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Exercises for Mobility and Functional Strength

Arch and Hollow for Core Strength

Arch and Hollow holds are stapes in the gymnastics world, both highly effective for improving functional core strength and spinal mobility.

For Arch, start prone and lift your legs and arms off the ground at the same time. Squeeze your buttocks and try to keep the front of your thighs off the ground. Strive to keep your scapulae contracted toward one another as you keep your arms and head off the ground. Read more about Arch and Hollow for Core Strength

 

Straight Leg Raises for Core and Hip Flexor Strength

Lying supine with your buttocks resting on the backs of your hands, keep your legs straight and together with toes pointed, and raise them up toward your head, then lower them back toward the ground in a controlled manner but try not to let them touch the ground. Work your way up to ten repetitions per set. Read more about Straight Leg Raises for Core and Hip Flexor Strength

 

A Simple Spinal Mobility Routine

This is a simple spinal mobility routine that is effective for warming up all of the tissues in and around your spine. I would suggest following this or a similar routine before doing any other type of exercise to reduce risk of sprains and strains throughout the back. Read more about A Simple Spinal Mobility Routine

 

An Introduction to 90/90 Hip Mobility Exercises

90/90 hip mobility work is highly effective for improving functional range of motion of your hip joints.

Before beginning 90/90 work, I suggest warming up your spine, particularly your lower spine, as sitting in the 90/90 position can put some strain on your spine and surrounding soft tissues, and thoroughly warming up your back will decrease risk of straining muscles and ligaments in and around your spine. Read more about An Introduction to 90/90 Hip Mobility Exercises

 

How to Use a Yoga Swing to Stretch Your Spinal Column, Hips, and Surrounding Tissues

Please turn your volume up to enable accompanying audio for this video.

A yoga swing is a wonderfully diverse tool for improving mobility. They are readily available at online yoga supply stores, as well as retailers like Amazon. I purchased mine here:

Yoga Swing Read more about How to Use a Yoga Swing to Stretch Your Spinal Column, Hips, and Surrounding Tissues

 

Using Gymnastics Rings to Develop Functional Strength

Gymnastics rings have become my favourite tool for developing upper body and core strength.

In this video, I have a light resistance band tied between the two rings to provide support as I work at the challenging transition phase between a pull-up and dip while moving with control. Read more about Using Gymnastics Rings to Develop Functional Strength

 

Scapular Mobility Exercises

If you have shoulder pain and stiffness while using your arms overhead, I encourage you to add scapular mobility exercises to your self care routine, as optimal movement of your shoulder blades along the posterior surface of your ribcage is vital to ensuring proper biomechanics of your shoulder joints when your arms are raised overhead.

If you're new to scapular mobility exercises, I would start with the Cow-Cat drill found here: Read more about Scapular Mobility Exercises

 

Hanging Exercises to Improve Shoulder and Spinal Mobility

Hanging from an object overhead is one of the most effective ways of maintaining and improving shoulder and spinal mobility.

Be sure that you are warmed up before engaging in hanging exercises - ideally, you want to take your shoulders and spine through a solid warm-up and even work up a bit of perspiration to ensure that your tissues are well perfused with blood to prevent injury. Read more about Hanging Exercises to Improve Shoulder and Spinal Mobility

 

Hip Mobility Exercises

Active Hamstring Stretch / Knee Extension:

Standing Hip Circles:

Swivel Hips:

Sole Frog Stretch: Read more about Hip Mobility Exercises

 

A Simple Routine to Improve Balance and Ankle Mobility

To build upon the ankle plantar flexion stretch that I shared earlier, here is a short routine of 3 mobility exericses that I enjoy doing to improve ankle mobility:

Ankle Raises While on Balls of Feet:

Ankle raises are excellent for strengthening your calf muscles and Achilles tendon, and for warming up all of the soft tissues that surround your ankle joints. Ankle raises are also helpful for developing balance and proprioception. Read more about A Simple Routine to Improve Balance and Ankle Mobility

 

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