The majority of people are too caught up with the aesthetic aspect of fitness. When you observe them working out in the gyms, you get the feeling that just developing ripped and shredded muscles is the only objective. Of course, it feels great to have a superb physique. Yes, those hard abs and chiseled chest is the ultimate confidence booster. But is it wise to compromise on other aspects of fitness? Isn’t it important to improve the capability and overall working of your body?
When you are young, your body easily copes with the immense physical burden of weight lifting. Your body easily recovers from fatigue. Your natural flexibility allows you to deal in better way with muscle soreness. But as you grow old, you begin to feel the side effects of your gung-ho approach, the wear and tear, your body has endured over the year. Sometimes, even a basic movement such as squat can result in a muscle tear.
Yes, I know we men feel invincible. I can even see you shrugging your shoulders and dismissing the whole argument with this won’t happen to me, thinking. Believe me, it will. It has already happened to countless others, who have learned it the harder way.
Mobility and flexibility can assist you in taking better care of your body. It will safeguard your body from injuries and fatigue. The mobility training can reverse the effects of aging in your body, remove niggling pains and aches, and can enhance range of movement of your joints.
However, the mobility shouldn’t be confused with flexibility. Mobility is body’s ability to move around freely without any stress on the joints, whereas flexibility is about the range of motion of our muscles. They aren’t the same. Neither, they are mutually exclusive. Better, mobility can improve your flexibility and vice versa.
Advantages of Mobility Training
- The better mobility drastically decreases the chances of getting injured. Most of the injuries are caused by the awkward and forced movement of the joint. For example, sometimes a knee injury occurs while doing squats or lunges, just because the knee joint is not mobile enough to handle the stress of movement. Similarly, most back problems are caused by the lack of mobility in the spinal joints, often could also lead to notorious back stiffness.
- The mobility training teaches your body to move joints along their predetermined and natural pathways, which facilitates smooth, clean and natural movement. With mobility training, you learn to lift the weight in natural way while putting the stress on the right areas. This means only your target muscles would be engaged and the burden of the weight, won’t put unnatural stress on other muscle groups.
- By learning and being aware of proper role and movement of each joint and muscles group and how to activate them, you can enhance your performance by leaps and bounds. If you know the importance of shoulder blade retraction, then you would be able to bench press more effectively. Similarly, knowing how to extend your hips and use your lower body as a springboard, could improve your vertical leap.
- Last, but not the least will improve your range of motion, thus enhancing your flexibility. This is very important for athletes as it has direct impact on sharpness, speed of movement and overall performance in any given sport.
See, I told you mobility has several benefits. And, if you have made this far, you might be interested in learning some drills that can improve your mobility. So, here are some mobility drills that you should do at least once in a week.
Hip Mobility Drill
Place your palms against the wall at the shoulder height. Ensure that your feet are at arm’s length from the wall. With your feet pointing forward, start swinging your right leg sideways and in front of your left leg in a pendulum motion. Do ten repetitions and then switch the leg. Again alternate and do thrice on each leg.
Internal Hip Rotation
Lie on your back with knees bent and feet firmly on the floor. Now, while keeping your feet on the floor, bring your knees toward each other. Hold it for 15-20 seconds and repeat the whole drill three times. You are just starting so don’t overextend yourself.
Stand with your palms against the wall at the shoulder height and body in straight line. Now, start swinging your right leg forward and backward like a pendulum. Keep your core contracted tight and slowly increase your range of motion. However, if you feel any discomfort, then tone it down. Do ten repetitions and then switch legs, you have to do the drill three times on each leg.
Place your palms flat on the floor and get on your tiptoes. You have to be on your all fours like a bear. Now, cross one leg over another and place your entire weight on the bottom foot. From your heel through your toes, rock forwards and backwards. You have to perform this 10 times on each leg.
Thoracic Rotations for back and shoulders
Get on your all fours, with your palms flat against the floor and knees also touching the floor. Now, place one hand behind your head, contract your core and start rotating your upper back, so that your raised arm’s elbow moves in downward arc. Try to touch the elbow of the raised hand with other arm (or take the elbow as close as possible). Reverse the motion and stretch upwards until your elbow is pointing towards ceiling or as high as possible. Do three sets for each side with ten repetitions per set.
Scapular Wall Slides for back and shoulders
Stand with your back against the wall and body in straight line. Now raise your arms to your sides and bend arm to make a 90 degree angle at the elbows with forearms resting vertically against the wall. You have to maintain the contact between back and forearms with the wall throughout the drill. Now start pushing your arms up until they are straight overhead, then slide them downwards until you bring your elbows down, touching your body. Throughout the exercise, pull your shoulders back and down.
Squat to Stand
This mobility drill is for full body stretch. Stand with feet around shoulder width apart. Now with arms straight, bend over from knees and grasp your feet with your arms. Remember to keep your hips hinged and stationary. For the next phase of the drill, drop your hips and descend into a full squat position. The arms should be kept straight throughout the movement. Return to the start position and repeat ten times.