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Exercises for Mobility and Functional Strength

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

 

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

 

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

 

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