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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

 

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

 

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

 

Lat and Hamstring Stretch Using Stall Bars

Begin with your heels on the ground and the balls of your feet against the lowest rung of your stall bars, or if you don't have stall bars but have a secure object to anchor your hands to, you can have the balls of your feet pressed up against the wall with your heels on the ground. Read more about Lat and Hamstring Stretch Using Stall Bars

 

A Closer Look at Stick Mobility Exercises

This video demonstrates some movement patterns that you can do with a long stick or dowel. I shot this video indoors with hope that closer positioning to my tripod allows for easier viewing of these movements.

Using a stick to take your shoulders through these and other movements can help you identify and work through restrictions in shoulder, trunk, and hip mobility. Read more about A Closer Look at Stick Mobility Exercises

 

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

 

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