone, including beginners. It’s never too late to start incorporating these exercises into your workout routine. A full list of exercises here will promote better muscle recovery, prevent injuries, and lead to a better range of motion. Age is just a number, folks. Our bodies can be mobile at any age if we work to get them there.