The Mobility Workout to Keep You Injury-Free for Life
News flash: If you work out, you need to do mobility work.
Mobility workouts aren't just for pro athletes or heavy weightlifters. If you work out regularly, you could benefit from moving your body around in some different ways.
What's mobility anyway? "Mobility is increasing joint end range of motion, extensibility of muscles, and initiating or re-establishing proper movement patterns for your body," says Rebecca Kennedy, a Barry's Bootcamp and Nike Master Trainer. (Next up: the corrective body-balancing workout from trainer Anna Victoria.)
This particular mobility workout is perfect as a warm-up or as a rest day routine, and could be done as often as every day. "There are so many benefits to this workout and you actually improve your mobility when performed regularly and correctly," says Kennedy. (Here's another mobility routine that works as a great cool-down post-workout.)
How it works: Do each one of the moves below, slowly and breathing throughout each movement. Use this mobility workout routine as a warm-up or as a rest day workout.
A. Stand with feet together. Hinge at the hips to bend over and place palms on the floor in front of feet. Walk out to a high plank position.
B. Step right foot outside of right hand, then lift right hand up toward the ceiling, spiraling chest open to the right.
C. Lower right arm between feet, elbow next to right foot and fingers next to left hand, forearm parallel to the ground, then reach toward ceiling again.
D. Place right palm on the inside of the right foot, lift hips up and back slightly to straighten right leg, lifting toes off the floor.
E. Bend right knee and shift weight forward over wrists, then step right foot back to plank, and walk hands back to feet and stand. That's 1 rep.
Continue alternating for 1 minute.
A. Start in a tabletop position on all fours with hands under shoulders and knees under hips.
B. Very slowly pull belly button in toward spine, rounding shoulders, dropping head, and reaching mid spine toward the ceiling (cat).
C. Very slowly flatten back and return head to neutral, then reach tailbone and crown of head toward the ceiling, dropping belly low (cow).
Do 2 slowly in each direction.
Prone Thoracic Rotation
A. Lie facedown on the floor, feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and fingertips by ears, elbows pointing out to the sides.
B. Maintaining a neutral head position, lift chest off the floor.
C. Slowly rotate upper body to the right, then return to center. Rotate to the left, then return to center.
D. Lower chest down to the floor to return to starting position.
Do 5 reps.
Side-Lying Shoulder Sweep
A. Lie faceup on the floor with knees bent and tipped over to the left side of the body. Arms are on the floor extended out to the sides, level with shoulders to start.
B. Pull right arm over on top of the left arm, turning shoulders to the left.
C. Keeping left shoulder on the floor, circle right arm overhead and around to end behind lower back. Maintain contact between fingertips and the floor if possible. Palm will start facing the floor, flip up to face the ceiling, and flip over to face the floor again.
D. Reverse motion until right arm is on top of left arm, then open to return to starting position. That's 1 rep.
Do 5 slow reps; then switch sides and repeat.
A. Stand with the left foot on top of a bench, step, or box.
B. Shift weight onto left foot, pressing knee forward gently to stretch the back of ankle. Hold for one second, then shift weight backwards. Repeat this short press four times.
C. Hold the forward stretch position for 5 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side.
Do this 3 times per side.
Half-Kneeling Psoas Stretch
A. Kneel on the right leg with the left leg in front, foot flat on the floor and knees both at 90-degree angles.
B. Keeping hips square and core engaged (make sure lower back is not arched), extend right arm overhead.
Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
A. Lie facedown on the floor, legs extended and arms overhead, biceps by ears.
B. Keeping head in a neutral position (forehead on the floor), raise arms an inch off the ground, thumbs pointing up, forming an "I" shape.
C. Extend arms out to the sides to form a "T" shape, then pull elbows in towards sides to form a "W" shape.
D. Extend arms forward to return to "I" and begin the next rep.
Do 10 reps.