Mobility exercises are a combination of stretching and flexibility workouts that are beneficial for improving the all-round aspects of fitness. Mobility enhances the ability to control the movement of limbs through the full range of motion so that you can avoid injuries and execute the intense exercise with much more efficiency and competence. Mobility exercise should always be practiced before weight training because it is important to tune the body for strenuous workouts through a series of specific movements and the most important body parts one needs to mobilize are knees, hips, glutes, hamstrings, lower back and calves. It must be remembered that any exercise has to be combined with an ideal diet for weight loss to maximize its effectiveness.
Reasons to Include Mobility Training in Your Fitness Routine
Mobility exercises are not only important for bodybuilders and athletes, but also for better performance of day to day activities. And it is more important in today’s world because computer-centric work has reduced our range of motion and physical activity.
Reduce Injury – Mobility exercises are an integral part of warm up exercises to promote muscle and joint flexibility so that you can perform strenuous exercises and weight training without the chances of injury and strains.
Increase the Range of Motion – Mobility exercises enhance joint motion, coordination and agility – all of which are essential to increase the range of motion vital for athletes and sports persons.
Enhanced Performance – Lack of flexibility and joint mobility either makes you avoid strenuous exercises or makes it a painful experience. But increased joint and muscle flexibility through mobility training improves performance so that you can perform the exercises more efficiently and enjoy it thoroughly. It is one of the most functional exercises to do to lose weight fast.
Can be Done by Anyone – Mobility training involves low-intensity stretching and flexibility exercises that can be performed by almost everybody and it helps you to stay active and swift even during your old age.
8 Best Mobility Exercises to Enhance Flexibility and Range of Motion
Mobility workouts and stretching exercises must be included in all important pre-workout sessions as a part of warm up because it helps in improving muscle flexibility, increasing joint flexibility and enhancing the range of motion – which is essential if you are into dynamic physical activity and fitness training.
The Gork Squat is one of the best exercises for flexibility that is your answer to the question of how to lose weight in thighs and stomach. You can squeeze in a few squatting sessions in between your busy work schedule in order to stretch the butt muscles and ankles.
Simply, squat down till your butt touches your ankles. Place your feet firmly on the ground and keep your back straight at all times. Halt in this position for 30 seconds to 1 minute and return to the standing position. Repeat 10 to 15 squats at a stretch for best results. If you are not into regular exercise, then it might take some time to get into a full squat, but be patient and keep trying.
The Barbell Bridges is one of the effective stretching exercises for flexibility that helps in enhancing the flexibility and strength of the glutes and hips. It is also the most effective mobility exercise to remove belly fat. If you are into strength training and muscle building, then this mobility exercise can act as a great support to perfect the deadlifts.
Lay down on the ground with your legs bent at the knees and feet placed flat on the floor. Hold a padded barbell with both hands placed shoulder width apart and rest it below your waist. Now, raise your torso off the ground while squeeze your glutes and come back to the starting position. Repeat it 30 times at a stretch.
The fire hydrant move might be a bit funny and goofy but it is one of the most effective strength building exercises that is not only useful for firming the butt, but also for working the glutes medius, that prepares the body for explosive sideways movement vital in most sports. This move also improves hip stability, maintains balance and prevents knee and ankle injury.
Get on all fours with your arms shoulder width apart and knees hip width apart. Gradually raise your right leg out to the side as high as you can while maintaining your knee bent. You will sense the stretch in your hips and butt cheek. Come back to the starting position and repeat on the other side. Repeat this move 15 times on each side.
The Couch Stretch is one of the best flexibility training exercises that help improve your flexibility and muscle strength. You will not really need a couch for doing this stretch. It can be done against a wall as well. This stretch helps in working the quads, glutes, calves and hamstrings.
Stand near a sofa and place the leg you are stretching against the back of the sofa, place the other foot firmly on the floor in front of the sofa. Try to stand tall by raising your torso and squeeze your abs and butt as you do this. Hold this posture for 3 to 4 minutes, switch legs and repeat with the other leg. You will feel the stretch in you hip flexor region.
