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Exercises for Mobility and Functional Strength

Controlled Articular Rotations While Standing

Controlled Articular Rotations (CARs) are a staple of Functional Range Conditioning, a system of improving human mobility taught by Dr. Andreo Spina.

For those who have trouble getting to the ground to exercise, this video provides a look at some CARs that one can do while standing.

As you should do with all exercises, please be mindful of breathing regularly and deeply as you do CARs. You can linger in areas where you feel some stickiness. Read more about Controlled Articular Rotations While Standing

 

10 High Value Mobility Exercises

What follows are what I would call high value mobility exercises - movements that yield immense physical health benefits per second of time and calorie of energy invested.

Please note that you should feel free to modify such exercises to suit your circumstances. For example, if you can't be on all fours to mobilize your wrists, you can do the same movements standing with your hands against a wall. Read more about 10 High Value Mobility Exercises

 

Negative Body Levers to Develop Core Strength

If you feel comfortable with basic plank poses, side twists, arches, and crunches, to further develop functional core strength, you can add negative body levers to your training routine.

You'll need a comfortable surface to lie back on - a yoga mat or gym mats work well - as well as a strong anchor point that you can secure your hands on behind your head. Read more about Negative Body Levers to Develop Core Strength

 

Front Roll Into a Rickson Squat for Spinal and Hip Mobility

Once you are comfortable doing Rickson Squats and you feel sufficiently mobile through your cervical and thoracic spinal regions, you can try putting a front roll together with a Rickson squat, alternating between rolling on your right and left shoulders. Read more about Front Roll Into a Rickson Squat for Spinal and Hip Mobility

 

Exercise to Improve Mobility Through Your Neck and Upper Back

If you're comfortable with general neck exercises that you can do while sitting or standing, but feel that there is sufficient room for improvement with mobility through your neck and upper spine, you might find this exercise helpful. Read more about Exercise to Improve Mobility Through Your Neck and Upper Back

 

Rickson Squats for Core Strength and Spinal & Hip Mobility

Rickson squats are a staple exercise in jiu jitsu - they're excellent for developing functional core strength and improving mobility throughout the spine and hips.

Be sure that you are warmed up before doing Rickson squats. Ideally, you want to be perspiring a bit, which indicates that your blood is flowing nicely through all of your soft tissues. Read more about Rickson Squats for Core Strength and Spinal & Hip Mobility

 

A Collection of Band Exercises to Improve Shoulder Mobility and Stability

This post offers a collection of my favourite band exercises for improving shoulder mobility and stability.

If you've dislocated a shoulder in the past, please be conservative with any exercises you try, and after clearing things with your physician, you might start with those that have your arms no higher than chest level. Over time, as your shoulders feel stronger and more mobile, you can gradually work your arms overhead. Read more about A Collection of Band Exercises to Improve Shoulder Mobility and Stability

 

Using Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) to Improve Hip Flexor Health and Hip Mobility

Since the 1950s, rehab specialists have used proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) to lengthen shortened tissues and improve joint mobility.

PNF involves alternating between stretching the target muscle group and contracting the same muscle group while it is lengthened. Read more about Using Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) to Improve Hip Flexor Health and Hip Mobility

 

Exercises to Improve Spinal Extension and Core Strength

Here, I am using a makeshift back strap anchored to stall bars to work on spinal extension.

If you don't have access to these tools, you can use a gym ball for the initial passive stretch, or even a large ottoman or workout bench.

For the active extension exercises, you can use a back extension machine at a local gym or have a friend anchor your legs to a stable surface while your upper body hinges over it. Read more about Exercises to Improve Spinal Extension and Core Strength

 

Lumbar Mobility Exercise

This is a highly effective mobility exercise to improve rotation through the lumbar and lower thoracic spinal regions.

Begin face down on a comfortable surface. Raise your right leg behind you and try to touch the ground to your left with your right foot - you can use your arms for balance and support as you do this. Repeat with your left foot, then alternate for several repetitions. Read more about Lumbar Mobility Exercise

 

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