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Exercises for Mobility and Functional Strength

A Look at Some Wonderfully Helpful Mobility Specialists Around the World

One of the big joys of my life over the past several years has been the gradual but lasting improvement that I have experienced in my overall mobility.

I was quite active athletically throughout my youth, but for most of my 20s and until I hit about 35, grad school, building 3 clinics, and creating our website had me working almost non-stop, leaving very little time to care for my physical health. Read more about A Look at Some Wonderfully Helpful Mobility Specialists Around the World

 

6 Mobility Exercises that Improve Back Extension

With many of us sitting for long stretches during our daily lives, almost all of us can benefit from regular mobility work to restore extension through the spine, mainly the thoracic spine.

Sitting and working with our arms in front of us also tends to rob us of healthy flexion of our shoulder joints - that is, our ability to raise our arms up in front of us and overhead.

So it's no surprise that most people living in first world nations today eventually experience back and shoulder pain. Read more about 6 Mobility Exercises that Improve Back Extension

 

Mobility and Functional Strength Routine

What follows is a suggested routine that most people can do over 20 to 30 minutes on a daily basis to improve overall mobility and functional strength. Please keep the following tips in mind:

  • Let your body be your guide - only try movements that you feel capable of doing without hurting yourself. Even a few inches of movement (amplitude) and one or two repetitions of any of the exercises below will lead to some benefit.

Read more about Mobility and Functional Strength Routine>
 

Suggested Resources for a Home Gym

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A number of readers have asked for some thoughts on setting up a home gym. Being a minimalist in most spheres of life, I enjoy just a handful of tools that help me use movement with my own body weight to improve mobility and functional strength. Read more about Suggested Resources for a Home Gym

 

Ankle Plantar Flexion Stretch

If you've ever sprained an ankle, chances are that you have some shortened soft tissues or even scar tissue along the front and side of your ankle that is preventing optimal mobility whenever your foot is plantar-flexed.

This Ankle Plantar Flexion Stretch can help restore diminished plantar flexion to your ankles: Read more about Ankle Plantar Flexion Stretch

 

3 Fundamental Exercises for Functional Core Strength

To develop core strength via forearm plank pose, press your elbows strongly into the ground to keep your shoulder blades separated (protracted), keep your head neutral (not extended up), and try to maintain a straight line through your shoulders, hips, and ankles. Read more about 3 Fundamental Exercises for Functional Core Strength

 

How to Improve Shoulder Extension

There are very few activities of daily living that require us to use our innate capacity for shoulder extension - that is, to actively use our arms while they are behind us. This translates to having short biceps, brachialis, and pectoralis minor muscles, which predispose us to elbow and shoulder issues, including golfer's elbow, tennis elbow, and shoulder impingement syndrome.

For this reason, it's best that we include shoulder extension exercises in our self care programs. Read more about How to Improve Shoulder Extension

 

The Best Stretch for Tight Shoulder "Shawl" Muscles

If you experience tightness in your shoulder "shawl" muscles, you will likely benefit from this stretch, highly effective for lengthening your trapezius and levator scapulae muscles.

Please be sure to enable audio for guidance. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below or you can always reach me at benkim@drbenkim.com. Read more about The Best Stretch for Tight Shoulder "Shawl" Muscles

 

Posterior Shoulder and Scapular Stretch

This is an excellent stretch for ensuring healthy tone of the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that surround the posterior region of your shoulder and your shoulder blade. Read more about Posterior Shoulder and Scapular Stretch

 

Basic Tumbling - The Shoulder Roll

If you have enough basic mobility and strength to try some simple tumbling, you might begin with shoulder rolls. You can do these from a kneeling start and try to finish in a balanced state on one foot and one knee. Be sure to tuck your chin toward your chest and roll on the back of your shoulder, not the back of your neck.

Once you feel comfortable doing a shoulder roll from a kneeling start, you can try from a standing start. Read more about Basic Tumbling - The Shoulder Roll

 

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