Table Pigeon Pose
The Table Pigeon Pose is an easier version of the Pigeon Pose we find in yoga. It is one of the easy back mobility exercises that can be combined with back calisthenics to enhance muscle stretching. This muscle strengthening exercise helps in opening the hip joint, stretching the thighs and glutes and lengthening the hip flexor.
Stand next to a table and rest one leg on the table top with the knee bent at 90 degrees angle. Place one hand on the table and another on your foot for support. Now, lean forward as much as you can and hold the position for 2 minutes. Return to the initial position and repeat on the other leg. Repeat this move 15 times with both legs.
The shoulder extension using a stretching band is one of the functional strength and flexibility exercises that improves flexibility of the shoulders and helps in opening up the shoulder joints. This exercise helps in relaxing the shoulder, neck and upper back muscles and relieves the tension and pain in these muscles. It also the ultimate answer to the question of how to get rid of fat arms fast.
Slide your left arm through a stretching band and rotate it around the wrist and palm. Now, grip the band firmly and move back to a lunge position, raising your left hand above your head. You will feel the stretch and tension build in your biceps, triceps, shoulders and upper back. Stay in this position for 1 minute and repeat it with the other hand. Repeat this exercise 15 times with both arms.
The Thoracic Bridge is the complete mobility exercise that helps in addressing all the issues of body stiffness. It helps in relaxing tight shoulders, tight hips and tight thoracic spine and works as efficiently as the yoga exercises for back. It is one of the most effective back pain exercises that helps in relieving lower back stiffness and enhancing mobility.
Begin in a crawling position on your all fours, but carry your weight on your arms and toes so that the knees don’t touch the ground. Now, lift your right arm from the floor and turn your body over to face the ceiling and hold your body up with the support of your left arm and legs with knees bend. Stretch your right arm straight to your left and body and head should also be turned towards the left. Wait for 30 seconds and come back to the starting position. Repeat this on the other side.
The Clamshell move is one of the best mat exercises for abs that also activate the glutes and hamstrings, which is important to improve the stability of knees and relieve back pain. This exercise also helps in perfecting the deadlift.
Lie down on the floor on your right side with your knees and hips bent at 45-degree angles with your feet together. Now, raise your upper knee as high as you can, keeping your pelvis fixed. Your lower leg should not move off the floor. Hold this position for 1 minute and return to the starting position. Repeat it on the other side. Repeat the move 15 to 20 times on both sides.
5 Important Tips to Improve Mobility and Move Better
Joint mobility is one of the hottest topics of discussion in fitness circles all around the world and most fitness experts are emphasizing the need for mobility exercises for specific joints in order to increase the range of motion and flexibility.
Do Mobility Exercises that Suit Your Body – Although there are general muscular fitness exercises for the thoracic spine, ankles and legs, it is important to realize that the bones, ligaments and tendons of each person function in their own way and therefore, a mobility workout that suits your gym buddy might not be suitable for you. Therefore, it is important to choose the right exercises through your own practice and listening to the body.
Incorporate Deep Breaths – Breathing has a huge impact on the benefits of a workout movement, therefore, it is important to concentrate on respiration and practice slow and controlled breathing in order to enhance the parasympathetic response and help the body to relax.
The Right Time – One of the biggest reasons that mobility workouts don’t show effectiveness is because people don’t give enough time to them mobility exercises and rush over to the main workouts. Therefore, it is best to hold each position for 2 minutes in order to allow the tissues a chance to adapt to the change.
Understand the Message of Pain – Pain in a specific part of the body is an indicator that it needs some special attention. So, try to perform mobility moves that concentrate on that particular area. But you should never strain an area if it has too much pain.
Include Mobility into Your Routine – You don’t have to do mobility exercise all day in order to reap its benefits. Make mobility exercises a part of your fitness regime and start your workout sessions with a few mobility exercises.
Make it a point to include mobility training in your warm up sessions along with specific body type diets to promote weight loss, improve flexibility, reduce the chances of injury and increase the range of movement of the stiff muscles.