Mobility exercises are movements performed pre-workout that take the muscles, tendons, and the joint through their entire range of motion. This practice prepares the body for functional movement during the actual execution of your working sets. Doing pre-workout mobility training also helps decrease post workout pain and reduce risk of injury, immediate and from long term use. Moving freely through the full range of motion in an exercise will improve your muscle growth and strength better than “going halfway.”
If your 40 hour work week is mostly sitting in front of a computer and driving cars, you’re likely going to need to be more proactive with your mobility efforts.
is it Mobility or Strength?
If you can squat without a bar, but lose form and wobble under the barbell, you’re not struggling with mobility – you need to practice form and build strength. Dial it back and train with lighter bar, or using a progression exercise like the goblet squat. Gradually add weight as you build strength keeping form.
If you’re sure that mobility, meaning you do not move easily through the rep, then you need to work on said mobility. Just like adding weight to the bar, mobility takes consistency and time.
Here are a few pre-workout movements that I like to use:
Glutes are often a weakpoint for people who spend a lot of time sitting, it is an excellent idea to release them before lower body exercises. After massaging yourself thoroughly, get to work on hip and glute activation. Some exercises I heavily recommend for just a set or two are:
• Single-leg hip thrusts
• Banded clams
• Banded walks & squats
Hip tightness – you can work through your hip mobility by incorporating lunges and split squats into your routine. If you’re experiencing anterior hip pain, consider couch stretching while at home. The couch stretch is a favourite and and effective way to target hip flexors.
Walking Lunges - 10 reps per leg Air Squats - 20 reps
Leg Swings - 10 reps per leg
Toe Kicks - 10 reps per leg
Knee to Chest - 10 reps per leg
Thoracic extension, not just for back health, you’ll notice a carryover to your bench press form through improved mobility pulling your shoulders back, and a better arc for a stronger and more flexible thoracic spine.
• Cat and cow movement
• Dead hangs - 10 seconds max each rep
• 90/90 breathing
If you are extra tight take a plate or an unloaded barbell, and slowly roll your upper back, bending over to stretch the space between your shoulder blades, then pull back up and push out your chest.
Push-Ups - 5-10 slow controlled reps Bench Dips - 10 reps
Arm Swings - 10 reps per side Shoulder “dislocates” - 10 reps per side
Remember to always consult with your coach on what is right for you.