Most people are lacking sufficient mobility in key areas. And typically, there are 4 main problem areas: the shoulders, thoracic spine, hips, and ankles. Therefore, what we’re going to do in this video is focus our mobilizations on these specific areas (e.g. hips mobility and ankle mobility). And we’ll also first determine if you truly could benefit from more mobility training in that specific area by running through a couple of mobility tests. By the end of the video, you’ll have a personalized mobility routine based on the body areas you could use the most work.
The first area we’re going to cover for mobility training is the shoulder joint. To determine your shoulder mobility it, simply reach one arm up and over your shoulder and your other arm up your back as far as possible. Ideally you’ll want those fingers to touch but aim to at least get your arm to reach the top of your shoulder blade and your bottom arm can reach the bottom of your shoulder blade. Do the test on both sides and see how you do. The mobility drill that’ll help your shoulder mobility is this: just grab a cloth or towel, and hold it in each hand using the test position with both hands behind your back. Then, perform reps of gently pulling down on the towel while actively reaching downward with your top arm. Whereas to mobilize the bottom arm, perform reps of pulling the towel up while actively reaching up with your bottom arm each rep.
Next, we’ll move onto the thoracic spine. One of the best mobility tests for this area is to take a picture sideways in the mirror with your body relaxed. If your mid to upper back seems to round, then it could use some mobility work. First, we’ll mobilize the area with thoracic extensions. Here, place your elbows on a bench or couch with your hands together. Sit your hips back into your heels as you drop your chest towards the floor. Hold for a few seconds, then repeat this motion for more reps. Follow this up with cat cows.
Next, we’ll move onto the hips. The hips mobility test is simple; perform a bodyweight squat. If your feet turn out excessively on the way down, or your hips just seem to lock at a certain depth and you can’t go below parallel, or your hips tend to shift to one side during your squat, then your hips could use some more mobility work. If they do, then you’ll want to do the 90/90 drill. To perform it, bend both legs to 90 degrees. Then, while keeping your torso stacked over your hips, simply transition from one side to another by opening up your hips.
Lastly, we need to look at the ankle mobility. Perform a bodyweight squat and see how deep you can go without rising up off your heels or leaning forward excessively. Repeat this again, but this time with weight plates or a book under each heel, and see if your squat improves in terms of depth and form. If it does, then you’d likely benefit from the next ankle mobility drill. Simply find an elevated platform like a bench, couch, or even your stairs, and place one foot on top of it. Then, using your arms under your bench or couch, pull yourself forward to drive your knee directly over your toe while keeping your heel planted. Hold the end position for a few seconds, then repeat for more reps before switching sides.
Lastly, to tie everything together, we’ll add a weighted goblet squat to the end of our mobility routine. Here you’ll want to hold any weighted object like a backpack stuffed with books or weight plate out in front of you, then sit into a deep squat. Hold this position while keeping your chest up and rocking side to side to transfer the weight and stretch to one ankle at a time. This is a great way to further mobilize your ankles, hips, and mid-back in a functional position.
So, simply go through the tests for each of the 4 joints, and use that to determine what your daily mobility list will look like.
Towel Stretch: 5-10 reps per failed arm
Thoracic Extensions: 5-10 reps
Cat Cows: 6 reps each way
90/90 Drill: 5-10 reps each side
Bench Ankle Mobilization: 5-10 reps each leg
Weighted Goblet Squat: 30-60 second rocking hold
To see the best results, implement it daily or even 2-3 times a day, with about 2 sets per exercise. Do realize that you need to be mindful of the positions you’re in for the rest of the day. Make an effort to move more, as that is very likely the root cause behind your aches and tightness. And for a step-by-step program that shows you exactly how to build muscle and lean down as efficiently as possible, without neglecting important aspects of your training like mobility and prehab, take the analysis quiz to discover which science-based program would be best for you and where your body is currently at below: