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The 7 Mobility Exercises You Should Do Before Every Workout

Mobility seems to be having a moment—and it's about time. Moving your joints through their full range of motion isn't just important for athletes or the superfit. Mobility exercises can help keep your joints healthy, reduce your risk of injury, and keep your body moving pain-free. (Learn more: What Is Mobility: The Mobility Myths You Need to Know About) While many fitness studios now offer entire classes dedicated to improving mobility, you should ideally be thinking about mobility during every workout. An easy way to incorporate mobility exercises into your routine? A dynamic warm-up.

To stay mobile, add these moves from fitness instructor Alicia Archer, the bendy yogi behind @kinkysweat and Kohl's wellness ambassador, to your next warm-up routine. These moves will help maintain and increase your hip, shoulder, and spine mobility, and boost your overall flexibility and strength over time. (BTW, here's the difference between mobility and flexibility.) Whether you like yoga, running, HIIT, or a little bit of everything, these exercises can help—so get moving!

How it works: Do each of the following moves for the number of reps indicated. Use this routine as pre-workout warm-up, or simply do them every day to improve your movement.

Total Time: up to 15 minutes

You will need: No equipment

1. Wrist Stretch and Knuckle Push-Up

A.

Start in tabletop position on all fours with shoulders stacked over wrists and knees under hips.

B.

Shift shoulders an inch or two forward, feeling the stretch at the back of the wrists.

C.

Shift back to tabletop, then lift palms while keeping fingers on the floor. Lower back to starting position. That's 1 rep.

Sets:

1

Reps:

8 to 10

2. Open Hip Lunge with Arm Circle

A.

Start in a low lunge position with right foot forward and left leg back, left palm pressing into the floor with the right arm extended forward. Turn the right foot so toes point out and open hip by pressing front knee out to start.

B.

Slowly circle right arm overhead, then backward, down, and around to return to starting position.

Sets:

1

Reps:

5 per side

3. Arch and Curl

A.

Start on all fours with shoulders stacked over wrists, knees under hips, and spine neutral. Slowly arch spine, lifting chest and tailbone while lowering bellybutton toward the ground. 

B.

Draw belly button toward spine to round back toward the ceiling, dropping tailbone toward the floor and curling chin in to chest.

Sets:

1

Reps:

8 to 10

4. Dynamic Frog Stretch

A.

Start on all fours with shoulders stacked over wrists and knees under hips.

B.

Drop onto forearms and slowly slide knees outward as far as possible with knees bent at about 90 degrees. (Wearing knee pads helps.)

C.

Slowly push hips forward then back.

Sets:

1

Reps:

8 to 10

5. Scapulae Push-Ups

A.

Start in a high plank position. Pull shoulder blades together, while keeping spine neutral and elbows straight.

B.

Actively press hands into the floor to open shoulder blades as wide as possible.

Sets:

1

Reps:

8 to 10

Mistakes and Tips:

Scale down: Perform these push-ups standing with hands against a wall.

6. Hollow Body Compression Breaths

A.

Lie faceup on the floor with head and shoulder blades lifted and arms hovering at sides. Lift legs so knees are stacked over hips and knees are bent at a 45-degree angle, shins parallel to the ground.

B.

Inhale, then exhale to engage core and draw belly button toward spine. Work to keep the low back neutral (pressing into the floor). Contract on each exhale.

Sets:

1

Reps:

8 to 10

Mistakes and Tips:

Scale up: Keep knees straight and arms above head.

7. Low Lunge with Integrated Push Back

A.

Start in a low lunge position with the right foot forward and left foot back, left knee hovering off the floor and both palms pressing into the floor (about shoulder-width apart) on the inside of the front foot.

B.

Bring right foot back to meet left, send hips high, and press chest back, coming into a bent-knee downward dog.

C.

Shift forward, stepping the left foot forward to the outside of the left hand, coming into a low lunge on the other side. Then step the left foot back and return to downward dog. Continue shifting forward and backward, straightening knees further each time.

Sets:

1

Reps:

8 to 10 per side

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