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May 15, 2023

Everything you need to know about mobility training

Fitness Mobility

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Regular exercise is important for maintaining physical and mental health. Typically, people incorporate a combination of strength training, cardio, and stretching into their fitness routines. However, mobility training has recently gained more attention, and for good reason. This type of exercise can help improve joint range of motion, counteract the negative effects of sitting for extended periods of time, and reduce the risk of conditions such as kyphosis, or rounding of the upper back.

Mobility training involves increasing the range of motion of your joints and the surrounding muscles. Unlike stretching, mobility training involves increasing control and movement rather than just flexibility. It can also be done in a short amount of time and without any equipment.

Benefits of mobility training

Mobility training can accomplish the same things as stretching. That’s not surprising, as flexibility and mobility are similar. The difference involves control. Flexibility refers to the ability to stretch your muscles far enough to bend down and touch your toes (like you would while performing a standing toe touch). Mobility training enables you to do more than just reach your toes — it improves your ability to do something while you’re stretching, such as pick up a pencil from the floor.

Mobility training can also help you counteract the effects of being sedentary. Even if you work out frequently, sitting for long periods of time can reduce the range of motion in your joints and tighten your muscles, especially in your hips. If your hip flexor muscles become so tight that they can’t open when you walk, that will force you to shorten your stride. That, in turn, will make it more likely that, as you age, you will shuffle your feet and hunch over as you walk.

Also, if you often use a computer or other device while you sit, you may develop an exaggerated rounding of the back called kyphosis. Mobility training can reduce your risk for this condition and improve your posture by increasing flexibility in the muscles that affect your spine’s alignment.

Getting started

Mobility training doesn’t require a great deal of time. If you don’t work out regularly, you can do 15 minutes of it a few times a week when it suits your schedule.

If you do work out regularly, you can do 10 to 15 minutes of mobility training prior to working out. By focusing your mobility training on the muscle groups that you plan to target in your workout, you’ll make the workout more beneficial.

You can also do mobility training after working out. For example, you can do exercises focused on shoulder mobility after an upper-body workout and exercises focused on hip mobility after a leg workout.

Mobility exercises

If you’re practicing yoga, you’re already doing exercises that increase your flexibility and mobility. But yoga also involves breathwork and meditation, while mobility training focuses solely on improving your body.

A yoga exercise and a yoga position that also provide good mobility training are cat-cow and child’s pose.

To perform a cat-cow, you kneel on an exercise mat or the floor with your hands on the ground (shoulder-width apart) and your knees directly below your hips. You then inhale, pulling your belly button towards your spine and curving your lower back. This puts you in the “cat” position, which you hold for two to three seconds. You then slowly arch your back and look up to the sky. That puts you in the “cow” position, which you also hold for two to three seconds.

To get into the child’s pose, you kneel on the floor and lower your hips towards your heels. Then, let your torso fall over your knees and your head fall between your arms as you reach your arms forward onto the floor.

Four other simple mobility exercises are leg swings, hip circles, arm circles and swinging spine rotations, all of which you can see here.

Lunges, such as the spiderman lunge, and squats, such as the Cossack squat, also are simple mobility exercises you can do at home.

Go mobile!

Whether you’re a seasoned fitness enthusiast or just starting out, mobility training is a beneficial addition to any workout routine. By improving joint range of motion and reducing the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle, mobility training can help you stay healthy and active for years to come.

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